redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online
Good news for yo-yo dieters: You can lose as much weight as people who don’t have a history of losing and regaining
Yo-Yo dieting – a dietary cycle characterized by a rapid weight loss then regain – has become quite popular among dieters today. Most experts do not recommend this lifestyle due to certain health risks and feel it doesn’t help with weight loss in the long run. So why the sudden change of heart?
A new study, published in the journal Metabolism, shows that a history of yo-yo dieting does not have a negative effect on your metabolism or the ability to lose weight long term.
Anne McTiernan, M.D., Ph.D., a member of the Hutchinson Center’s Public Health Sciences Division, says: “A history of unsuccessful weight loss should not dissuade an individual from future attempts to shed pounds or diminish the role of a healthy diet and regular physical activity in successful weight management.”
Obesity, affecting more than two-thirds of U.S. adults, is common, serious and costly. It’s a known risk factor for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and many types of cancer. A relationship between body fat and the production of certain hormones and inflammatory markers is thought to contribute to increased cancer risk.
“The World Health Organization estimates that a quarter to a third of cancers could be prevented with maintenance of normal weight and keeping a physically active lifestyle,” says McTiernan, the study’s senior author.
The yearlong study used 439 overweight, Seattle-area women, aged 50-75. They were assigned to one of these four groups: reduced-calorie diet only; exercise only (mainly brisk walking); reduced-calorie diet plus exercise; no intervention group.
The study’s intention was to figure out whether women with a history of moderate or severe weight cycling were at a disadvantage compared to women who did not use this method of dieting when it came to weight loss.
The analysis showed 77 women reported losing 20 or more pounds on three or more occasions (meeting the criteria for severe weight cycling) and 103 women reported losing 10 or more pounds on three or more occasions (meeting the criteria for moderate to mild weight cycling).
No significant differences were found by researchers between those who yo-yo dieted and those who didn’t with regard to the ability to successfully participate in diet and/or exercise programs. Other physiological factors such as blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, and blood concentrations of hormones such as leptin and adiponectin also did not differ significantly.
McTiernan wrote, “”To our knowledge, no previous studies have examined the effect of prior weight cycling on the body composition, metabolic and hormonal changes induced by a comprehensive lifestyle intervention in free-living women.”