Yo-yo dieting is also called weight cycling in which a person repeatedly loses and regains the weight. According to a research on weight cycling that was submitted at the 2016 Scientific Session of the American Heart Association, the risk of fatality due to heart disease rises among postmenopausal women with normal weight.
Weight Cycling- A Major Health Concern:
Somwali Rasla, M.D., internal medicine resident of Rhode Island’s Memorial Hospital, Alpert Medical School under Brown University in Providence region of Rhode Island and this study’s lead author said that weight cycling has become one of the emerging health concerns on a global scale with regard to weight loss attempts; however, the results are inconsistent when it comes to specifying the health hazards related to those experiencing the weight cycling behavior.
The Study Report:
158,063 post-menopausal women provided self-reported weight history to the researchers which were then divided into four specific categories, namely- steady gain, stable weight, weight cycling and maintained weight loss. The researchers followed- up for over 11 years in which they found that among the participants, the sudden cardiac death figure was 83 and the number of deaths due to coronary heart diseases was 2,526. The researchers made categories of deaths on the basis of the women’s weight at the beginning of the study and the weight histories of the women over time.
The following observations were made:
The normal-weight women who had the weight cycling experience had three and a half times more risk to fatality due to cardiac arrest in comparison to women who had stable weight all through the study period.
Women with normal weight who underwent weight loss followed by weight regain also had an increased risk of 66 percent for deaths relates to coronary heart diseases.
The deaths due to cardiac arrest or death related to coronary diseases did not rise among obese or overweight women who also reported of weight cycling.
The same observation was made for women who lost weight and did not regain the weight, and women who had reportedly gained body weight which they did not lose.
It has been indicated through evidence that becoming obese or overweight during midlife increases death risk due to two specific heart disease types. The first type of heart disease that can be fatal for obese people in midlife is the one in which the blood vessels that connect to one’s heart get blocked by fat as well as other substances, consequently reducing the flow of blood to one’s heart. Type two heart disease in this category is sudden cardiac death in which the electrical system of one’s heart stops working abruptly, leading to death. It remains uncertain whether losing weight followed by regaining the weight among adults increases the fatality risk due to such heart diseases, which is why the investigators opted to look for this relationship in women undergoing their postmenopausal phase.
The Study Limitations:
There are several limitations in the study. The first limitation was that the study was purely based on observation which resulted in showing only the association instead of the actual cause and resultant effect relationship. Additionally, the study was based on self-reports that could be highly inaccurate. Since death due to sudden cardiac problem occurred among the subjects relatively infrequently, the result could be purely based on chances. And finally, this study was based on older women only.
Dangers Associated with Weight Cycling:
Rasla also opined that some of the studies suggest that there are no effects on the health on the person experiencing weight cycling while others claim that weight cycling can cause diabetes, cancer and other ailments. He further said that “overshoot theory” may be one of the reasons why weight cycling can be harmful. As someone experiences change in weight on a frequent basis, the increase in body weight leads to the risk of high blood pressure, body fat and cholesterol level. When this weight is lost, the levels also go down but not to the healthy baseline because the normal was “overshot” by the gain in weight. In case the cycle keeps repeating, eventually the weight of the concerned person will decline despite appearing “normal”.
Need for Further Research:
After entailing the details of the study, Rasla said that further research is required prior to making any recommendations to provide clinical care related to weight cycling risks, as the results of this study can be applicable for postmenopausal women only instead of younger men and women.
Leading a Healthy Life:
Deprivation is never helpful. If you are making a conscious effort to keep away from eating you will not be supported by your body or mind- in fact they will push you to do the opposite. This is a trick the humans have developed since cavemen times for survival. As you cut down on your food, the mind will send various signals to your body’s different parts to produce as well as store more fat. It is necessary that you develop a healthy relation with your food so that you can lose weight in a sustainable way. Get rid of your mental hang-ups to give way to good eating habits and only then can you achieve your goal in a healthy way.
A safer and healthier permanent approach to lose weight is opting for slow and consistent weight loss over longer time period. It is advised that you opt for losing up to 2 pounds on a weekly basis. If you are already experiencing yo-yo dieting effects, you can resort to the following to reverse and control the damage- consumption of extra protein and extra strength training which will help restore metabolism, and offer support to your liver as your liver plays a crucial role in burning the fat in your body.
Heart disease ranks among the most dominant causes of death not only in the US but also across the world. The major risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, obesity, physical inactivity, smoking, poor diet and diabetes. The American Heart Association offers Life’s Simple 7 Program to help you lower the risk factors, the recommendations of which include 1. Control cholesterol, 2. Manage blood pressure, 3. Get active, 4. Reduce blood sugar, 5. Maintain normal weight, 6. Stop smoking and 7. Get active.
This study on weight cycling is funded by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute
Material source obtained from the American Heart Association. Note: There may have been changes in the Content for length and style.
Albert Christine M. (M.D., M.P.H.), Eaton Charles B. (M.D., M.S.), Garas David K. (M.B.A.), Garas Marina (D.O.), Laddu Deepika (Ph.D.), Roberts Mary B. (M.S.), Stefanick Marcia L. (Ph.D.), Waring Molly E. (Ph.D.). “Yo-yo dieting dangerous even if you’re not overweight”. American Heart Association, February 14, 2017.