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Published on June 8th, 2011 | by Jeannie Moulton

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Is Yo-yo Dieting Better than Always being Overweight?

A new study suggests that yo-yo dieters may be healthier and live longer than those who stay obese.

Conventional thought

Yo-yo dieting seems generally frowned upon by people, including those in the medical community. Gaining, losing and regaining weight is thought to be damaging to health over time. It is also thought that it could ruin your body’s ability to control weight.

This is reflected in the conventional wisdom that everyone just seems to have. You always hear ‘lose weight slowly and steadily‘ or ‘make a lifestyle change’. These are not easy things to do and can be discouraging to people who want to lose weight…so they may not even try.

But the question remains…is it better to be overweight and stay over weight than to have your weight fluctuate?

The study

The recent study used thre groups of mice. One group switched between a high-fat and a low-fat diet every four weeks, another group ate only a low-fat diet and the remaining group ate a high-fat diet.

The yo-yo dieting mice lived about 25 percent longer than the obese animals eating a high-fat diet. They also had better blood glucose levels — poor blood glucose levels could indicate a problem such as diabetes.

This research suggests that yo-yo dieting may be preferable to remaining obese and never dieting at all. It doesn’t say that yo-yo dieting is preferable to staying a healthy weight and eating a healthy diet, which is obviously the best choice.

Future research

It is desirable to study the effects of yo-yo dieting on humans; however, such an experiment is quite difficult to control.

Even if it is not possible to extend the study to humans, the researchers hope that this study will encourage people who are trying to lose weight for health reasons to never give up.

Source: Science Daily

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons by Tobyotter


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About the Author

I spent the last five years earning my PhD in Engineering. I enjoy all types of science and writing, so I am trying out a new career path in science publication and communication. Recently, I have moved to Oxford, England. As an environmentally-conscious person, Oxford is a great place to live...notably there is no car required. I love to talk about vegan cooking, plant-based diets and the benefits of such, so just ask if you are interested. I do ballet for fun and love kitties.



2 Responses to Is Yo-yo Dieting Better than Always being Overweight?

  1. Greta says:

    So I guess this is a good reason to keep on dieting? I actually can see why this would be the case, trying out different diets – seeing what works for you, maybe you don’t lose as much weight as you’d hope but at least you are out there and doing it!
    I recently discovered a brand new diet tool that has worked amazingly for me! http://www.fitango.com/actionplans/10-weeks-on-10-pounds-off/27923 If you don’t already know about it, you might want to :)
    Happy yo-yo dieting!
    G

  2. Gerry says:

    Is it even really obvious that staying a healthy weight is best? Maybe we live longer by frequently surprising our bodies with challenges like too little or too much food! It might help retain the ability of our digestive hormones and such to adapt to varying conditions.

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