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Yo-Yo Dieting | The Dangerous Consequences Of Weight Cycling

Thomas Wright Published: March 12, 2019 Updated: March 12, 2019

Yo-yo measuring tape

Motivated to get back in shape, you get started with a trendy new diet your friend or family member swears by. After a couple of weeks of strictly monitoring your caloric intake, you shed a few pounds, and start feeling pretty good about yourself.

However, you hit a wall, and the weight doesn’t seem to be coming off as quickly as it once did. You revert back to your old habits and put all your weight back on.

If rebounding sounds familiar to you, don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, research suggests that about 65% of people who lose weight dieting put it all back in as little as 3 years. While you may think losing weight in the first place is still a good thing, yo-yo dieting may actually be harming you in more ways than you realize.

What Is Yo-Yo Dieting?

Yo-yo dieting, also known as weight cycling or rebound dieting, is the repeated loss and gain of weight. The rapid change in your body weight is typically a result of dieting, which is where the term yo-yo diet stems from.

Medical researchers have shown that the weight cycle can lead to certain long-term health risks. When one gains weight it’s hard to lose it. So for one to avoid the weight cycling one has to have good eating diet practice and should regularly exercise.

Effects On One’s Metabolism

Metabolism is commonly the process in which the body converts what you eat or drink into energy. When an individual is cycling through different weight, they commonly lower and raise the body metabolic rate. This down and up cycle may affect the body metabolism, making it weak, thus lowering how it normally functions.

The Dangers Surrounding Yo-Yo Dieting

Some of the reasons why weight cycle is dangerous to one’s health include an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease, newfound frustration, high blood pressure, muscle loss, and preventing lifestyle changes. Finally, weight gain may lead to a fatty liver, reducing how to function and how effective it is.

Increased Risk Of Heart Diseases

Weight gain (obesity) is famously known for an increase in heart disease. The weight cycle causes coronary artery disease, which is a condition that narrows the artery that supplies the heart with blood. Increase in heart disease mostly depends on the size of your fluctuating weight yo-yo dieting. It’s advisable for one to change their diet to a healthy diet and exercising regularly to keep your body fit thus reducing the risk of heart disease.

Increased Risk Of Diabetes

Studies have shown yo-yo dieting can lead to an increased risk of diabetes, which is the result of your body’s ability to produce or react to insulin. Not all diabetes that people get is due to yo-yo dieting, but it can be increased by people who put on more weight. Changing to a healthier diet, and watching what you eat closely can help combat your risk.

Increase In High Blood Pressure

Weight gain can also be linked to high blood pressure. A study showed that people faced with yo-yo dieting have low chances of improvement in reducing their blood pressure. In youth, the disease can fade away as time goes by, but a change in diet is required.

May Cause Muscle Loss

The body loses body fat and muscle, especially during a weight loss. The body tends to gain fat more easily than gaining muscle after a weight loss, which may later lead to dangerous levels of muscle loss. Muscle loss may also reduce the body’s physical strength, but can be combated by increasing your protein intake and getting a good amount of exercise.

Yo-Yo Dieting Can Be Worse Than Staying Overweight

While it’s still being studied, early research has shown that people are better off staying at their recommended body weight. In a study conducted by Dr. Tae Jung Oh in South Korea, participants had their BMI taken twice each year to determine weight fluctuation.

After a 14-year follow up, Dr. Oh and his team observed nearly 10% of those who experienced the most weight fluctuation died, compared to the 4.9% of participants who experienced the least amount of fluctuation.

There are other factors involved, but depending on your current weight and BMI, staying consistent may be better than falling victim to yo-yo dieting. Your best bet is to lose weight and keep it off, but that won’t be the result of a simple diet.