- A new study found that “weight cycling” – or constantly losing and gaining weight – is associated with higher risk of death.
- The researchers noted, however, that people with obesity who experienced weight cycling were less likely to develop diabetes over time.
- Previous studies have looked into the dangers of weight cycling, which include heart disease and stroke.
A person’s weight may fluctuate due to changes in eating habits, exercise routines, hormones, and even nutrient deficiencies. But constantly losing and regaining weight – also known as “weight cycling” and “yo-yo dieting” – could have negative side effects, including an increased risk of death.
A new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism examined the risks associated with weight cycling. After examining 3,678 men and women from the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study, researchers found weight cycling was associated with a higher risk of death.
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The study didn’t yield only negative results. Researchers also found that people with obesity who experienced weight loss during while weight cycling were less likely to develop diabetes over time.
This is not the first time researchers have examined the downside to yo-yo dieting. Last year, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine examined data from 10,000 men and women with coronary artery disease. Over four years of observation, researchers found that people who had repeated weight gain and loss experienced more heart attacks and strokes that those who didn’t, as The Verge reported.
A 2006 study published in the International Journal of Obesity yielded similar findings. In addition to increased cardiovascular risks, the study found several other negative side effects associated with weight cycling, including fluctuations in blood pressure, heart rate, blood glucose levels, and lipids.
These two previous studies, however, focused on people with previous cardiovascular conditions. The more recent study is one of the first to focus on a larger population.
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When starting a weight loss journey, no matter the reason, it is important to prioritise your health and not put yourself at risk. Before attempting to lose weight, consult with your doctor and a registered dietitian to find a plan that will help you achieve your goal without putting your life at risk.
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