Yo-yo dieting could be GOOD for you after all: It's better to pile the pounds back on than never lose them at all
By Fiona Macrae
Last updated at 10:36 AM on 7th June 2011
For most slimmers it is a depressingly familiar story.
You spend months religiously watching the calories and shedding the pounds, only for the weight to pile back on as soon as you start eating normally.
However the cloud has a silver lining for the yo-yo dieters of this world. Research suggests that it is better to have lost and gained than never to have lost at all.
U.S. scientists found that shedding and regaining weight in a rapid cycle, previously regarded as harmful to health, actually does you good.
Mice placed on a diet which alternated between high and low fat lived 25 per cent longer than those kept on a high-fat diet – and almost as long as those on a permanent low-fat regime.
They also had better blood glucose levels, while the results hinted that the yo-yo dieters had lower levels of damaging immune chemicals linked to diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
This contrasts with previous research which has shown the repeated rapid weight gain and loss associated with dieting can double the risk of death from heart disease, including heart attacks, and the risk of premature death in general.
Such yo-yo weight loss has also been linked to strokes and diabetes and shown to suppress the immune system, making the body more vulnerable to infection.
Some experts even say the strain that repeated weight loss and gain places on the body means most people would be better off not dieting at all.
Study leader Dr Edward List, from Ohio University, said: ‘The new research shows that the simple act of gaining and losing weight does not seem detrimental to lifespan.
‘The study adds to our understanding of the benefit of losing weight. I would hope that this encourages people not to give up.’