‘Yo-Yo’ Dieting is a Major No No

During prom season in high school, my best friend and I during the week of prom would go on an insane diet. Of course, after prom we would resume our ‘healthy’ diet of two lava cakes weekly. This is a form of “yo-yo” dieting or losing weight and then almost immediately gaining it back. This form of dieting is extremely popular but is unsurprisingly considered to be an extremely unhealthy way of losing weight. But just how unhealthy is it really?

According to a study, the type of people who are most likely to engage in “yo-yo” dieting are older women. Therefore, Dr. Somwail Rasla, along other associates, decided to test just how bad this form of dieting is on the cardiac health of older women. To determine whether or not Dr. Rasla and his associates were accurate in hypothesizing that cardiac health is negatively impacted from this form of dieting, they decided to create a longitudinal, observational study. To collect the most accurate results, the study consisted of 158,000 postmenopausal women whom were placed into groups categorized as the following:  stable weight, steady weight gain, maintained weight loss, or “yo-yo dieting”. These women were studied for eleven years and at the conclusion of the study, 2,500 women of the women who participated in “yo-yo” dieting died due to a variety of failure in cardiac health. The results of this study are credible given the length and number of participants involved. Although, the researchers stated that while there is a strong association between ‘yo-yo’ dieting and cardiac death, there is not a causal relationship between the two. Furthermore, it is important to note that some of these women could have died due to cardiac failure because of genetics, this in turn acts as a confounding variable.

The information from this study is certainly informative, but what can you do to stop ‘yo-yo’ dieting now? According to Weight Watchers, to begin keep a log of your meals daily. In addition, consume meals that are more balanced in order to stay full longer therefore being more satisfied. An example of a typical balanced meal can be seen below. Moreover, the researchers of the study stated that to not fret when the scale has a weight that is not to your liking. Rather than crash dieting, it is important to eat balanced food and work out whenever possible. These simple steps can not only extend your life, but live a fuller one too.



6 thoughts on “‘Yo-Yo’ Dieting is a Major No No

  1. Luyi Yao

    There is no doubt that yo-yo dieting is unhealthy. I think there might be some correlation between yo-yo dieting and failure in cardiac health, although we have no statistically significant evidence now. Too fast weight loss makes our body unable to fit the pace. Also, slimmers get into a cycle of losing weight and regaining it. So it harms our body obviously. So I think the best weight to lose weight is to do regular exercise to speed up the rate of metabolism.

  2. Derek William Drotman

    I believe yo -yo dieting isn’t just common in older women but anyone who wants to loose weight in a short time period. Teenagers as well as men also loose weight and gain it back. My best friends father lost 50 pounds before his sons wedding but after the event was over the weight came back on a lot faster. I think to improve this blog you could have found another study abut ” Yo -Yo” dieting that studied both men and women in order to eliminate bias. here is an article that discusses” Yo -Yo” dieting among both men and women. http://paleoleap.com/yo-yo-dieting-dangerous-even-at-a-normal-weight/

  3. Danielle Megan Sobel

    This is a concept that I am very familiar with, not because I do it myself, but because my friends from high school did often before special events like school dances, swim meets, or the summer. I have always thought such quick fluctuation in weight was unhealthy and too drastic for my active lifestyle, but some people can afford to lose and then regain a certain amount of weight quickly. I have looked into diet type lifestyles that are healthier. I’ll post a link of one here: https://authoritynutrition.com/how-to-lose-weight-as-fast-as-possible/
    A null hypothesis is that these diets would not do anything.
    An alternative Hypothesis would be that they do indeed help a person to gain results they are looking for.

  4. Brian Cunningham

    Interesting. I wonder how much the results would change if you compared different extents of this form of dieting? I think most of the girls I was friends with in high school did at least SOME form of this, but clearly there’s a difference between going from eating Burger King every day, to eating carrots every day, then back to Burger King, so I’d like to know how big of a change in diet would be required to draw the line between whether or not it’s healthy.

  5. Kameron Villavicencio

    What I would like to know is are there any other studies? It would be great it you could show multiple studies and parallel them, or perhaps identity any cases of the File Drawer Problem or Texas Sharpshooter. However, you did do a great breakdown of examining the study with its set-up and potential flaws. I looked into the topic myself and came across a CNN article titled “Yo-yo dieting dangerous for women’s hearts, study says”. The study the article examines sounds very familiar to yours. It was a longitudinal study done over the course of 11 years that followed 153,063 (slightly less than the study you mentioned). Women were asked to described their weight as normal, overweight or obese (also similar to your study). The results of the study showed 2,526 coronary heart disease death and 83 sudden cardiac deaths (again, very close to the numbers your study showed). It showed that the women who were overweight and obese did not suffer as compared to the normal weight women. I have only just realized now that they are the same study. I then looked at the article you were looking at, and I can see where the differences are. Be on the look out for this! Try and stay as accurate as possible. I’m curious to why different numbers were reported. It’s my fault for not realizing it sooner.

    I’ve copied the link to the CNN article. Still can’t manage to do the whole live link in the comment.


  6. Christopher Ronkainen

    This article quickly grabbed my attention as I have never heard the phrase “Yo-Yo dieting.” However once reading your post, I have heard of the the idea of dieting and gaining the weight back almost immediately. If I recall from memory, it is quite common to gain the weight back that you lose and it has to do with the fact that keeping the weight off that you lose is difficult. So I decided to look into it. While researching I came across a USNews article that gives tips of how to keep the weight off. I found it interesting that it recommend keeping a food journal, which is one of the tips you mentioned in your post to stop ‘Yo-Yo’ dieting. I think you should take a look!

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