There is no doubt that losing a few pounds if you are overweight or obese is a boon to your health. Doing so may help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic health conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But there is new evidence to support the notion that frequent re-weighting – a phenomenon called weight cycling or “yo-yo dieting” – is associated with a shorter lifespan.
Says one of the study’s authors, Tae Jong Oh, assistant professor in the department of endocrinology and metabolism in the department of internal medicine at Bundang Hospital at Seoul National University in South Korea.
Oh and his team analyzed health information for 3,678 men and women, ages 40 to 96, from the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study. The researchers measured the participants’ weight and body mass index (BMI) twice a year, and considered the overweight to be a BMI of 25, which corresponds to The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) definition of overweight in the United States.
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The researchers used a scientific formula called average successive variance to measure the participants’ weight changes, then compared it to the participants’ mortality rates. Over the 14 years of follow-up, they noted that 173 people with more weight fluctuation (9.4 percent among that group) died, while 90 participants with less weight fluctuation (4.9 percent among that group). Of the total of 263 deaths, 43 were attributed to heart disease.
Why losing a little weight might be protective for people who are overweight
The researchers found that participants whose weight changed were more likely to be obese and have higher blood pressure and hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) levels at baseline compared to those with lower body weight. HbA1C is an average of two to three months of blood sugar levels used to diagnose diabetes.
Despite weight fluctuations in these individuals, they noted a reduced risk of developing diabetes at the start of the study. But those who are basically with a BMI of 25 or less, which is considered normal or underweight for each NHLBIexperienced an increased risk of diabetes from weight changes.
“Those who were overweight and obese were more likely to lose and gain,” says Mitchell Roslin, MD, chief of bariatric surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City who was not involved in the new study. to some of the weight they lost in that time.” He says losing weight can help reduce insulin resistance, a hallmark of type 2 diabetes, among people who are overweight or obese, which may explain the lower risk of developing diabetes. Dr. Roslin also speculated that people of normal weight may have been genetically more likely to develop diabetes, in which case their glucose fluctuations may have led to the weight gain.
Other studies, as I mentioned before Mayo Clinichas found that following a yo-yo diet may increase weight and body fat, but it may not necessarily increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Why is it so hard to maintain weight loss
Often two-thirds of the weight lost is regained within one year, and nearly all of the weight lost is regained within five years, according to the February 2015 study in Obesity Reviews.
One possible reason: After a person loses weight, the body usually expends less energy during rest, exercise, and daily activities. According to the authors Statement published in August 2017 in Endocrinology ReviewsAnd the Lower body weight leads to increased hunger as well, which leads to a ‘perfect metabolic storm’ for weight regain.
Although this study included participants in South Korea, Americans’ tendency to rely on vulgar diets that lead to rapid weight loss may contribute to more weight cycling than the changes seen in the study.
Jan Rystrom, MD, a registered dietitian and diabetes educator at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle who was not involved in the study, says the average weight change in the study was 2.8 pounds (lbs). “That’s a very small amount,” she says. Hardly what North Americans might consider ‘weight riding’.
Not to mention there is conflicting research on the health effects of weight cycling, according to Review published in November 2015 in Obesity Reviews.
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How to help avoid losing weight
The CDC recommends shaving off pounds, such as 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight, to help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, to lose 5 percent of your body weight, you would aim to lose 10 pounds. To lower the number on the scale, you’ll want to avoid quick fixes and instead aim to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week steadily to help increase your chances of success, the CDC suggests.
“The take-home message should be that a healthy diet is essential,” says Dr. Roslin. “Changing to a healthy diet is a strategy, but choosing a short-term, fast-tolerant diet but not for permanent weight loss is not.”
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Dr. Rystrom says the investigation was significant in the sample size and number of years covered. But the data came from a self-reported questionnaire and was not collected clinically. Physical activity and nutritional information were not part of the report. The authors also note that they were unable to determine if the weight loss was intentional or perhaps due to another cause, such as chronic disease.
Oh says, “This is a cohort, observational study, so further study needs to be done to reveal the hidden mechanism [as to why weight fluctuation increases mortality]. “