Stabilize Your Weight to Avoid Health Dangers
Life has its ups and downs. Don’t let your weight be one of them. Two recent studies show the potential harm that can occur when your weight fluctuates. In the larger study, researchers followed 10,251 mostly overweight or obese adults with type 2 diabetes for nearly four years. Seven percent died during the study, and all had been among those whose weight fluctuated the most (by an average of about 19 pounds). The study suggests that yo-yo dieting does more harm than stable obesity. In fact, participants who started at a healthy weight but whose weight dramatically fluctuated were three times more likely to die or have a heart attack or stroke than obese participants whose weight didn’t change.
The other study reported similar findings. Korean researchers tracked 3,678 middle-aged adults. Nearly 12 percent had diabetes. After 16 years, more than 9 percent of those whose body weight rose and fell the most had died, nearly twice as many as those who maintained a more fixed weight. Yo-yo dieting also appeared linked to higher blood pressure, higher blood glucose levels, and a higher likelihood of heart disease, compared with a steady weight.
The lesson: Gaining, losing, and regaining a few (or several) pounds may do more harm than staying at a steady weight. If you’re overweight, skip the crash diets and stick to a healthy eating plan that can lead to sustained weight loss. A registered dietitian can help you develop a plan.
Sources: The American Journal of Cardiology, Feb. 15, 2019; The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Nov. 29, 2018