…Yo-yo dieting, that is.
Yo-yo dieting is a pattern by which an individual goes on a diet, regains the weight they lost, and then goes on another diet. This pattern causes your weight to go up and down like a yo-yo. Hence, the name yo-yo dieting.
6 Reasons Yo-Yo Dieting Is Bad News
Can Increase Body Fat Percentage
Some studies show that yo-yo dieting can lead to an increase in body fat percentage. When your body weight fluctuates at such an inconsistent pace, your body starts to hold on to fat in an effort to keep you safe.
A review published in the US National Library of Medicine showed that out of 19 studies, 11 featured individuals with a history of yo-yo dieting who were more likely to have higher belly fat measures and body fat percentages.
Your Appetite Increases and You Gain More Weight
When you’re dieting, leptin levels start to decrease due to fat loss. Generally speaking, this is what will help you feel full. When conditions in your body are normal, and you are not dieting, leptin will be released into your bloodstream via fat stores. This will tell your body there are energy stores available which will in turn signal to your brain to eat less.
As you continue to lose fat, leptin levels will continue to decrease. This will result in an increase in your appetite. When you are constantly going on and off short-term diets, your leptin levels will be out of whack and you will end up gaining more weight over time.
Can Lead To a Fatty Liver
Anytime your body stores excess fat in your liver cells it results in a fatty liver. If you are obese, you are at risk for developing a fatty liver.
One of the biggest contributors to a fatty liver is constant changes to the way fats and sugars are metabolized in the liver. This usually happens when an individual is a serial yo-yo dieter.
Increases Your Risk Of Diabetes
Those who yo-yo diet have a greater chance of developing diabetes. More specifically, they are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
This is in large part due to how weight is regained. Yo-yo dieters tend to regain their weight in the stomach area. Excess belly fat is one of the leading causes of diabetes. Diabetes is more likely in those who yo-yo diet and end up weighing more than when they first started.
Muscle Loss Is Highly Likely
Anytime you go on a diet, you will lose both muscle and fat. The problem is when you yo-yo diet you are constantly in a state of gaining and losing weight. In addition, because it is easier to gain fat than muscle, you end up losing even more muscle over time.
What’s worse is the fact that you will also lose physical strength as a result of the muscle loss. To prevent muscle loss it is best to stop yo-yo dieting and start incorporating strength training in your workout regimen.
Increases Your Risk of Heart Disease
Many studies link yo-yo dieting with coronary artery disease. When you have coronary artery disease, it means the arteries that supply your heart have become narrow.
A study done on over 9500 adults showed that dramatic weight loss and weight gain puts you at greater risk for developing heart disease. (source)
Another review showed that large variations in weight gain and weight loss can double one’s chances of dying due to heart disease. (source)
Yo-yo dieters tend to have constant fluctuations in weight, which is why they are at greater risk of heart disease.