Yo-yo dieting can hurt the heart

For women who are postmenopausal and overweight, losing weight is optimal only if they can keep it off. Regaining lost weight may increase risk for heart disease, according to Wake Forest University researchers.

The researchers studied factors that indicate a person’s risk for Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, including blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar and insulin, before and after a five-month weight loss intervention, and again at six and 12 months after the intervention.

The study of more than 100 women, published online in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, said even partial weight regain following intentional weight loss is associated with increased risk for Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. When women regained weight a year after losing it — when they regained about 70 percent of what they had lost — several risk factors were actually worse than before they lost weight in the first place.

The take-home message from the study was that slow and steady weight loss should be done via permanent lifestyle changes, and that yo-yo dieting is harmful.

— Anne Aurand, The Bulletin

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