Yo-yo dieting can increase heart disease risk in women, according to a new study. Researchers say that constant fluctuations in weight can have a great impact on heart health.
"Achieving a healthy weight is generally recommended as heart healthy but maintaining weight loss is difficult and fluctuations in weight may make it harder to achieve ideal cardiovascular health," Dr Brook Aggarwal, from Columbia University in New York, told a news portal.
For the study, 485 women were asked how many times they had lost close to 10lbs within the year and if they put the weight back on. American Heart Association's Life's Simple 7 scale was used to assess their responses. The scale examines diet, physical activity, body mass index (BMI), cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and smoking. The results showed almost 73 per cent of the women revealed an episode of yo-yo weight loss at least once. However, for some, the number was as high as 20.
Data from the results also revealed those who yo-yo dieted once were:
1. 82 per cent less likely to have a healthy BMI.
2.51 per cent less likely to be considered as having moderate health.
Women who had more episodes of yo-yo dieting scored worse on the wellbeing scale. This was especially true for women who had no children or had never been pregnant. "The women without a pregnancy history were likely younger and might be those who started weight-cycling at an earlier age," Dr Aggarwal told a news portal. Adding,"We need to identify critical periods for the effect of weight fluctuation on heart disease risk over the life course to find out whether it is worse when women start on a dieting roller-coaster at an early age."
More research is needed to understand if yo-yo dieting has a direct effect on BMI or blood pressure. "We hope to extend the study five to ten years to confirm these results and look at long-term effects," Dr Aggarwal revealed.
While losing weight is a challenge, experts urge people to take it slow and give yourself time to break bad habits. One heart-healthy diet you could try is the Mediterranean diet.