Yo-yo dieting is a new and increasingly popular trend for weight loss. Doctors are starting to see it throughout the country, whether it’s young adults or older adults. People that engage in yo-yo dieting – also called weight cycling – don’t realize the adverse effects on the body. There are also many fad diets that are also considered yo-yo diets that you should look out for.
Reasons for Yo-Yo Diets
Many people don’t even realize they’re participating in yo-yo dieting and think it’s just a normal cycle. When patients have heart disease, it’s suggested that they drop some pounds if they are overweight or obese. But, it’s very hard to maintain weight loss. It’s normal to see weight gain following weight loss, but it becomes a pattern.
Younger adults often use yo-yo dieting when they’re getting ready to hit the beach or go on some type of trip they want to lose weight for. They’ll diet for weeks before the trip but fall back into old patterns once it’s over. This behavior is pretty normalized among young adults and not many of them realize what risks they are exposed to.
Risks of Yo-Yo Dieting
A new study led by Dr. Sripal Bangalore, an interventional cardiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center in NYC, suggests that yo-yo dieting may raise the risk of heart problems. Bangalore and colleagues gathered and “analyzed data from 10,000 patients with hardening of the arteries in a clinical trial to test the effect of statin medications.” The subjects were evaluated over 4 years, and it was found that those who weight cycled were more likely to experience a heart attack, blocked arteries, heart disease, cardiac arrest, and other conditions.
Other findings of this study include:
- +124% risk of death
- +117% risk of heart attack
- +136% risk of stroke
Bangalore hypothesizes that the dramatic changes in weight cause hormonal changes and place a lot of stress on the body, which in turn affects the heart.
If a patient is in the weight cycling pattern, it’s likely that they’ll let themselves get discouraged or depressed. If they are overweight or obese and trying to lose weight, but keep falling into the cycle, they might feel like they’re failing. Emotions can be a huge trigger to eat and a big reason that most diets fail. So, depression can be a main cause and contributor to the cycle. As a doctor, you should continue to encourage your patients to make long-term changes in their lifestyle in order to avoid these feelings.
3 Fad Diets to Watch Out For
Tons of celebrities and other famous Instagrammers promote teatoxes on their profiles as a weight loss and detox method. The brands of detoxing teas claim to aid in weight loss, flushing out toxins, boosting metabolism, and increasing energy and mood. There are hardly any studies that support this, and most teatoxes are nothing more than caffeine and a laxative. The main reason people see a weight change while drinking these teas is due to a loss of water weight, which has negative effects of its own. Once you stop drinking the tea, the water weight comes back, and there you are again in the yo-yo dieting weight cycle.
2. Diet Pills
Diet pills are advertised as preventing fat absorption, suppressing appetite, and increasing your metabolism. However, the majority of them are not FDA approved or licensed pharmaceutical drugs. They have the potential of containing pesticides and other fatal ingredients, especially if they are not regulated. Diet pills should only be taken if prescribed by a doctor, and not just for a “quick fix.”
3. Clean Eating Diet
This one sounds pretty normal, right? It can be, but it can also lead to more serious problems. Clean eating is a deceptive method in which people ingest minimally processed foods and try to keep them as close to their natural form as possible. While this does have its benefits, it can eventually turn into a condition called Orthorexia Nervosa. With this, foods that are actually nutritionally beneficial are seen as harmful and are avoided. For example, those suffering from this disorder often deem whole grains, fruits, and dairy unhealthy.