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Fad Diets Pose Risk for Future Obesity

From low carb to low calorie, there are a multitude of fad diets, which have developed over the past few decades. With more pressure than ever before on both men and women to look and live healthier, the prospect of an easy way to slim down has definite appeal. Unfortunately for fad dieters, there are some negative effects to take into consideration.

New studies have shown that yo-yo dieting, or the repeating of dieting following continual weight loss and gain, can cause future obesity and health problems. The research suggests that this risk is higher in women, but can affect men as well.

Your Brain on a Diet

One of the major factors which controls weight gain and loss during these dietary movements is not your stomach, but your brain. The brain controls the level of hormones and other chemicals which are transmitted throughout your body every day. When you skip a meal, cut out necessary calories, or change your diet to limit required nutrients and vitamins, your brain will send your body a message to hold onto what calories it has left, and use it more slowly to sustain you. Science Daily quotes Research from Universities of Exeter and Bristol, saying: “Repeated dieting may lead to weight gain because the brain interprets the diets as short famines and urges the person to store more fat for future shortages…”

In the times of hunting and gathering, the human body could go days without food; this basic instinct was one that helped to keep pre-modern man alive when food was scarce. Now that supermarket shelves are lined with everything from cereal to potato chips, there is an overabundance of food, and the need for these signals is lost.

Unfortunately, the body still reacts to food deprivation in the same way, which means that cutting back on sugars you would normally consume in a day will slow your metabolism, rather than raise it. In short, you may be cutting back on the bad stuff, but your body will make it more difficult to lose the weight, because it is afraid that the next meal will be a distant one.

Losing to Regain

Another problem with the fad diet is that they are rarely sustainable, meaning that most individuals start with the mindset that it is a temporary fix to shed a few pounds before resuming a regular lifestyle. If the regular lifestyle is causing unhealthy weight gain, then a quick fix won’t solve it, but could make it worse. The International Journal of Obesity reports: “In people trying to lose weight by dieting, there are often repeated cycles of weight loss followed by weight regain when the diet is interrupted, a phenomenon known as weight cycling or yo-yo dieting.”

Most fad dieters will see the weight return within the year, this is because the method of weight loss is eventually altered or disbanded entirely. Most doctors and nutritionists will suggest a gradual method of dietary change, which is considered long term, or a life change, rather than a short temporary fix. By selecting a long term dietary change, your body will adapt to the new types of foods being consumed, and by continuing to eat these ingredients, you will also sustain the new figure you have acquired.

Heart Health

It isn’t just your waistline that is impacted by yo-yo dieting, studies have shown that fad diets can negatively affect your heart, especially for women. The American Heart Association was presented with these findings in November, 2016, when Dr. Rasla, of Memorial Hospital in Rhode Island, and his team, discovered the link between dieting and heart attacks. CNN Health explains: “There’s evidence that being overweight in midlife increases risk of dying from two types of heart disease, according to the heart association — coronary heart disease, in which blood vessels are blocked by fat and other material, or sudden cardiac death, where the heart’s electrical system suddenly stops working.”

The stress of gaining and losing weight on the heart is highly problematic, especially as you age. When you’re younger, your heart can manage more, and your blood vessels have suffered less blockage. As you get older, the buildup in arteries becomes greater, and the chance of heart disease or attack is multiplied.

Dr. Rasla’s study reported surprising statistics, which found that women of a healthy weight who yo-yo’d were three times more likely to see heart health issues in the future, than women who retained a stable weight, and regular diet.

If you are concerned with your eating habits, or are having difficulty losing weight, consult your physician. You will be surprised to find that the best weight loss advice can be found through your doctor. Most medical professionals suggest regular exercise, healthy portion control, and healthy fresh foods to maintain a balanced weight and lifestyle.

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