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Yo-Yo Dieting May Affect Your Heart


We have all been unhappy about our weight and have gone on a diet at some point in our life.
But some people, particularly women, constantly are on a yo-yo diet even if they aren’t
overweight. A study of almost 160,000 postmenopausal women took part in the Women’s
Health Initiative (WHI) which researched their health problems after the menopause. The
researchers observed that women who were in the normal weight range but who had a
fluctuation of more than 10 lbs of weight had a 66 percent higher risk of dying from coronary
heart disease over an 11- year period, compared to women who had weight fluctuations of
below 10 lbs. Coronary heart disease is when fat blocks the blood vessels to the heart,
decreasing blood flow to it.

The study findings were presented at the American Heart Associations Scientific Sessions
2016. “These findings were actually similar to what is known in the medical literature as the
obesity paradox,” Dr. Somwail Rasla, the studys lead author and an internal medicine
resident at Brown University in Rhode Island. The cause and effect of the study was not
investigated because the study was based on observation said Rasla. The researchers are
unsure about how the fluctuations in weight pose a risk to heart problems but it could be
because weight fluctuations intensify inflammation in the body, which can then cause heart
disease. This research is the first long-term study to show an association between weight
fluctuations and sudden cardiac failure the researchers said. The women in the study ranged
from 50 to 70 years old and 55,000 of the participants had weight fluctuations of greater than
10 lbs. Also during the study, 2,526 of the women died from coronary heart disease.

The researchers noticed that the more the women’s weight fluctuated, the greater they were at
risk of contracting heart problems. Rasla said that it is healthier for your heart to maintain a
stable weight in the normal range rather than yo-yo dieting, which causes constant
fluctuations to your normal weight. However, he said that people who are overweight should
still try and lose weight to reduce their risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. This study
was only based on postmenopausal women’s health, so further research will need to be
carried out in order to establish the effects of yo-yo dieting to heart health in younger women.

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