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Research Claims Some Dieting Better Than None

Tuesday, 07 Jun 2011 02:56 PM

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again, even when it comes to dieting — especially when it comes to dieting.

A recent study presented yesterday at The Endocrine Society's 93rd Annual Meeting in Boston debunks the long held belief that “yo-yo dieting” is harmful to dieters’ health.

Study researcher Edward List, a scientist at Ohio University's Edison Biotechnology Institute, stated, “While yo-yo dieting is thought to be harmful, there is little hard scientific evidence to support that.”

In fact, List’s research suggests just the opposite.

In an experiment conducted by List and his colleagues, 30 mice were divided into three groups of 10. Then, each group was put on one of three diets: a high-fat diet, a low-fat diet, and a yo-yo diet that fluctuated between high-fat and low-fat for four-week periods.

Predictably, the mice on the high-fat diet ate more, weighed more, and had more body fat and higher blood sugar levels in comparison to mice on the low-fat diet. Mice on the yo-yo diet also demonstrated these characteristics, but only during the high-fat period of their diet. During the low-fat period, they were healthier, the researchers said.

Interestingly, mice on the low-fat and yo-yo diets lived equally as long (about 2 years). Meanwhile, the only diet group whose lifespan was shortened (down to 1.5 years) were mice fed a consistently poor diet — those on the high-fat diet.

List is not alone in his research. His findings agree with other research that studied people, said Dr. Louis Aronne, an obesity expert at Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York City, who was not involved with the study.

"Given what we're learning about obesity and its impact on disease, it makes sense that yo-yo dieting not only doesn’t hurt, but could help," stated Aronne.

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