Past studies have warned against yo-yo dieting, and a new study builds upon that body of evidence with a new warning: frequently dieting and then regaining weight may increase a woman’s odds of developing heart disease. The research comes from the American Heart Association, which warns that women who frequently lose and then regain weight within a year were found to be less likely than others in controlling heart disease risk factors.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death across the world, and though it more commonly impacts men, women are also at risk of various cardiac issues. Many risk factors have been identified as increasing a person’s risk of developing heart disease, including having high blood pressure and cholesterol, smoking, poor diet, high blood sugar, and low physical activity.
The American Heart Association maintains something its calls Life’s Simple 7, which is list of seven risk factors associated with heart disease and ways people can address those problematic areas of their lifestyle. They include things like being more active, controlling cholesterol, and reducing blood sugar.
In this latest study, researchers found that women who yo-yo diet — that in, lose and then regain weight within a year — are less likely to adhere to the Simple 7 recommendations, meaning they may be at greater risk of developing heart disease.
Women who reported experiencing one or more episodes of yo-yo dieting in a year were found to be 82% less likely to have an optimal BMI, which is a factor in reducing heart disease risk. As well, these women were also 51% less likely to be rated “moderate” in following the Life’s Simple 7 recommendations, and 65% less likely to be rated “optimal” in following the guidelines.
A question remains, though, over whether failing to maintain a stable, optimal weight results from not following the Life’s Simple 7 recommendations, or if of it yo-yo dieting itself has a negative effect on the risk factors.