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Yo-Yo Dieting Tied to Heart Problems

Study of 6.7 million people underscores risk of frequent fluctuations in key biomarkers.

Obesity and consistently elevated blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels have long been linked to a higher risk of heart disease. But what happens when these metabolic risk factors fluctuate over time, as can happen when people flip-flop between diets? The answer may hail from a study in the journal Circulation involving a massive 6.7 million people.

Researchers discovered that those with the most fluctuations in these measurements over 5 1Ôüä2 years were about 2.3 times more likely to die during the study period and more than 40% more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than people with little variation in their weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels. These new findings suggest it’s best to avoid the frequent cycles of weight loss and weight regain associated with repeated bouts of dieting. You know the old proverb: Slow and steady wins the race.

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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