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What is a Yo-Yo Diet?

You might have heard about "weight cycling" (also known as yo-yo dieting) and wondered what is a Yo-Yo diet? Well, a Yo-Yo diet is the repeated loss and regain of body weight ("yo-yo") as a result of dieting. It can range from small weight losses and gains of between five and 10 pounds per cycle to large weight changes of 50 pounds of more per cycle. Your next question might be, “Are there any risks associated with Yo-Yo dieting?”

Yo-Yo dieting risks

Some experts believe that yo-yo dieting may be harmful to your health. These group of experts say that staying at one weight is better than weight cycling, even if you are obese. However, no convincing evidence has yet been brought forward that supports these claims. In fact, most obesity researchers still believe that obese people should continue trying to control their body weight, whether they fully know what is a yo-yo diet and its said risks or not.

Weight cycling study

One study of overweight and obese postmenopausal women with a history of repetitive "weight cycling" is particularly worth mentioning in support of yo yo dieting. The study carried out by researchers from the US Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the University of Washington and other US institutions looked at whether the overweight and obese study participants were at a disadvantage when it came to losing weight compared with those women without a history of weight cycling.

While the study researchers admitted to some shortcomings in the study method, they generally found that women with a history of repetitive "weight cycling" were not at a disadvantage for weight loss. In other words, the study provides one of the strongest scientific evidence in support the use of well structured weight loss interventions for women who are considered weight cyclers.

That said, further research on the effects of weight cycling are still needed to come to a conclusive decision on the matter.

Yo-Yo diet alternatives

If you have still not bought into answers of what is a Yo Yo diet and its benefits or worry about its risks, there are alternative weight-loss methods you can try. The good old weight loss method that is safe and, perhaps, a more permanent approach is to slowly and consistently lose weight over a long period of time through exercises and healthy eating. If you are an obese person, however, a fear of weight cycling should not stop you from actively trying to achieve a modest weight loss fast.

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