Yo-yo diet is 'better than no diet', say scientists.
Shedding and regaining weight in a rapid cycle is generally viewed as unhealthy and psychologically damaging.
But the new US research conducted on mice suggests it can have long-term benefits and even extend life. Animals that switched between a high-fat and low-fat diet every four weeks lived 25% longer than those which only ate a high-fat diet and remained obese. They also had better blood glucose levels, and lived roughly the same length of time as mice on a continuous low-fat diet.
In addition, preliminary findings indicated that yo-yo dieting mice had reduced levels of cytokine immune system signalling molecules linked to inflammation.
Increased inflammation is a major risk factor for diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Study leader Dr Edward List, from Ohio University in the US, said: "The new research shows that the simple act of gaining and losing weight does not seem detrimental to lifespan.
"The study adds to our understanding of the benefit of losing weight. I would hope that this encourages people not to give up."
Dr List presented the results at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Boston, US.
His team followed the fortunes of 30 animals for just over two years, the normal lifespan of this strain of laboratory mouse.
Mice on the continuous high-fat diet ate more, weighed more, had higher levels of body fat and blood glucose, and showed early signs of diabetes.
The health of yo-yo dieting mice declined during the high-fat phases.
But their weight and blood glucose levels returned to normal when their calories were cut.
Consultant dietician Sian Porter, from the British Dietetic Association, said previous research had shown that yo-yo diets could be "self destructive".
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|Publication:||Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Jun 7, 2011|
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