We know by now that yo-yo dieting is bad for our heart, but a new study just revealed that it actually does the very opposite than what we intend for it to do. Yup, science says that repeated dieting can lead to weight gain, which is most definitely not the outcome you’re looking for when you’re trying to drop a few.
The University of Exeter has concluded new research that reveals how our brain actually looks at the moments of yo-yo dieting as short famines, urging the dieter to store more fat for future shortages. While this definitely shows how amazing the human body is, it’s also bad if you are trying to fit into a dress you bought one size too small.
The study was conducted by examining animals such as birds, as they responded to the risk of a food shortage by gaining weight. (Also why animals are fatter in the winter.) The models tell us that when the food supply is restricted (as would happen when dieting) the animal will gain weight in between the shortages.
Dr Andrew Higginson, Senior Lecturer in psychology at the University of Exeter, said: “Surprisingly, our model predicts that the average weight gain for dieters will actually be greater than those who never diet. This happens because non-dieters learn that the food supply is reliable so there is less need for the insurance of fat stores.”
Translation: yo-yo dieting tells the brain that it needs to store more fat for survival. The better solution? Following the 80/20 rule instead of going to extremes over and over again.