Off & On Dieting Might Add Pounds
Animal researchers from the universities of Exeter and Bristol observed the habits of birds to suggest that yo-yo dieting in humans might not yield the best results. Their findings are published in the journal Evolution, Medicine and Public Health.
Animals gain weight when there’s a risk of food shortage. That’s why birds look fatter in winter when seeds and bugs aren’t readily available. Scientists made a mathematical model for an animal that knows when food might be limited, but doesn’t know when it will be available again. The pattern is similar to someone who diets over and over again.
They found the average weight gain for dieters was greater than the weight gained by people who never diet. The model predicts that the urge to eat will increase the longer someone stays on a diet and does not diminish as weight is re-gained. One reason is that your brain is convinced another period of food restriction is imminent.