The deadly truth about “yo-yo” dieting

Remember what I said Tuesday about permanent weight loss being a recovery process? Well today, I’d like to tackle a related topic… relapse.

Of course, most people call it yo-yo dieting. But if you ask me, that’s giving a rather cutesy name to what, in reality, is a very dangerous — and lethal — pattern.

Take the results of an eye-opening new study, for example…

How weight fluctuation is hurting your heart

Researchers looked at the health outcomes of more than 6,000 patients with type 2 diabetes. And they found that spikes and dips in weight correlated to significant increases in risk of both cardiovascular events — including stroke and heart attack — and death.

More specifically, patients with the biggest swings in body weight were more likely to have:

  • Nearly 60 percent higher risk of a coronary event
  • Almost double the risk of heart attack or stroke
  • An 82 percent increase in risk of death

Call me Captain Obvious, but these are not small numbers, folks.

The lead author noted that they’re not sure whether these weight swings were intentional (that is, due to dieting) or not. But whatever the reasons, it’s clear that — just as with blood pressure or heart rate — high weight variability is a recipe for disaster.

What is high weight variability?

In this context, the term “variability” refers to the amount of weight gained or lost by participants between the study’s follow-up visits. Researchers identified the median weight variability as just shy of four pounds — anything more was considered high.

It’s worth noting that the subjects who fell into the high variability category were younger, more likely to be smokers, and more likely to have a higher weight and body mass index (BMI).

But even after accounting for other clinical factors, weight fluctuations significantly raised the risk of coronary events and premature death. And ultimately, the impact was greatest in subjects who were overweight (a BMI between 25 and 29.9) and obese (a BMI of 30 or higher).

Consistency is key

Obviously, the solution here is to keep weight off once you lose it. The problem is, far too many people view weight loss as a short-term goal instead of a permanent life change.

But when you see it spelled out in black and white like this, one thing becomes crystal clear: Staying consistent can save your life.

Of course, as a recovering obese person myself, I know as well as anyone that that’s easier said than done. Which is why I’ve devoted my life to this line of work.

So whatever you do, stop the yo-yo dieting — starting today — and take your first step toward a happier, healthier, and longer life. I suggest you start by revisiting the November 2017 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives. I dedicated an entire feature to this very subject (“The deadly consequences of yo-yo dieting… and how to break the lethal cycle, once and for all”).

Subscribers have access to that issue and more in my archives. (Simply log into the Subscribers section at with your username and password). Not a subscriber, but ready to jump off of the diet rollercoaster once and for all? Simply click here.