The lifesaving power of losing weight for good

Ditching red meat may not do a thing for your health, as I discussed yesterday. But do you know what will?

Losing weight and keeping it off.

So as we approach another new year of resolutions, be sure to put this one on your list—no matter how many times it’s been there before. Because in this case, the science really couldn’t be any clearer…

Good health in action

A team of Tufts researchers relied on data from the Look AHEAD trial—a controlled clinical study that looked at the link between weight loss and heart disease risk among patients with obesity and diabetes—to reach this latest conclusion.

And surprise, surprise… they found that, after a year-long weight loss program, subjects who actually kept the weight off had better levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and blood pressure than their peers who gained the weight back over the next three years.

In other words, regaining the weight completely reversed the benefits of previous weight loss. Which, I admit, is hardly a groundbreaking conclusion.

Still, it does artfully demonstrate my evergreen point that good health really is an action, not a state. One that requires making more good choices than bad. Namely, to eat the right foods, to get regular sleep, and to move as often as you can—consistently, and every single day.

Because you know what? Simply losing the weight all over again isn’t exactly a healthy alternative.

In fact, recent research featured in the New England Journal of Medicine linked weight fluctuations to higher risk of both death and cardiovascular events, independently of any other factors.

And not by a small amount, either…

Weight cycling doubles death risk

Among people with the highest weight variations:

  • Risk of a heart-related event was 85 percent higher
  • Risk of death was 124 percent higher
  • Risk of heart attack or stroke was 117 percent and 136 percent higher, respectively

The weight fluctuations themselves, however, were not as big as you might expect.

The highest risk group in this study saw the scales tip just over 8 pounds. A change that—I repeat—doubled the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death. And one that just happens to line up with the amount of weight most people can expect to gain over the holiday period.

And this isn’t the only research to shed light on the deadly consequences of yo-yo dieting.

In fact, I devoted an entire feature to the critical importance of maintaining weight loss—along with my tried-and-true tips to keep the weight off for good—back in the November 2017 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“The deadly consequences of yo-yo dieting”).

Subscribers have access to that article, and everything else I’ve ever written, in my archives. So if you haven’t yet, consider signing up today—because this is one gift that truly does keep on giving.


“Losing weight — and keeping it off — linked to cardiometabolic benefits.” Science Daily, 10/09/2019. (