The Scary Ways Your Health Will Suffer If You Regain Lost Weight | Men's Health Magazine Australia

The Scary Ways Your Health Will Suffer If You Regain Lost Weight

Yo-yo dieters may have more to worry about than buying a new size of pants every few months: Losing weight – and then regaining it – can be bad for your health, according to a new study from Harvard Medical School.

The researchers looked at 129 obese patients with diabetes who were enrolled in a weight management program. They discovered that the people who maintained a weight loss of 7 per cent or more of their total body weight by the end of the first year were more likely to keep it off long-term.

But people who gained weight back experienced a rise in their triglyceride levels – or the amount of fat in their blood – and their blood sugar levels, both of which initially dropped when they first lost the weight. This occurred even when people re-gained just 4.5 kilograms.

Although the study was done on diabetic patients, lead researcher Dr Osama Hamdy of the Joslin Diabetes Centre at Harvard Medical School, believes that the results may be similar for non-diabetics as well. The beneficial effects of weight loss – from lower blood pressure to improved cholesterol – has been shown to be similar across all types of people, so Dr. Hamdy says it’s likely that the regain effects in the study would also be similar.

Whether you’re diabetic or not, even a minor weight loss – starting at about 5 per cent of your total body weight – can improve measures of heart health. That’s because it decreases your visceral fat, or the fat within your abdomen.

“This is the fat deep in the waistline, and it’s the most dangerous fat in our body,” Dr. Hamdy says. It secretes hormones and chemicals that have been linked to diabetes and heart attacks.

Men with a waist circumference of 40 inches or higher are particularly at risk for cardiovascular disease because of the actions caused by this fat, he adds. In the study, participants lost an average of 3.7 inches from their waistlines, and that’s likely what was responsible for lowering their heart risk measures.

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