Dieting trends may be popular, but a recent study found that yo-yo dieting leads to coronary heart disease and sudden death in post-menopausal women.
The study, presented at the American Heart Association, analyzed 153,062 women post-menopause, and their weight histories. Research leader Dr. Somwail Rasla wanted to focus on women with “normal” weights, as the dangers of yo-yo dieting in obese women was tested previously.
Women were asked to self-report their weights over the course of 11 years. In that time, researchers recorded deaths attributed to heart disease and cardiac death. Deaths were also categorized by women’s starting weight and weight fluctuation over time. The end of the study reported over 2,526 coronary heart disease deaths and 83 sudden cardiac deaths.
Surprisingly, women with normal weights who admitted to weight cycling were three and a half times more likely to die from cardiac arrest than women with stable weights.
“Normal-weight women who said ‘yes’ to weight cycling when they were younger had an increased risk of sudden cardiac death and increased risk of coronary heart disease, which can lead to heart attacks and other serious issues,” Rasla said.
Weight cycling frequency also increased risks, especially when weight losses and gains were over 10 pounds.
“The more cycling, the more hazardous [to their hearts],” Rasla added.
Rasla also reported that 20 to 55 percent of women in the United States weight cycle, and are more likely to fluctuate in weight than men. Dr. Michael Miller, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, warns of the consequences of yo-yo dieting.
“Yo-yo dieting can result in fluid shifts and electrolyte changes, such as potassium, that can cause deadly heart arrhythmias in susceptible middle-aged women,” Miller said.
For future studies, Rasla hopes that participants’ weights will be monitored more precisely. While the study did conclude an increase in heart disease deaths with weight cycling, weights were self-reported by the patients. To avoid biased answers, Rasla expects future weight measurements to be performed by researchers over time.
Recent Study Suggests that Stem Cells Could Be Used to Restore Testosterone Levels
The SJSM Newsletter: January 2017