The dangers of yo-yo dieting

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
May 23, 2011, 10:59 PM GMT+0

More than one in five women have been on at least five diets and regained weight, and many have been on at least 20 diets without keeping the pounds off, our survey has found.

  • 21% of British women say they have yo-yo dieted at least five times
  • 11% have done it at least ten times
  • And 6% have dieted and put the weight back on again more than 20 times

The results come in the wake of European Obesity Day, which this year highlighted ‘the dangerous cycle of repeated loss and regain of body weight and its dramatic effects on mental and physical health’.

The empty promise of rapid weight loss

Dr Jacquie Lavin, Slimming World’s Head of Nutrition and Research, says: ‘In recent years the UK has seen a huge rise in the number of faddy diets promising rapid weight loss through things like cutting out food groups, following unbalanced eating plans and only consuming liquid foods.

‘However in reality these diets can rarely be kept up in the long term as hunger, feelings of deprivation or other possible side effects force people who follow them to give up and go back to their old way of eating, causing them to put any weight they lost back on again.

‘While fad diets tend to be based around tiny food portions or banning certain foods, a diet of satiating low energy dense foods like fruit and vegetables, pasta, potatoes, rice, fish and lean meat is more effective for long-lasting weight loss. These foods fill you up and are naturally low in calories. Avoiding feelings of deprivation by enjoying the odd glass of wine or chocolate treat without feeling guilty is also important to long term success.’