Consequences of Weight Cycling: An Increase in Disease Risk?

Int J Exerc Sci. 2009;2(3):191-201.


Research indicates that weight cycling, or "yo-yo dieting" is a common occurrence in overweight and obese populations. The long term negative health consequences of weight cycling are debated and it is unclear whether or not this weight change pattern poses a greater disease risk compared to obesity maintenance. This review discusses the prevalence of weight cycling and physiological alterations occurring during weight loss that promotes weight regain. We also discuss the effect weight regain has upon adipose tissue in terms of rate and type of accumulation. Also within this review are discussions surrounding the previously published literature based upon human and rodent research. We focus on previous limitations and difference in experimental design that have perhaps resulted in mixed findings concerning independent effects of weight cycling on health parameters. The final purpose of this review is to discuss future directions in evaluating the pro-inflammatory response to weight cycling in order to compare the disease risk compared to obesity maintenance.

Keywords: Weight cycling; inflammation; review.