A study published this week in the journal Evolution, Medicine and Public Health, offers an explanation as to why yoyo dieting leads to weight gain.  It happens because the body interprets a low calorie diet as a famine or a food shortage and in response, stores fat as a protective mechanism. In some people this response continues even when the diet ends because the body does not know when famine will strike again.

For a summary of the article see: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314527.php

For the complete journal article see: http://emph.oxfordjournals.org/content/2016/1/369.full

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The results of this study tell us that low calorie quick weight loss diets don’t work for long term weight control and in fact, lead to weight gain. To prevent this, weight loss should be slow and over a long period of time.

Since it takes 3500 calories more than we need to gain one pound,  the safest way to lose weight is to cut back 500 calories a day and lose 1 pound a week with total daily caloric intake not less than 1200 calories.  To put this in perspective, 2 cans of regular soda is 500 calories, 5 level tablespoons (a little more than ¼ cup) of peanut butter, mayonnaise, oil and most dressings,  ½ stick of butter, 2 cups of cooked white rice, two slices of plain pizza, about 3 cans of beer, 2 mocha lattes.

 If you want to lose weight in a healthy way, work with your body and cut back a little each day rather than going on a low caloric diet for a few days or weeks that will create a sense of famine and trigger fat storage. This, combined with being more active - just moving more and sitting less - is a safer way to go.

For more information see:

Centers for Disease Control –

Healthy Weight loss

Healthy Eating

Preventing weight gain

Keeping weight off

U.S. Department of Agriculture

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