Researchers at NYU investigating the effects of weight loss/gain cycles (yoyo dieting) in people with coronary artery disease found that those with the largest weight gain/loss cycles had 136% more strokes, 117% more heart attacks, and 124% more deaths than those with the smallest weight gain/loss cycles. The research results were published in the April 6, 2017 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.  

Summary of the research:

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This is yet another study showing the association between yoyo dieting and poor health. In this case, it’s the increased risk of stroke, heart attack and death in people who already have heart disease.  

If you want to lose weight, dieting is not the way to go because by their very nature, diets are temporary.  You go “on” a diet, then you go “off” the diet. Going on and off a diet, losing and gaining weight is detrimental to health, as this research found.

So, to use this news if you have heart disease and want to lose weight, don’t diet. Instead, remember that weight management at its most basic level is a balancing act between the amount of energy you take in (calories) and the amount of energy you use.  

Here are some magic numbers to keep in mind – if you eat 3500 calories more than your body needs/uses, you will gain one pound. Consequently, if you eat 3500 calories less than your body needs, you will lose one pound. By reducing 500 calories a day through a combination of eating a little less and using a little more (moving more), you will lose about a pound a week. This does not mean ‘going on a diet.’ This means making small lifestyle changes that over time, will help you manage your weight.

The American Heart Association offers the following guidelines:

  1. Set realistic weight loss goals (1-2 pounds a week)
  2. Keep a food diary or log to record (Use paper and pencil, an online site or an app)

The times you eat
What you eat
How much you eat

  1. Manage portion size

Know the difference between your portion size and a serving size. A serving size is the amount used to calculate the calories and nutrients of a food. The portion size is the amount you eat. It is usually much more than the serving size. For example, a serving size of pasta is ½ -3/4 cups of uncooked dried pasta or about 1 – 1 ½ cups cooked.

  1. Make smart choices

Choose whole grains over refined flours because cause they keep you fuller longer, choose fruits and vegetables over processed high calorie snacks, choose unsweetened beverages over those with sugar or artificial sweeteners.

  1. Get moving!
                Increase your activity level. Walk more, even 10 minutes counts.

For More Information:

American Heart Association
No-Fad Diet Tips

Master the Scale

Choose My Plate
Healthy Eating Style

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
 Losing Weight