1 killer of Americans — it may be time to ditch the diet. This may sound like good news to anyone who has ever dieted, but it was startling news to dieting researchers. The National Institutes of Health reported last month that their large dieting study had to be ended two years prematurely because it found no differences in cardiovascular health between participants in a strict diet and exercise program and those in a control group.

The Ups and Downs of ‘Yo-Yo’ Dieting

Field, associate professor of pediatrics in the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston. “Those weight losses one would expect to look bad for your health, because they are the result, not the cause, of disease.” Field, who studies intentional weight loss, added, “In our ongoing work, weight cyclers do not appear to be more likely to die.” The U.S. National Task Force on the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity found that, while conclusive data regarding the long-term health effects of weight cycling are lacking, the potential risks do not outweigh the potential benefits of weight loss in significantly obese patients. Dansinger’s own research on dieting suggests that overweight people should never give up trying to lose weight. He and colleagues examined the effect of dieting advice on people’s weight loss over time. The team performed a “meta-analysis” — a study of studies — comparing people who were counseled to change their dietary patterns, with members of a control group who received little more than general verbal or written advice on dieting. Their study, published recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that people who got dietary counseling lost an average of 6% of their body weight within a year, compared with the control group. What Dansinger didn’t fully appreciate at the time were the implications for weight cycling.

Modest calorie reduction and regular aerobic exercise linked to fat loss

Additionally, she recommended moderate intensity aerobic exercise three to five days per week paired with occasional resistance training for a healthier body composition. If you are obese, modestly reduce calorie intake and exercise for 250 minutes per week. Janet Walberg Rankin, PhD, of the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise at Virginia Tech, wrote the article which looks at the best ways to alter body composition in order to treat obesity.