Yo-yo dieting is when you diet and lose weight only to fall off the wagon and regain the lost weight, with this process happening multiple times.
Now, researchers have found that when you undergo a yo-yo diet your metabolism will change, making weight gain more likely. Lets look at their research.
What research was undertake?
In the study published in the journal Nature, a group of Israeli scientists attempted to mimic yo-yo dieting using mice.
The mice were fed several cycles of different food designed to either help them lose or gain weight.
First they started by fattening them using high-fat portions, then fed them a diet of normal light meals to help them lose weight.
When compared to other mice who were continuously fed the high-fat portions, those on the yo-yo diet gained more weight and had a lower energy expenditure (lower metabolic rate).
What caused this result?
This is similar to what humans experience but before this study scientists were unsure why.
According to this research it is the micro-biome, a community of microbes that helps to digest food and regulate your metabolism that is at fault.
The researchers found that those mice on the yo-yo diet had marked differences to their gut microbes.
It was proven that this was the cause of the metabolic changes as when these microbes were transplanted into the mice who were on a normal diet these mice then gained weight.
What can you do to prevent this occurring?
The research found that these altered microbes were under-producing healthy compounds found in plants (called polyphenols or flavonoids).
It is these polyphenols that are associated with a healthy gut so you should try to consume more of them.
Polyphenol-rich foods include:
- Olive oil
- Dark chocolate
- Red wine
The next time you visit the supermarket make sure to add some of these foods to your basket. Polyphenols have also been shown to promote good health along with their ability to reduce weight gain.