Fitness

Why yo-yo dieting is a BIG no-no

Hollywood’s biggest stars use this weight-loss method, but a new study has found that weight-cycling can increase a woman’s chance of dying from heart disease by 66 per cent.

Oprah, Dieting

Much like a classic red lip, dieting in Hollywood appears to be the trend that never goes out of style.

But a new scientific study has just found a shocking link between a renowned diet in Tinseltown, and a 66 per cent increase in the risk of dying from heart disease.

We all know it’s certainly not the healthiest way to lose weight, but going around dietitian’s advice and yo-yo dieting has been the go to for many of A-listers, and in particular those who need to change their looks for on-screen roles.

Actress Renee Zellweger has famously dedicated her figure to her alter-egos, which saw her fluctuate from a size-12 to a size-6 and back for her part as Roxie Hart in Chicago, in between filming both the first and second installments of the Bridget Jones’s Diary saga.

Rene (L) pictured in January 2004, and then again in November (R).
Rene (L) pictured in January 2004, and then again in November (R).

Ukraine-born beauty Mila Kunis has also admitted to taking up shocking health habits to land her role as a ballerina in Black Swan. The expectant-mother-of-one confessed to smoking and consuming only 1,200 calories as a way to slim down unhealthily.

“By the end, I was 95lb [45kg]. All you saw was bone. It looked disgusting, but in photographs and on film it looked amazing. It took me five months to lose the weight, but just five days to gain it all back.”

While yo-yo dieting has unfortunately been glamourised by the stars over eating healthily and regularly exercising, health professionals have now found out exactly how damaging this on-again, off-again fluctuation can be to one’s health.

Mila admits she lost weight for *Black Swan* in an unhealthy way.
Mila admits she lost weight for Black Swan in an unhealthy way.

The study, presented to the American Heart Association, analysed the data of 158,063 postmenopausal women divided into four categories: stable weight, steady gain, maintained weight loss and weight cycling.

After 11 years, the researchers were able to conclude that the women who had a normal BMI (body mass index) at the beginning of the trial, but then lost and regained weight, had a significantly higher risk of sudden cardiac death, compared to women who kept a stable weight throughout the period.

In fact, women who weight-cycled were a whopping 3.5 times more likely to meet death by cardiac arrest, and 66 per cent more at risk of coronary heart disease deaths.

"Normal-weight women who said 'yes' to weight cycling when they were younger had an increased risk of sudden cardiac death and increased risk of coronary heart disease, which can lead to heart attacks and other serious issues," said study leader Dr. Somwail Rasla of Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island.

There was no reported increase in death by women who gained weight and did not lose it, and the same applied to women who lost weight but did not gain it back.

Jennifer Aniston is a picture perfect example of maintaining a healthy BMI. Pictured on the left in 2004, and again in 2015 at the SAG awards (R).
Jennifer Aniston is a picture perfect example of maintaining a healthy BMI. Pictured on the left in 2004, and again in 2015 at the SAG awards (R).

While both illnesses can result in death, coronary heart disease occurs when plaque and fatty deposits gradually block blood vessels from reaching the heart.

Cardiac arrest or heart attack occurs when a blood clot completely blocks the flow of blood to the heart.

Coronary heart disease is the single leading cause of death in Australia, with the illness claiming the life of one person every 26 minutes. Heart attack, however, occurs every nine minutes, killing 24 Australians with each day that passes.

While maintaining a healthy lifestyle, consistent weight, blood pressure, not smoking, limiting alcohol consumption and regularly exercising will help reduce the risk of heart complications; one should seek consultation should they experience:

  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck or upper body or chest

  • Shortness of breath

  • Palpitations or ‘flutterings’

  • Dizziness or fatigue

  • Swelling in the feet, ankles, legs or abdomen

If you wish to find out more, see your trusted GP for a heart check-up today.

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