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Dieting May Not be Good for Long Term Weight Management

A recent study suggests that dieting and skipping meals may actually lead to more weight gain rather than weight loss in the long run. The researchers suggest eating regularly instead.


Participants in the study included more than 4,900 young men and women who participated in the FinnTwin 16 study. All of the participants answered surveys that mapped out factors that impacted weight and weight change when they were 24 and again at 34.


The majority of the participants gained weight during that decade. Only 7.5% of women and 3.8% of men lost weight. The mean gain in women was 0.9 kg per year and in men it was 1.0 kg per year.


The researchers found that in addition to dieting and irregular eating habits, women who gave birth to two or more children, regularly consumed sweetened beverages, and who had poor contentment with life were more likely to gain weight. In men, the additional factor increasing the risk of gaining weight was smoking.


Protection from weight gain was physical activity in women and higher level of education and higher weight at the beginning of the study.


In addition to eating regularly as opposed to dieting in order to maintain long term healthy weight, the researchers also found that losing weight was not effective for long term weight management.


Researchers from the University of Helsinki conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on March 7, 2018, in the journal Eating Behaviors.

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