How many times have you decided to follow a diet plan, only to abandon it in a couple of weeks? You may have even lost count but all of us follow a meal plan, only to leave it in some days or months.
The question is, how does this cycle of weight gain and loss affect your heart health? For instance, a nut-enriched Mediterranean diet is credited for improving heart health. Pursuing the meal plan for a significant time can help to improve your body engine’s health.
However, what happen when you leave it? Curious researchers looked into it and found that such yo-yo dieting delivers alternate effects of your heart.
What Is Yo-Yo Dieting?
Yo-yo dieting is a term that is used to recognize the behavior of following a meal plan and leaving it after some time, only to follow it back again after some time. For example, you may follow a careful meal plan, bounce back to eating cheesecakes and chocolate chip cookies, and go back to following the meal plan.
This yo-yo dieting or yo-yo effect is a word by Kelly D. Brownell at the Yale University. Since you end up gaining and losing weight in a cycle, the yo-yo effect is also understood as weight cycling.
How Does It Affect Heart Health?
The research was led by Prof. Wayne Campbell, of Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, and the findings are published in the journal Nutrients. The investigators asked the participants to follow two eating patterns each.
One group followed the Mediterranean style of eating to increase their intake of healthy fats. On the other hand, the other group followed the dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH) diet. The aim was to regulating sodium intake.
Both the eating patterns boasted a high content of vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. The participants were asked to follow the meal pattern for 5-6 weeks. After the period, scientists assessed their cardiovascular health.
They took a broad array of measurements including the fat, insulin, and glucose levels and the blood pressure as well. After the measurements, the participants were asked to revert back to their standard eating patterns for a duration of 4 weeks.
Once the readings were taken after the end of 4 weeks, the participants were asked to switch back to the Mediterranean or DASH diet for another round of 5-6 weeks. This was followed by a final checkup of the cardiovascular parameters.
The researchers learned that a few weeks of healthy eating improved the measurements of cardiovascular health markers. However, these markers dropped as soon as the participants returned to their diet and stop following the meal plan.
Take Home Message
In simple words, this study learned that long-term healthy eating can improve your heart health. However, if you terminate the eating plan, then the improved health can go back to its original state.
What’s clear from this is that you need to seriously pursue a healthy meal plan. Ditching it will not do any good to your heart health.