Dieting: A Cause of Weight Gain?

Published:August 19th, 2011

“Oh, come on!” This is what you might probably say. You diet in order to lose weight, not the other way around. However, according to a twin study conducted by a group of researchers from University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland and published by the August 2011 issue of the International Journal of Obesity, dieting can induce subsequent increase in weight.

In this particular study, the researchers investigated whether paradoxical weight increase exists with dieting and whether it is directly related to genetic tendency to weight gain. They have recruited 4129 twins to undergo this study. Their weight and height were recorded at 16, 17, 18, and 25 years of age. Their episodes of intentional weight loss of more than 5 kilograms were also noted during the process.

The researchers discovered that intentional weight loss truly predicted the acceleration of weight gain and therefore, they considered it as a risk for getting overweight. In fact, they have noted that the odds to become overweight by age 25 are significantly greater in those subjects who had intentional weight loss compared to those who never attempt to do so. Furthermore, they have also discovered that co-twins who had intentional weight loss gained more weight compared to those twins who never attempt to lose weight through dieting.

Because of this finding, the researchers concluded that intentional weight loss through dieting reflects to potential weight regain after the losing weight. Dieters who restrain themselves are prone to more weight gain in the future. Furthermore, they have concluded that weight gain is independent from the effects of the genes.


International Journal of Obesity; Does dieting make you fat? A Twin Study; Pietiläinen, K.H. et al.; August 2011

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