yo-yo dieting health risks

At some point you have probably tried to lose weight in your life and you may have experience with yo-yo dieting. It’s typical for many people to try different diets to find the right one for them.

While there’s nothing wrong with trying new diets to see what works best, you may begin to get sucked into a yo-yo diet cycle. By going on and off diet after diet you may be doing more harm than good to your body.

The number one downfall of yo-yo dieting is that you actually can gain weight compared picking one diet and staying with it or simply not dieting at all!

But the yo-yo dieting health risks are more than just the potential to gain weight!

What Is A Yo-Yo Diet?

Yo-yo dieting is when someone makes extreme changes to their diet or fitness routine. Instead of starting and stopping the same diet in the form of cheat days or breaks, individuals stuck in the yo yo diet cycle jump from one diet to another.

While there’s nothing wrong with trying to find the right diet for your lifestyle…. It becomes a yo yo diet cycle when you feel yourself not losing weight fast enough therefore you abandon your current diet for a new and better one.

You have also probably heard the term “crash diet.” While a crash dieting and a yo-yo dieting are similar they are not the same. Crash dieting involves going on a very short-term diet and simply “crashing.” These diet normally involve extreme calorie restrictions and even only eating specific foods.

An “all juice detox diet” is a perfect example of what a crash diet is.

Although crash diets are bad for your health and don’t promote lasting weight loss, the yo-yo diet health risks may be greater!

Yo-yo dieting is commonly seen with different diet trends, such as trying low calorie, then Slimfast, then Paleo, then back to Slimfast. This same cycle is basically on repeat from on diet to another.

yo-yo dieting health risks

Yo-Yo Dieting Health Risks

It’s Worse Than Not Dieting At All

Yes, it’s true! You might think that if you’re bouncing between different diet plans, at least you’re losing or maintaining your weight.

Underneath the surface, you may be doing more damage to your body and mental health than if you never changed your dieting habits to begin with.

When you go from one diet to the next you’re doing a number on your metabolism. Your metabolism is smart, but it can’t handle constantly restricting calories too severely because your metabolism will begin to slow down. This is often referred to “starvation mode.”

Instead of using the bathroom twice or even once a day, your metabolism becomes sluggish and slows down leading to constipation for possible days at a time.

If your yo-yo dieting includes adjusting your macros frequently, then over-eating or binge eating over and over again, your metabolism will likely slow down more and your appetite to go up due to binge eating in between.

With your metabolism becoming sluggish and going between different diets, your weight may begin “yo-yo” up and down.

According to Healthline, studies have shown that those who bounce between diet to diet regain body fat percentage more quickly.

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You Get Stuck in the Fad Diet Loop

Sometimes individuals can be caught up in the latest dieting trend.  Since losing weight is one of the top priorities for many people who are always looking for new, inventive, and easy ways to lose weight.

I hate to break the news to you, but losing weight is hard work!  There’s no one single diet where the pounds magically melt away.  While some diets may help you lose weight at first, it does take commitment and hard work to continue on the same diet and make real lifestyle changes to keep the weight off.

Yo Yo Dieting Can Trigger Overeating

One of the worst yo-yo dieting health risks comes in the form of triggering overeating.  Since many diets require a drastic change in calorie reduction.  Because of this drastic change to your diet and eliminating (unhealthy) foods you’re use to eating, it may actually trigger overeating.

If you’re used to eating 2,000 or more calories a day, jumping to 1,200 calories a day overnight for at least a week can cause you to crave many foods you’re used to eating.  Making a jump from juicy cheese burgers to whole gains and salad is not easy and takes a lot of will power to not want to overeat your favorite foods when given the chance.

While most diet plans (and many people) will always blame the individual or “dieter” for their lack of will power when they “break” their diet or overeat, overeating is not all your fault!  We all need to take a break sometimes from dieting, but many diets only set you up to fail at because they are too restrictive (especially at the beginning of the diet).

You May Be Missing Important Nutrients

In order to maintain optimum health, your body needs all of the required nutrients. When eating a restrictive diet, yo-yo dieting, you’ll may be missing out on some key vitamins and minerals.

Although the Keto diet is backed by science and has been proven to promote weight loss, it does eliminate foods high in potassium like potatoes and bananas.  On Keto nutrients like potassium need to come from other food sources or even supplemented so you’re not missing this important nutrient.

Nutrient deficiencies not only weaken your immune system, but it can also lead to muscle loss. Plus, the likelihood of you having a nutritional deficiency increases the more you are on a particular diet and not supplementing.

yo-yo dieting health risks

4 Tips For Avoiding Yo-Yo Dieting Health Risks

If you find yourself getting caught up in wanting to trying a new dieting trends, try these tips:

Research the diet beforehand

Before you consider starting any type of weight loss method, do your research!  This will help you see through fad diets that are not backed by research or not recommended by doctors and dietitians.

Understand your individual needs

Just because your friend or relative had success with one diet method, does NOT mean that the same dieting method is right for you! What works for one person is not going to work for everyone.  It’s important to find a diet method that matches your lifestyle and needs.

Consider your preferences and food allergies

A common mistake many make is going from one diet to another without realizing all the diet itself incorporates. One of the most important aspects of finding the right diet for you is to look at what foods are allowed, what restrictions there are, and what you will be eating most days.

If you are lactose intolerant, then going on a low carb or keto diet may be difficult due to the diet calling for high amounts of fat that typically come for heavy cream, butter, and cheeses.

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The diet looks to restrictive

If you’re constantly stressing over counting every calorie, this is a sure sign the diet is too restrictive for you. Consider your personal happiness when starting a new diet.  Counting every calorie or macro can sometimes cause “dieting anxiety.”

Losing weight is hard enough.  If you find yourself stressing over the amount of calories you taking in each day, then the weight loss diet you’re trying is not worth your personal happiness.  While you want to lose weight, you also need to function through life without having anxiety or stress from food you eat.

No diet is worth your happiness and sanity!  You need to find a dieting method that is easy for you to follow and it should never be stressful.

Focus on balancing nutrients

One of the best ways to avoid a restrictive diet is by focusing on balancing nutrients. This will help you to eat a wide range of wholesome foods. Try to eat an increased amount of fruits, vegetables, and grains.

There is nothing wrong with treating yourself with your favorite treats, try to avoid consuming too many sugary snacks and high-fat dishes too many days of the week.  Unfortunately, those favorite sugary and fatty foods are delicious they are often devoid of essential vitamins and minerals you need to a balanced diet.

yo-yo dieting health risks


Yo-yo dieting health risks are more scary then people give it credit for.  It’s simply not healthy to bounce from diet to diet trying to find the quickest way to lose weight.  Frankly, there is no easy way to lose weight.

But be aware that being in a yo-yo dieting cycle is not necessarily your fault!

Many like to blame the individual of lack of willpower or even laziness for not sticking with a diet.  But what they fail to realize is that many diets out there are destined for people to fail.

Although a five-day juice cleanse sounds wonderful for losing an extra five pounds, only juicing with no tangible food is not sustainable and actually may deprive your body of certain nutrients you need like protein.

It’s not your fault those diets sound appealing and look like the “magic ticket” to weight loss.  They are suppose to look that way to consumers seeking dieting help.  Just remember though with so many different dieting plans out there you can get stuck unknowingly in a repeat cycle that creates yo-yo dieting health risks!

To help you break this yo-yo dieting cycle and find lasting weight loss, follow Fit Happy Healthy Mom for more successful dieting tips, fitness workouts, and a healthy relationship with food!

Works Cited

Yo-Yo Dieting: Tips to Stop and Why It’s Dangerous (insider.com)