Dieting may eventually lead to more weight gain: Study

For all those dieting freaks who sacrifice part of their sumptuous diet thinking that the action will lead to shedding some extra flab off their bodies, the findings of a new study may come as a surprise.

A new study, carried out by researchers at the Oregon Research Institute, established that an individual who diets and avoids high calorie food to lose weight is more likely to overindulge in eating once the weight loss target has been achieved.

Universally Applicable
The findings are universally applicable, claim the study researchers. The 5:2 diet, wherein the dieter, by intent, consumes only 500 calories for two days and then eats a normal diet for the rest of the week is no exception.

The study established that longer the tenure of dieting higher was the craving for high calorie food, post the restricted period.

“The story is a familiar one: most people are able to lose weight while dieting but once the diet is over, the weight comes back,” Dr Eric Stice, lead author of the study said, highlighting the crux of the study.

For the purpose of the study, researchers examined two groups of dieting adolescents. With the help of brain imaging, the researchers measured the participant’s neural responses to consumption and anticipated consumption of a high-calorie tasty food as well as a calorie-free flavorless solution.

Dr Stice said of the study findings, “Elective caloric restriction increases the degree to which brain regions, implicated in reward valuation and attention, are activated by exposure to palatable foods.

The Learning
The study unequivocally suggests that controlling food intake enhances the reward value of food, particularly high-calorie, mouth-watering food.

If people manage to do well at caloric-restriction dieting, they find it difficult to maintain any semblance of restriction after losing the requisite weight.

“Abstaining from food intake for longer durations of time also increases the reward value of food, which may lead to poor food choices when the individual eventually does eat,” averred Dr Stice.

The upshot of the study is that an attempt to shed weight by skipping meals or fasting would not be as effective as an attempt to achieve the same objective by ingesting low energy, healthy foods.

The findings of the study find mention in journal NeuroImage