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Yo-Yo Dieting Could Be Hurting Your Heart.

Repeatedly losing and regaining weight — a habit many women get into when they’re young — stays with you for the rest of your life. And if you’re a yo-yo dieter, you may be upping your risk of heart disease, even if you’re at your ideal weight.

Researchers at Brown University undertook a large study of 158,063 postmenopausal women, classifying their self-reported weight history into four categories: stable weight, steady gain, maintained weight loss, and weight cycling.

During a follow-up of 11.4 years, they found:

• Women considered “normal-weight” at the start of the study who lost and regained weight had about three and a half times higher risk for sudden cardiac death than women whose weight remained stable

• Weight cycling in the normal-weight women was associated with a 66 percent increased risk for coronary heart disease deaths

• No increase in either type of death occurred among overweight or obese women reporting weight cycling

• No increase in death occurred among women who reported that they gained weight but did not lose it or that they lost weight without gaining it back

As this study shows, it’s much better to lose weight slowly — and permanently — than to become a yo-yo dieter.