The story at a glance
- For the study, the researchers divided 16 rats into two groups.
- One group was fed a normal amount throughout the study period while another underwent three cycles in which they received 60% of their normal daily food intake before three weeks of a normal diet .
- Both groups received ultrasound at the end of the study to assess the impact of diet on heart and kidney function.
Rapid weight loss diets and body weight fluctuations due to food insecurity may increase risk of heart disease later in life, new study finds
For the study, the researchers split 16 rats into two groups, feeding one group a normal amount throughout the study period while the second group underwent three cycles where they were fed 60% their normal daily food intake before three weeks of a normal diet. Both groups received ultrasound at the end of the study to assess the impact of diet on heart and kidney function.
“We found that animals going through multiple cycles of weight loss and body weight recovery showed reduced heart and kidney function at the end. They also had more insulin resistance, which may be a cause of diabetes,” study first author Aline MA de Souza said in a press release.
“Even though the animals appear to be healthy after ‘recovery’ from the diet, their hearts and metabolisms are not healthy,” de Souza added.
The researchers said their study raises questions about how food insecurity caused by a global pandemic might affect people later in life, but added that further research is needed to see if the impact of fluctuations weight and food insecurity is similar in men.
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“Our data supports the need for more research in people to find out whether people who follow very restrictive dieting cycles to lose weight are at higher risk of developing heart problems later in life,” de Souza said.
“We still need to do more studies in this area, but the results suggest that the more restrictive the diet, the worse the health outcomes may be,” de Souza continued. “Weight loss diets require careful attention to long-term health, especially if rapid weight loss is considered an option.”
The study will be presented in Philadelphia at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Society at the Experimental Biology 2022 meeting.
Food-insecure people could contact the USDA-run Hunger Hotline to find local resources, including catering sites and food banks.
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Published on April 01, 2022