Alert
Close

Join the Drive to End Hunger! Watch the NASCAR race on Sunday at Kansas Speedway.

Highlights

Open

SEARCH RECIPES

Enter an ingredient, course or keyword and get cooking!

 

 

FREE FUN!

AARP Games - Play Now!
AARP Auto Buying Program

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

most popular
articles

Viewed

Nothing has been viewed

Does Yo-Yo Dieting Make Losing Weight More Difficult?

Myth: Yo-yo dieting ruins your metabolism and makes losing weight more difficult.

Facts: Going on and off diets does not affect your metabolism, says Nancy Snyderman, M.D., chief medical editor for NBC News.

“The human body is smarter than we are,” she says, “and is always adjusting its metabolic rate—the rate at which it burns calories.” When a person on a diet eats less, the body thinks it’s starving and drops the metabolic rate to save calories and conserve energy, says Snyderman, whose new book Diet Myths That Make Us Fat comes out in May. When dieting stops, the metabolic rate goes back up.

Robert Jeffery, director of the University of Minnesota’s Obesity Prevention Center, agrees. One’s metabolism—the amount of energy one needs each day—is a matter of muscle, he explains. All body tissue requires energy to keep going and muscle tissue requires more energy than fat tissue. The more muscle a person has, the higher the metabolic rate. As a person ages, the body tends to lose more lean muscle mass, Jeffery says, and its metabolic rate decreases as well.

Dieters, take heart: “Even if you’ve lost and regained weight countless times, don’t give up,” Snyderman writes in Diet Myths. “Yo-yo diets don’t hurt you; they just don’t get you anywhere.” The main side effect from going on and off diets is stretched skin, which tends to further frustrate the dieter, she adds.

How do you rev up your metabolism—and keep it stable? Weight training, says Jeffery, because it helps maintain muscle mass.

“The best way to keep up your metabolic rate while dieting is to throw in some exercise” so the body knows it needs to burn energy, Snyderman adds. “If we just reduce portion size and increase exercise, the weight comes off.”


Rebecca Kern is a writer based in Washington, D.C.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Denny's Ranchero Tilapia

Members save 15% all day, every day when dining at participating Denny's restaurants.

Dunkin Donuts

Members get a FREE Donut with purchase of a L or XL beverage at Dunkin' Donuts.

Woman holding smartphone in city, Google map tool

Members can locate discounts via the AARP® Member Advantages Offer Finder mobile app.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points