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Yo-yo effect

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A toy yo-yo
The Yo-yo effect means people rapidly gaining weight after a diet. Other words for this activity are yo-yo dieting or weight cycling. People's weight can move down and back up like a yo-yo when they follow several diets one after another. A person's weight after the diet is often higher than it was before dieting.


The body needs less energy after losing weight on a diet. People have less fatty tissue and often less muscle after dieting. Muscle tissue needs more energy than fatty tissue. Reducing the amount of muscle tissue therefore reduces the need for energy. Diets also limit the number of calories people take in. At some point, a dieter's body will change the way it uses energy if there are less calories to burn. The body does this to make sure it survives when less food is available. These changes in the body cause people to gain weight rapidly when they stop dieting and return to their old eating habits.

Avoiding the yo-yo effect

People can avoid the yo-yo effect by changing their diet. If a diet works without the body switching to a more efficient way of using calories, there will be no yo-yo effect. A diet should change the dieter's eating habits for a long time. New eating habits should not give the body more energy than it needs. At the end of the diet, it also makes sense to raise the number of calories someone eats slowly. Exercise and sports can increase the amount of calories burned by the body rather than turned into fat.