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Yo-Yo Dieting and Cancer

The suspicion that yo-yo dieting – repeated weight loss and regaining, also termed “weight cycling” – could be linked to cancer comes from a number of studies in both animals and humans. The results of those studies suggested that weight cycling might negatively affect key biological processes that protect and repair cells, which could lead to cancer. Now dieters concerned about this potential effect may be able to rest a bit easier. A newly published report has found no association between weight cycling and any type of cancer in men or women. A team of American Cancer Society researchers examined this issue by reviewing data from an investigation that lasted 17 years. They accumulated detailed dietary information on more than 132,000 men and women ages 50 to 74 who were participating in the Cancer Prevention Study II, which was focused on the effect of nutrition on cancer incidence and deaths. The researchers reviewed weight cycling and the incidence of cancer in general and for 15 individual cancers. Over the 17 years of the Cancer Prevention Study more than 25,000 participants did develop cancer, but based on the investigation’s findings lead researcher Victoria Stevens, Ph.D. said that the last thing people struggling to lose weight need worry about is that regaining might lead to cancer. Yo-yo dieting may not be the threat we thought it was.