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Frequent Dieting Causes Weight Gain; How To Rely On Intuitive Eating Instead?

Update Date: Nov 29, 2016 09:40 AM EST
Fat Tax Could Improve Healthy Living
In this photo illustration a lady eats a beefburger on July 12, 2007 in London, England. Government advisors are considering plans for a fat tax on foods high in fat to try to help tackle the fight against obesity. (Photo : Cate Gillon/Getty Images)

Frequent dieting can cause weight gain due to the body's switch to survival mode as witnessed by researchers on lab mice. The best way to lose weight is to practice intuitive eating, which is a response to hunger and satiety cues of the body.

Frequent dieting where people lose weight, only to regain weight, calling for more dieting is what researchers call as the "yo-yo" diet. Many people fail when practicing yo-yo diets, which is often associated with a mental and emotional failure, when in fact, it can be blamed to certain bodily processes occurring in the gut.

A group of Israeli researchers mimicked yo-yo dieting on lab mice by feeding them with big portions of high-fat meals, then replacing these with lighter, normal meals before going back to the larger servings. The data was then compared to those lab mice which were given a steady diet of normal meals and even high-fat ones.

The lab mice which were alternately fed with big and small meals have significantly exhibited weight gain as compared to mice on a steady diet of high-fat meals. The root cause lies on an often neglected organ, the microbiome, which is as heavy as the liver and can be found in the lower intestines.

The microbiome has an ecosystem of its own where microbes abound in numbers more than our cells and home to hundred-fold genes and enzymes, responsible for digesting food and regulating metabolism as reported in IFL Science. When a person frequently diets, changes in microbes take effect like under-producing polyphenols in the gut.

Moreover, there is less diversity of microbes in the gut, which is linked to cases of obesity and metabolic problems. Polyphenol is derived from plant-based foods and to replace these in the lab mice, researchers resort to giving antibiotics, a treatment that is not practical or viable for humans.

Clearly, the study suggests that a diet of fruits and vegetables including legumes and nuts are the most ideal for a healthy gut. However, medical practitioners are wary of restrictive calorie-based diets, which promote weight gain rather than reduction.

Intuitive eating is the best recourse with its three main principles, which allow the body to eat when cravings arise, to eat for physical reasons, not emotional ones, and more importantly, to listen to the body's hunger and satiety cues as reported in the official website of the Intuitive Eating organization.

The organization believes that a healthy weight loss can be achieved by attuning the mind to the body's needs rather than resorting to frequent dieting, which has been proven as counter-productive.

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