Don’t advise overweight patients to diet more

Weight (Credit: Alan Cleaver/Flickr)Main Point:

Researchers have found that advising overweight people to eat less could paradoxically result in more weight gain.

Published in:

Primary Health Care

Study Further:

In the present study, researchers worked with 189 participants and have found that dieting could be a risk factor for excess weight and have recommended that overweight patients should be advised to act on all hunger cues, and “eat only and always when hungry”.

Researchers have noted that dieting and weight gain are possibly linked through a disruption of homeostasis, as less eating could result in increase in hunger hormones that could lead to rebound weight gain.

“Many dieters eventually end up weight cycling (yo-yo dieting) or overweight. This paradox may partly be explained by a chemical response to a disturbance in weight homeostasis, which happens when hunger cues are ignored as the result of dieting,” Researchers noted.

This research shows that healthcare professionals should warn patients against not only over-eating but also against under-eating.

“Overriding homeostatic cues may lead to physiological and behavioural overcompensation, nursing and public health education should caution against getting either too full or too hungry,” Researchers wrote.


Lauren Outland et al. (2013). Intuitive eating for a healthy weight Primary Health Care DOI: 10.7748/phc2013.

Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha is a sort of entrepreneur. He is the author of "Color Atlas of Statistics", and the owner of an Android game "Faily Rocket."