Health: Yo-Yo Diets Hit Immune System

Society | June 4, 2004, Friday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0

Women who repeatedly lose weight only to put it back on again could be damaging their immune systems, according to a study.

Doctors in the US questioned 114 women who were overweight but were otherwise healthy. They found that those who said they had a history of so-called "yo-yo" dieting had weaker immune systems.

Doctors took blood samples from each of the women who took part in the study. They measured levels of their natural killer cells. These white blood cells are the backbone of the immune system, helping to kill viruses and protect against cancer.

The doctors found that women who had been the same weight over several years had higher levels of these cells. Those who had gone on yo-yo diets had much lower levels. For instance, those who reported losing weight more than five times had about a third fewer natural killer cells.

The doctors said further research is needed to confirm these findings.
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