Easy access to technology and information now gives people the privilege to look up information regarding any sphere of life. In comparison with a decade ago, you now have much quicker access to knowledge. Gone are the days where you needed to consult specialists or go through books to find a solution to your problem.
With the advent and popularity of the internet and more specifically social media, you are just one minute away to learning a new course or know about what is going on around the globe.
In a similar way, you can use these facilities to live a more healthy and balanced life. You will merely need an hour or two to go through various diets and select one that fits your fitness routine. This is how many of the common diets such as Mediterranean diet became popular.
Consequently, people can become healthy by following these diets and cut down the risk of conditions such as cardiovascular diseases. However, you may also cheat on your diet occasionally or go on a whole-unhealthy food binge. Ever wondered what does this do to your health?
Fluctuating between diets can have varying effects on your health. New research aims to answer this very question of whether fluctuation reduces the benefits of dieting. A team led by Prof. Wayne Campbell, of Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN published their findings on this subject in the journal Nutrients.
How Was the Study Conducted?
For the purpose of looking at the effects of on and off dieting, the researchers used data from two previous studies. The two studies were also carried out by the same team conducting the new one.
The participants of these studies took up one of the following diets:
- Dietary Interventions To Stop Hypertension (DASH Diet)
- Mediterranean diet
One of the researchers explains both of these diets in the words “Our DASH-style eating pattern focused on controlling sodium intake, while our Mediterranean-style focused on increasing healthy fats. Both eating patterns were rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.”
Both these diets were followed by the participants for a period of 5-6 weeks. After this time, the researchers noted their cardiovascular health by looking at various factors. Some of them were glucose, levels of fat, insulin sensitivity, and blood pressure.
After this assessment, the participants had their previous, standard diets for around 4 weeks. Then, they had another 5 weeks of the Mediterranean or DASH diets. After this, the researchers had their final observation.
What Did The Study Show?
The results after the initial observation were as expected by the researchers. Since both of the diets were known to boost the health of the heart, the related factors such as blood pressure were improved.
However, once the participants returned to the standard diet, these improvements faded with time. This discovery can be taken either in a negative way or a positive way.
The good news is that if you leave your strict diet and go on a food-binge, you can always restart and get your health back. On the other hand, the bad news is that the results start going away after a few weeks of staying away from a strict diet.
For this study, the researchers noted no side effects. But more research is required to see whether fluctuating diet can have long-term effects on the health. Conclusively, Prof. Campbell says “The best option is to keep the healthy pattern going, but if you slip up, try again.”