Dieting: proxy or cause of future weight gain?Obes Rev. 2015 Feb; 16 Suppl 1:19-24.OR
The relationship between dieting and body mass has a long and controversial history. This paper aims to help resolve this issue by making two key distinctions. The first is between dieting as a cause of weight gain/regain and as a proxy risk factor for identifying non-obese individuals prone to weight gain for reasons other than dieting. The second is between the body mass that is attained following one or more weight loss/regain cycles and the body mass that might have been reached had dieting never been undertaken. Evidence is reviewed on the relation between recent diet-induced weight loss and sustained weight loss (weight suppression), on the one hand, and weight regain, on the other hand. Furthermore, the reason that a history of dieting in non-obese individuals reflects a susceptibility to future weight gain is explained. It is concluded that (i) diet-induced weight loss hastens weight regain but a history of weight loss diets does not cause weight gain beyond that which would occur in the absence of dieting, and (ii) weight loss dieting in non-obese individuals does not cause future weight gain but is simply a proxy risk factor reflecting a personal vulnerability to weight gain and living in an obesogenic environment.