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Does dieting make you fat?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 March 2007

Andrew J. Hill*
Academic Unit of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Leeds, 15 Hyde Terrace, Leeds LS2 9LT, UK
*Corresponding author: Dr Andrew J. Hill, fax +44 113 243 3719, email
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Dieting Makes You Fat, the title of a 1980s book on weight control, is a popularised paradox, conveying a conclusion that is consistent with personal experience and the reported failure of most dietary approaches in the treatment of obesity. Few studies have been designed specifically to test this association. Yet there are prospective data showing that baseline dieting or dietary restraint increases the risk of weight gain, especially in women. Metabolic adaptations and the disinhibited eating of restrained eaters have been the most commonly cited explanations for such weight gain. Dietary restraint has also been implicated in the development and persistence of binge eating. The present paper critically evaluates the evidence supporting this paradox and reaches a rather different conclusion.

Research Article
Copyright © The Nutrition Society 2004


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