May 18, 2009

It is sad, but many of us practice and even take pleasure of extremes in our eating behavior. One day we feel an urge to start fighting with extra pounds and start starving. The other day we get bored of dieting and can not combat our calls to eat some cheesecake or fries. Or, our usual worries and stresses increase our cravings for chocolate and sugar. Therefore, after severe dieting many women go into a week or two of a real overeating. Such patterns are actually quite close to eating disorders, and if you want to prevent possible serious health problems, it is absolutely necessary to keep this tendency under control

Moreover, according to a recent research of the specialists from the faculty of biomedical and life sciences at Glasgow University, extreme reductions in eating followed by extreme overeating can substantially reduce our lifespan and lead to premature death. A group of Scottish scientists leaded by Professor Neil Metcalfe observed the behavior of stickleback fish in the conditions of “starving then overeating” regime, and then analyzed a number of indexes, including the growth rate and the lifespan. As a result, it turned out that the lifespan of the fish which were put under extreme patterns of eating, reduced up to 25%.

Also, the experiments demonstrated that the reduced lifespan in the fishes was caused not by more rapid aging but by a higher risk of premature death. It was found out that a severe undereating followed by binging causes uneven growth of the body tissues. That is why there is a high probability of developing body imperfections and ending up with a sudden death. The scientists are convinced that the findings of the study can imply on humans as well, especially on children and teenagers, who are growing. That is why a fluctuating diet is extremely dangerous for all young people.

However, there is no reason to panic for those women, who regularly try to reduce their weight by dieting but can not starve for too long and start eating their favorite meals right on the next day. Professor Metcalfe underlines that only extreme switches in diet can cause serious harm to our health. “Just skipping lunches would not have any effect, but if they had several weeks of one diet followed by several weeks of the extreme opposite, then there could be an effect.” The findings of the research were published in one of the latest issues of the Proceedings of the Royal Society.