From TheFamilyGP.com Featuring Dr Chris Steele MBE

Food bingeing affects weight years later

Makes it more difficult to lose weight

A moment on the lips really can mean a year on the hips, scientists say.

A short period of binge eating can have long term effects on body weight and fat storage even after the initial weight gained is lost, a study has found.

Volunteers who increased their calorie intake by 70 per cent and stopped exercising for four weeks were found to be heavier that expected more than two years later, despite losing the initial weight gained.

In the study, eighteen volunteers gained an average of 14 lb through overeating and lack of exercise, compared with another group who ate and exercised as normal.

Most of the people who increased their weight had shed the pounds six months later. However, after a year the binge eating group showed an increased fat mass of 3.3 lb compared with the healthy eating group. After two and a half years the difference was even greater.

The researchers say the findings suggest that even a short period of excessive eating and lack of exercise can lead to changes to a person's physiology, making it harder for them to lose and keep off weight.

Asa Ernersson at Linkoping University in Sweden, who led the research, said: "The change of fat mass was larger than expected when compared to the controls.

"It suggests that even short-term behavioural changes may have prolonged effects on health."

The findings are published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism.

This article was published on Wed 25 August 2010