Study finds that weight loss may not improve mood
Advertisements for weight loss programs usually show cheery dieters delighted to be shedding their burden of excess pounds.
A new study finds that in the real world however, over time, weight loss may be linked with worsening mood.
UK researchers following about 2,000 overweight and obese adults over four years found that people who lost 5 per cent or more of their body weight had improved physical health but higher rates of depression.
The researchers didn't give instructions or advice to lose weight, but they recorded whether or not the participants said they intended to lose weight.
After four years, 14 per cent of the participants lost at least 5 per cent of their initial body weight.
Another 71 per cent had kept their weight stable, and 15 per cent had gained more than 5 per cent of their initial weight.
Weight loss group more likely to be depressed
Psychological wellbeing deteriorated in all three groups, but members of the group that lost weight were 80 percent more likely to be depressed than the people who maintained their weight.
The study doesn’t prove that losing weight caused depression, the authors note.
But Jane Wardle, the study’s senior author and a researcher at University College London, said she has some idea why weight loss might be connected with depression.
“In order to lose weight, a person has to eat less than they would like to, and possibly less than people around them, and losing out on the pleasure of food is bound to be hard, even if there are compensations in terms of dropping a dress size and improving your health,” she said.
“Maybe if we were more honest about the fact that it won’t necessarily make you feel good in the short-term, people would gear themselves up for the challenge,” Wardle added.