Dieting leaves some people ‘feeling depressed’

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Dieting leaves some people ‘feeling depressed’
“It’s official; dieting does make us depressed,” laments the Mail Online, following the publication of a study on how losing weight affects a person’s mood.

A study of 1,979 overweight and obese people found that those who lost 5% of their bodyweight were nearly twice as likely to feel some symptoms of depression, compared with those who stayed a similar weight.

As expected, it found that losing weight reduced the risk of high blood pressure and lowered levels of fats in the blood, thereby benefiting their health.

However, people who lost weight over the course of the four-year study were 78% more likely to report feelings of being in a “depressed mood” compared with participants whose weight remained stable.

Despite the headlines, the study did not prove that weight loss caused a depressed mood, as the weight loss and the change in mood occurred over the same time period.

Further studies will be needed to establish whether weight loss can cause a depressed mood.

How participants lost weight was not reported, so we can’t tell if they followed any particular diet or physical activity regime that lowered their mood. As a result, the Daily Mail’s headline of  “Dieting DOES make us depressed – even though we’re healthier” is not justified, based on this study.

Overall, this study suggests that spontaneous weight loss is beneficial for people’s health, but the psychological effects are less clear – and potentially negative. These results may be worthy of further investigation.

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