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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2018 Nov;26(11):1733-1739. doi: 10.1002/oby.22290.

Weight Cycling Increases Longevity Compared with Sustained Obesity in Mice.

Author information

1
Department of Nutrition Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA.
2
Nutrition Obesity Research Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA.
3
Diabetes Research Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA.
4
Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA.
5
Department of Biostatistics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA.
6
Department of Medicine, New York Obesity-Nutrition Research Center, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA.
7
Division of Molecular Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, New York Obesity-Nutrition Research Center, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA.
8
Department of Statistics and Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA.
9
Office of Energetics, School of Health Professions, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Despite the known health benefits of weight loss among persons with obesity, observational studies have reported that cycles of weight loss and regain, or weight cycling, are associated with increased mortality. To study whether weight loss must be sustained to achieve health and longevity benefits, we performed a randomized controlled feeding study of weight cycling in mice.

METHODS:

In early adult life, obese mice were randomized to ad libitum feeding to sustain obesity, calorie restriction to achieve a "normal" or intermediate body weight, or weight cycling (repeated episodes of calorie restriction and ad libitum refeeding). Body weight, body composition, and food intake were followed longitudinally until death. A subsample of mice was collected from each group for determination of adipose cell size, serum analytes, and gene expression.

RESULTS:

Weight loss significantly reduced adipose mass and adipocyte size in both sexes, whereas weight cycling animals regained body fat and cell size during refeeding. Sustained weight loss resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in mortality compared with ad libitum feeding.

CONCLUSIONS:

Weight cycling significantly increased life-span relative to remaining with obesity and had a similar benefit to sustained modest weight loss.

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