Consequences of Dieting to Lose Weight: Effects on Physical and Mental Health

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230 Scopus citations


Concern has been raised that negative physiological and psychological effects of dieting may outweigh aesthetic and health benefits. This review of the literature concludes the following: (a) The measurement of dieting is an important unresolved issue; (b) current dieting, chronic dieting, desire to lose weight, specific weight control behaviors, and weight changes may have different effects on health and need to be distinguished; (c) dieting is usually not associated with nutritional deficiencies, adverse physiologic adaptations, severe psychological reactions, or the development of eating disorders; and (d) recommendations against weight loss efforts involving moderate changes in eating and exercise habits are not warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-212
Number of pages18
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1994


  • dieting
  • eating disorders
  • weight cycling
  • weight loss

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