How to Stop the Lose-Gain Weight Cycle
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How to Stop the Lose-Gain Weight Cycle

In their own way, classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma and feminist hip-hop innovator Yoyo make inspiring, gut-grabbing music. That’s a lot more than can be said for yo-yo dieting! Although it grabs your guts—and stirs up the trillions of bacteria living there—it’s more likely to make heart-stopping deposits of fat around your waistline,  so you repeatedly regain weight you’ve fought so hard to shed.

A study, presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology, found when you’re obese and lose weight on a very-low-calorie diet, your gut bacteria become more diverse. That richer stew of microbes helps control blood sugar levels, cranks up your metabolism and fuels weight loss. But when you switch back to a weight-loss maintenance diet and your body is processing more daily calories, your gut biome reverts to its former, less-diverse state, like when you were obese! Ironically, obese peoples’ gut biome is better at turning food into fuel than normal weight folks’—so much so, that an obese person ends up with lots of excess fuel that’s stored as fat.

How can you keep off weight you’ve lost? Encourage diversity with a fiber-rich diet filled with veggies, fruit and 100 percent whole grains. Gobble up prebiotics like bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichokes and soybeans (they’re food for health-promoting gut bacteria). Then get probiotics from low-or nonfat yogurt and kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh and soy beverages. And consider taking a probiotic supplement: Dr. Mike uses a different brand of probiotic each day to promote that good-for-you diversity.