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Gene for yo-yo dieting

Avoiding the yo-yo effect – that is, gaining weight again after slimming down – is not only a matter of will but of heredity as well. Dr Ping Wang of the Nutrim research institute has identified a gene involved in regulating blood pressure that predicts whether women are prone to yo-yo dieting. The findings were published on Monday in the online scientific journal PLoS ONE.

The research team from the Department of Human Biology does not yet have an explanation for this outcome. But they believe that it could lead to a test to determine an individual’s risk for the yo-yo effect, and have therefore applied for a patent. Such a test could lead to better support for women at high risk for yo-yo dieting. Various studies show that up to eighty percent of people who lose weight put it back on again within a year.

It was one year ago that the Maastricht human biologists discovered how fat cells behave in the course of yo-yo dieting. According to Professor Edwin Mariman, these cells experience stress after slimming down and are anxious to get rid of it by storing new fat.


Maurice Timmermans



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