Study Reveals Cellulite is Worse After Dieting

Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

While scanning the global chatter, I came across this headline from the BBC:

So the bad news is that dieting doesn’t help with cellulite.  But the good news is that dieting doesn’t help with cellulite! 🙂

Researchers in the U.S. monitored 29 women who lost various amounts of weight through medically-supervised weight loss programs. Some of the women ate low-fat meal plans or liquid diets. Others lost weight by using obesity medications or surgery.  The average weight loss was 30.5 pounds, but results varied widely.

The study was conducted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and published in the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Out of the 29 participants, 17 women saw an improvement in their cellulite while 9 women found their cellulite worsened with the weight loss.

Women who started out with a lower Body Mass Index and who lost less weight overall were the same ones who saw their cellulite increase.

Researchers said the elasticity of the skin was another major factor, since cellulite became worse in women whose skin was significantly looser after the weight loss.

What do you think of the study?

Even though this study was published in a respected, peer-reviewed journal, I’m not convinced it tells us much about the effects of weight loss on the appearance of cellulite.

A sample group of 29 women seems surprisingly meager.  On top of that, there are too many variables for such a small test group. The women started out at different levels of being overweight and they used a wide variety of techniques to shed the excess pounds.

Yet, the study is worth noting because it documents the reality that losing fat does not equal losing cellulite. There’s something else going on here.

Also, I really like the very last line in the BBC article:

Douglas McGeorge, president-elect of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said: “Cellulite is simply part of life. There is simply no cure for it yet.”

Actually, I just like the last word.  That little three-letter word makes all the difference.

What do you think, my fellow cellulite sleuths. Does this study add valuable intel to our case?

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Comments

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Matt Stone says:
2/25/2010

What isn't worse after dieting?

I do suspect that losing body fat, as long as you lose absolutely no lean body mass (skeletal and visceral muscle) and maintain your metabolic rate – does not have the same impact as traditional "calorie restriction."

But achieving such a metabolic feat is no easy task.

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Elizabeth Walling says:
2/25/2010

I absolutely agree with this study in terms of my personal results. Dieting for several years on and off is what gave my cellulite, in my opinion. I had more cellulite when I was dieting and over-exercising than I do know that my diet is rich in real foods (especially saturated fats) and my exercise plan is sensible.

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Manuela says:
8/5/2012

Elizabeth; I find your response interesting! I have always been a active thin girl! I go through stages in my life where I over do excersise and eliminate things in my diet. But I notice that my cellulite never changes and looks rse at times. So I am now up my good fat and less cardio! Can you tell me more about your experience. Look. Forward in hearing from you!

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Raine Saunders says:
2/25/2010

Hi Melissa – I just received a comment from Laurie on my site, and she was mentioning your web site to me…and it reminded me that not only do I love your resource and appreciate its presence immensely, but that also I wanted to add it to my list of links I would recommend to others on my site. Thanks so much for keeping up this fantastic body of research and making it available to others. I hope what you are doing helps many who are lost in the world of doctors, processed foods, drugs, and quick fixes! Cheers!

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You're right, Matt. The type of weight that was lost is another factor in this study. Did the participants lose muscle mass or body fat? If they lost fat, where was it located? BTW, I passed your website along to my brother and he is trying your High Everything Diet. We're both eager to see how it works out for him.

Yay, Elizabeth! I'm always excited when I hear stories about women having less cellulite than they used to.

Thanks, Raine! I so appreciate your support. Isn't Laurie a doll!

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karen@fitnessjourney says:
2/25/2010

I would be curious to know the results of a similar study where the participants were also being put on an exercise plan as well. It seems to me that the results would be optimal with a sound diet and a fitness regime combined.

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Exercise –yes, that's yet another factor!

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sheila says:
2/25/2010

I would imagine that after losing a lot of weight you would definitely not lose cellulite…mostly because people who lose a lot of weight sometimes have that excess flabby skin. I would think it would be relatively the same. But what do I know? lol.

I would think that yoga and stretching would do wonders for cellulite if you targeted the right areas. I may give that a try. Mainly I've just been focused on flexibility and my inner self type stuff. 🙂

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Sheila –that's one of the more interesting points of the study. The women whose cellulite worsened were the ones that lost the least amount of weight.

Be sure to let us know how the yoga/stretching works if you do end up targeting the cellulite. I've been reading great things about using yoga to treat the lymphatic system. I need to get a few posts going about that.

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Elizabeth Walling says:
2/25/2010

I love yoga. There is just something so relaxing about it, I just know it's doing something good for my body. I can't imagine it having anything but a positive effect on cellulite (though how much I'm not sure). Of course, I don't do nearly as much yoga as I should. 😉

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I love that yoga show on FitTV by Kate Potter, called Namaste Yoga. Have you seen it? I was hooked on it until I had to pack up my yoga mat and put all my earthly possessions into storage. Hopefully I'll be able to get back into the routine once I'm settled into the new house. I miss my yoga mornings!

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Elizabeth Walling says:
2/26/2010

No I haven't seen that one. (We actually don't watch traditional TV. Gasp! LOL) I just found some interesting yoga videos on Netflix instant watch and I want to try them soon. I've been using the same yoga routine for a while and I'm sure it could use some tweaking.

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Matt Stone says:
2/26/2010

The High everything Diet, particularly during the overfeeding stage is certainly not a quick fix for cellulite. Quite the contrary.

Whether it proves to have some beneficial impact on fatty acid metabolism and fat deposition long-term remains to be seen.

As for dieting, most diets cause loss of both fat and lean body mass. Anytime lean mass is lost, rebound is a virtual guarantee. No, exercise is not a way to preserve lean mass. If you preserve skeletal muscle you will lose more visceral muscle, which is far worse and will lead to even greater rebound.

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That's what I love about your site, Matt. You always find a way to turn an idea on its head, and help us see things in a different way.

Wouldn't it matter what kind of exercise we are talking about here? From our cellulite research so far, it seems yoga could be an ideal exercise for targeting cellulite because it exercises the lymphatic system. I always thought of exercise in terms of cardio or building muscle through weight training. Now that I know more about the lymphatic system (like the fact that we have twice as much lymph as blood and that lymphatic congestion plays a key role in the development of cellulite), it seems strange that we don't even make an effort to "exercise" it. I'm wondering if the eastern movement practices were developed with lymphatic circulation in mind, particularly since lymph circulates as an effect of movement combined with breath.

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Bronwyn Hewitt says:
7/30/2011

OK…so here’s the thing…

We all have fat cells. Cellulite is waste, toxins, additives, preservatives…rubbish that we (Our body) cannot eliminate – metabolic waste..

80% of our metatbolic waste is eliminated via our skin organ. This waste – cellulite – is sticky…this sticky substance can’t make it through our skin. Instead the cellulite sticks to your fat cells.

Now to my point.

Oops not yet….firstly you need to know this: When you lose weight you do not lose fat cells….your fat cells shrink!

OK now back to my point.

For the sake of creating a clear picture here indulge me just a little and imagine that your fat cell is the size of a pillow. And the cellulite is like slightly chewed piece of bubble gum which is stuck to the pillow. Imagine further a piece of satin fabric laid over the pillow and the gum. There is a slight bump where the gum is. Now the pillow gets smaller due to diet et cetera. The pillow is now the size of a small pin cushion. But that pice of bubble gum is still there, same size, still hanging on and now is much bigger in comparison to the fat cell and more noticable under the satin.

So weight loss does not affect cellulite nor increase it. But more cellulite is revealed when fat cells decrease in size.

Often women lose a lot of weight and are so proud of themselves only to find that they now have cellulite. This can be a very difficult and depressing time for a woman and if this happens to you or anyone you know, you need to take extra care and give more suppport. Then you need to embark on a cellulite treatment that works!

Cheers Broni 🙂

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Great visual description, Bron! That makes a lot of sense. Thanks for your contribution to the case on cellulite. 🙂

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L. McDonald says:
9/8/2011

I have never been much overweight but because of a chronic health problem and set backs, I was semi invalid for about 3 months and gained weight around my middle mostly and some, but not much on thighs,buttocks and noticed cellulite I didnt have before…but just attributed it to extra body fat. I have been able to walk and do stretches the last two months and lost 10 pounds. the cellulite on my buttocks now appears worse than ever…it is not a mild case. I am not one to exagerate, I have delt with health problems my whole life and do not expect anything near perfection. I am not a heavy eater and eat organic as much as possible and puree most of my foods because of the health issue. low sugar salt and fat.

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Sorry to hear about your ordeal, L. That must be so difficult for you. One of the theories we’ve uncovered here at The Cellulite Investigation is that naturally saturated fats like extra virgin coconut oil, butter from grass-fed cows, etc. is especially good for cellulite. Please check out our collection of Cellulite Success Stories which includes several accounts from women who lost their cellulite when they added these fats into their diet.

Betcha didn’t think I was going to suggest eating more fat, did ya!

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