A 2008 Scottish study shows that binge eating and crash dieting may result in reduced life expectancy.
Researchers from the University of Glasgow have shown that binge eating followed by crash dieting is dangerous and could mean a reduced lifespan.
As part of the study, the researchers gave a group of stickleback fish a strict "binge then diet" food regime. After closely monitoring the fish, they found those who followed the crash diet significantly reduced their lifespan by 25 percent.
Scientists say the diet had a bigger impact on the fish that were still growing. There are fears the findings could have implications for children and teenagers who follow extreme diets and eating patterns.
The study showed that, on average, the lifespan of the fish was three-quarters that of animals eating a constant amount every day and that the reduced lifespan was a result of sudden death. Professor Neil Metcalfe said this was because the fish that were eating sporadically were growing unevenly.
So fish can't crash diet, but what about humans? Professor Matcalfe says the same goes for anyone who follows extreme dieting patterns, particularly children and teenagers who are still growing.
Occasionally skipping breakfast or working through lunch doesn't count, but Professor Metcalfe warns: "If they had several weeks of one diet followed by several weeks of the extreme opposite, then there could be an effect."