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STUDY WARNS HARSH DIETS BY GIRLS CAN BE FATTENING

Adolescent girls who are depressed or try radical dieting such as vomiting are more likely to become obese than those who eat high-fat foods or sometimes gorge themselves, a four-year study suggests.

Researchers said harsh weight-control methods -- including skipping meals and using laxatives -- can promote weight gain more than weight loss.

"A lot of these behaviors that adolescent girls are turning to are not effective in controlling obesity," said Eric Stice, research professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin.

One expert not involved in the study said the results were not surprising.

"We know that rigid dieting actually leads to one overeating or a change in metabolism," said Lisa Dorfman, a dietitian and psychotherapist who is a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "Your body slows down because it doesn't know when the next normal meal will come. Having a piece of cake is healthier than dieting for a week and having a (whole) cake."

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