London, May 1 : Planning on losing weight, therefore, gearing yourself up for some crash dieting? Stop right there and first mull over this - binge eating and crash dieting may significantly reduce life expectancy.
Researchers from Glasgow University observed that fish given a "binge then diet" food regime had a reduced lifespan of up to 25 percent.
Their study compared the growth rate, success of reproduction and lifespan of stickleback fish.
They believe the findings could have implications for teenagers and children who follow extreme patterns of dieting.
This is because they are still growing.
"The fish on the fluctuating diet put just as much effort into breeding - the males became brightly coloured as usual and the females produced the normal number of eggs," the BBC quoted Professor Neil Metcalf, as saying.
"However, on average their lifespan was three-quarters that of animals eating a constant amount every day," Metcalf said.
The research found that the difference in lifespan was not a consequence of more rapid ageing but an increase in the risk of sudden death.
Professor Metcalfe added: "It seems that uneven growth, due to the fluctuation in the amount eaten per day, is responsible for the increase in the risk of sudden death.
"This is possibly because the body tissues are more likely to have imperfections due to growth spurts."
Similar results would most likely be seen in other animals with short lifespans that grow throughout their lives, said Prof Metcalfe.
Prof Metcalfe added: "Applying this to humans, it would only occur in children and teenagers. But it would be for extreme switches in diet. Just skipping lunches would not have any effect, but if they had several weeks of one diet followed by several weeks of the extreme opposite, then there could be an effect."
The study is published in the journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society B.