Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Eat Less, Lose More?

The idea that the less you eat, the more weight you’ll lose has been around a long time. So has the opposing starvation mode theory. In the early 2000s we in the weight loss industry used to talk a lot about starvation mode, the idea that eating too little slows down the metabolism, because the body feels starved by the calorie restriction. The theory was that less weight, not more, would be lost.

According to, the latest research suggests that with severe calorie restriction, weight loss is slowed, but not halted. While we may expect eating 500 fewer calories a day to result in a one pound weight loss per week, we cannot assume that a 1500 daily calorie reduction will mean three pounds lost. Researchers believe that the greater calorie restriction causes the body to become more metabolically efficient, needing fewer calories to perform basic body functions. So while weight loss continues, the rate is not as high. The good news is that they also find that this slower metabolic level is not permanent, once weight has stabilized.

It’s not necessary or even advisable to restrict calories to the point of chronic hunger in order to lose weight. Dramatic dietary restrictions are difficult to maintain and are typically associated with bouts of overeating, hampering weight loss efforts. To lose weight, strive for cutting 500 calories/day, and combine this with exercise most days of the week. There are lots of ways to accomplish this; the key thing is to make dietary and exercise choices you can live with for the long haul. Think of adopting a healthy lifestyle, not dieting.

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