I’ve lost 30 pounds in the past nine months by cutting calories and exercising. I worry that I’ll be gaining weight again like I did before. Does a Reverse Diet Work?
Congratulations on your weight loss! You should be proud of yourself!
Reverse dieting is the practice of gradually increasing calories after a weight loss diet. Your goal is to prevent weight gain. For example, a 25-year-old woman named Carol cut her caloric intake to 1200 calories a day to lose weight. This is a serious limitation as Carol is likely to burn at least 2000 calories a day. Over time, their reduction in calories leads to a slower metabolic rate in the body’s efforts to conserve energy.
On a reverse diet, Carol adds 50 to 100 calories each week until she reaches her weight maintenance calorie level. In this case, a reverse diet would take 8 to 16 weeks, provided it burns 2000 calories a day.
The theory is that increased intake provides more energy, less hunger and a faster metabolism. Metabolism is the rate at which your body converts food into energy, and we know that that rate slows as you age. As you add more calories you will definitely have more energy and feel less hungry. That part is obvious. However, there are no studies to suggest that an inverted diet increases metabolism or decreases weight.
Reverse dieting is also practiced when you hit a plateau on a weight loss plan. The theory is that adding more food will increase your metabolism, which will help you burn more calories and lose weight. This is known as the thermal effect of food, but it has little effect on metabolism. Studies are also lacking here.
Building muscle is the best way to increase your metabolism and you don’t have to bench press 300 pounds to do this. Any exercise will build muscle, and I always encourage people to choose an activity that they enjoy. That way, you’re more likely to continue like this.
Follow these strategies to increase your chances of staying lean:
1. Have breakfast every day. Breakfast whets the appetite for the rest of the day, so you overeat less often at other meals.
2. Exercise of course.
3. Keep a food log – write down everything you eat. This allows you to spot “slippery” areas, such as B. if you get too hungry between meals. In this case, you can have a high-calorie ready-made meal.
4. Weigh yourself once a week. Keep the overview.
5. Drink green tea. A meta-analysis found that drinking 3 cups of green tea can burn an additional 100 calories a day. The calorie burner in green tea is a compound known as epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG for short (1).
After all, the word “diet” comes from the Greek and means “a way of life”. Eating healthy is a lifestyle and a better way of life.
1. The Truth About Metabolism (April 2018) Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-metabolism
Leanne McCrate is an award-winning nutritionist based in Missouri. Their mission is to educate the public about informed, evidence-based nutrition. Do you have a nutrition question? Email to Deardietitian411@gmail.com.