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Diet Myth News Flash: Eating Less Does Not Cause Fat Loss.

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I’m all about shattering diet myths.

For example, you may have already seen the news flash that snacking doesn’t actually increase your metabolism, despite the fact that most “diet experts” tell you to graze on several small meals per day to keep that metabolic fire stoked.

Today, I’ve got another diet myth news flash for you: eating less does not cause fat loss.

Yes, you heard me right. You’re about to find out why eating less does not cause fat loss – but first you should know that today’s diet myth comes straight from Jonathan Bailor, author of a brand new book that I highly recommend you check out: “The Calorie Myth: How To Eat More, Exercise Less, Lose Weight and Live Better“.

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Why You’re Losing Muscle, Not Fat.

Let’s begin with a quote:

“The reduction of energy intake continues to be the basis of…weight reduction programs…[The results] are known to be poor and not long-lasting.”

– George Bray, Pennington Biomedical Research Center

Eating less does not create the need to burn body fat. Instead, it creates the need for the body to slow down. Contrary to popular opinion, the body hangs on to body fat. Instead, it burns muscle tissue, and that worsens the underlying cause of obesity. Only as a last resort, if the body has no other option, it may also burn a bit of body fat.

Why does the body hang on to body fat and burn muscle? To answer that question, let’s look at it another way.

What does our metabolism want more of when it thinks we are starving? Stored energy.

What is a great source of stored energy? Body fat.

So when our metabolism thinks we are starving, does it want to get rid of or hold on to body fat? It wants to hold on.

Next, what does our metabolism want less of when we are starving? It wants less tissue (which burns a lot of calories). What type of tissue burns a lot of calories? Muscle tissue. So when our metabolism thinks we are starving, it gets rid of calorie-hungry muscle tissue. Studies show that up to 70% of the weight lost while eating less comes from burning muscle—not body fat!

Burning all this muscle means that starving ourselves leads to more body fat—not less—over the long term. As soon as we stop starving ourselves, we have all the calories we used to have but need less of them, thanks to all that missing muscle and our slowed-down metabolism. Now our metabolism sees eating a normal amount as overeating and creates new body fat.

In the Journal of the American Medical Association, researcher G.L. Thorpe tells us that eating less does not make us lose weight, “…by selective reduction of adipose deposits [body fat], but by wasting of all body tissues…therefore, any success obtained must be maintained by chronic under-nourishment.” It is not practical or healthy to keep ourselves “chronically under-nourished,” so we don’t. Instead, we yo-yo diet. And that is why eating less is not an effective long-term fat loss approach.

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The Bad Side Effects Of Food Deprivation

Imagine watching TV and seeing a commercial for a new medication. The ad tells you the medication slightly improves your vision as long as you keep yourself chronically sleep-deprived. At the end of the commercial, a quieter voice lists the medication’s long-term side effects. One of them is that your vision will become much worse if you ever go back to sleeping a normal amount.

Would you ever use that medication? Of course not. You cannot go through life tired. Its temporary benefit is not worth its long-term side effects.

Now imagine another commercial.

This one is for a mail-order weight-loss meal program that slightly reduces your weight as long as you keep yourself chronically food-deprived. At the end of the commercial a quieter voice goes though the program’s side effects. The side effects include making you much heavier if you ever go back to eating a normal amount.

Would you ever use that program? Of course not. You cannot go through life hungry. To escape the superstition of starvation, let’s dive deeper into the science of its side effects.

My favorite experiment showing the side effects of eating less took place at the University of Geneva and involved three groups of rats all eating the same quality of food.

Normal Group: Adult rats eating normally.

Eat Less Group: Adult rats temporarily losing weight by eating less.

Skinny Group: Young rats who naturally weighted about as much as the adult Eat Less group immediately after this group ate less.

If the study were conducted on humans, the Normal Group would be typical thirty-five-year-old women. The Eat Less Group would be thirty-five-year-old women cutting calories until they fit into their high school jeans. And the Skinny Group would be high school girls who fit into size four jeans without trying.

For the first ten days of the study, the Eat Less Group ate 50% less than usual while the Normal Group ate normally. On the tenth day:

The Skinny Group showed up and ate normally.

The Eat Less Group stopped starving themselves and started eating normally.

The Normal Group kept eating normally.

This went on for twenty-five days and the study ended on day thirty-five.

At the end of the thirty-five day study, the Normal Group had eaten normally for thirty-five days. The Eat Less Group had eaten less for ten days and then normally for twenty-five days. And the Skinny Group had eaten normally for twenty-five days.

Which group do you think weighed the most and had the highest body fat percentage at the end? The Skinny Group seems like an easy “no” since they are younger and naturally thinner than the other rats. Traditional fat loss theory would say the Eat Less Group is an easy “no” as well since they ate 50% less for ten days. So the Normal Group weighed the most and had the highest body fat percentage at the end of the study, right?

Nope.

The Eat Less Group weighed the most and had the highest percent body fat. Even though they ate less for ten days, they were significantly heavier than those who ate normally all the way through. Eating less led the rats to gain—not lose—body fat.

MacLean at the University of Colorado describes this general metabolic behavior: “[When we eat less] metabolic adjustments occur…[which] contribute to a large potential energy imbalance that, when the forcible control of energy intake is relieved…results in an exceptionally high rate of weight regain.”

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Super Accumulation of Fat

Talk about side effects. Eating less was worse than doing nothing.

Why?

After our metabolism is starved, its number one priority is restoring all the body fat it lost and then protecting us from starving in the future. Guess how it does that? By storing additional body fat. Researchers call this “fat super accumulation.” From researcher E.A. Young at the University of Texas: “These and other studies…strongly suggest that fat super accumulation…after energy restriction is a major factor contributing to relapsing obesity, so often observed in humans.”

The most disturbing aspect of fat super accumulation is that it does not require us to eat a lot. All we have to do is go back to eating a normal amount. The Eat Less Group in the study gained a massive amount of body fat quickly while eating the same amount as the Normal Group and the Skinny Group. The metabolism was trying to make up for the past losses.

There is another reason: eating less slowed the metabolism. Put the same quantity and quality of food and exercise into a slowed-down fat metabolism system, and out comes more body fat.

The University of Geneva researchers discovered that the Eat Less Group’s metabolisms were burning body fat over 500% less efficiently and had slowed down by 15% by the end of the study. They remarked: “These investigations provide direct evidence for the existence of a specific metabolic component that contributes to an elevated efficiency of energy utilization during refeeding after low food consumption,” or once eating less stops.

Starvation does not make us thin. It makes us stocky, sick, and sad. It’s bad for health and it’s bad for fat loss. Your body just doesn’t work that way. Eating less does not cause fat loss.

Want more myths shattered from author Jonathan Bailor? Be sure to check out his new book “The Calorie Myth: How To Eat More, Exercise Less, Lose Weight and Live Better“. You may also want to tune into my podcast with Jonathan entitled “Can Some Foods Cripple Your Body’s Ability To Burn Fat?” – or you can check out the episode where I was a guest on Jonathan’s podcast entitled “A Bit Of Biohacking“.

Questions, comments or feedback about how eating less does not cause fat loss? Leave your thoughts below!

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References

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Leibel RL, Rosenbaum M, Hirsch J. Changes in energy expenditure resulting from altered body weight. N Engl J Med. 1995 Mar 9;332(10):621-8. Erratum in: N Engl J Med 1995 Aug 10;333(6):399. PubMed PMID: 7632212.

Keys, Ancel. The Biology of Human Starvation: Volume I. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1950. Print.

Leibel RL, Hirsch J: Diminished energy requirements in reduced-obese patients. Metabolism 1984; 33:164-170

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Weigle DS, Sande KJ, Iverius PH, Monsen ER, Brunzell JD. Weight loss leads to  a marked decrease in nonresting energy expenditure in ambulatory human subjects.  Metabolism. 1988 Oct;37(10):930-6. PubMed PMID: 3173112.

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Poehlman ET, Mepoundy C. Resistance training and energy balance. Int J Sport Nutr. 1998 Jun;8(2):143-59. Review. PubMed PMID: 9637193.

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Muscle logic : escalating density training changes the rules for maximum-impact strength training / Charles Staley.

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Jen KL, Lu H, Savona L, Watkins A, Shaw M. Long-term weight cycling reduces body weight and fat free mass, but not fat mass in female Wistar rats. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1995 Oct;19(10):699-708. PubMed PMID: 8589763.

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MacLean PS, Higgins JA, Johnson GC, Fleming-Elder BK, Donahoo WT, Melanson EL, Hill JO. Enhanced metabolic efficiency contributes to weight regain after weight loss in obesity-prone rats. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2004 Dec;287(6):R1306-15. Epub 2004 Aug 26. PubMed PMID: 15331386.

Dulloo AG, Girardier L. Adaptive changes in energy expenditure during refeeding following low-calorie intake: evidence for a specific metabolic component favoring fat storage. Am J Clin Nutr. 1990 Sep;52(3):415-20. PubMed PMID: 2393003.

French SA Jeffery RW (1994) Consequences of dieting to lose weight: effects on physical and mental health Health Psychol 13 195 – 212

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Drapeau V Provencher V Lemieux S Despres J-P Bouchard C Tremblay A (2003) Do 6-y changes in eating behaviours predict changes in body weight? Results from the Quebec Family Study Int J Obes 27 808 – 814

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Young EA, Harris MM, Cantu TL, Ghidoni JJ, Crawley R. Hepatic response to a very-low-energy diet and refeeding in rats. Am J Clin Nutr. 1993 Jun;57(6):857-62. PubMed PMID: 8503353.

Dulloo AG, Jacquet J. Adaptive reduction in basal metabolic rate in response to food deprivation in humans: a role for feedback signals from fat stores. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 Sep;68(3):599-606. PubMed PMID: 9734736.

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Walks D, Lavau M, Presta E, Yang MU, Björntorp P. Refeeding after fasting in the rat: effects of dietary-induced obesity on energy balance regulation. Am J Clin Nutr. 1983 Mar;37(3):387-95. PubMed PMID: 6338694.

Dulloo AG, Girardier L. 24 hour energy expenditure several months after weight loss in the underfed rat: evidence for a chronic increase in whole-body metabolic efficiency. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1993 Feb;17(2):115-23. PubMed PMID: 8384165.

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Shah M, Miller DS, Geissler CA. Lower metabolic rates of post-obese versus lean women: Thermogenesis, basal metabolic rate and genetics. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1988 Sep;42(9):741-52. PubMed PMID: 3181107.

Weigle DS, Sande KJ, Iverius PH, Monsen ER, Brunzell JD. Weight loss leads to  a marked decrease in nonresting energy expenditure in ambulatory human subjects. Metabolism. 1988 Oct;37(10):930-6. PubMed PMID: 3173112.

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62 thoughts on “Diet Myth News Flash: Eating Less Does Not Cause Fat Loss.

  1. I lost weight successfully and kept it off by eating all I wanted of super-foods and doing without the baddies, namely processed foods, white flour and suga… and alcohol. And I limited saturated fats (but enjoyed red meat when I wanted). All is good!

  2. So what if you did slow down your metabolism by "eating" less? Can it be fixed without getting fat? Or everyone who has done a low calorie diet is f#@$ed?

    1. The key would be in what you eat after "eating less". Don't go back to NORMAL start eating naturally nutrient dense, real food and your metabolism will ramp back up. The damage doesn't have to be permanent!

  3. It seems that calories seem to matter when want to get to lean body fat percentages. What is your take on this Ben? Something like Leangains or other programs where calories are tracked to ensure a deficit to shed fat. That coupled with a good strength program to ensure LBM.

    Seems to have worked for many and most in the past. Perhaps it is about the plan or way of eating once you are at a level you want to be at. I can see how most once done getting lean put it back on just by overdoing it in the other direction.

    I know Jack Kruse takes about calories don’t matter but there seems to be some sort of accountability to break plateaus and or get a bit leaner.

    Calories may not matter for one trying to achieve good health, maintain a healthy weight, modest lifestyle. Choosing good whole healthy foods and living a healthy lifestyle goes a long ways for sure. But what about athletes and those that want to be a little leaner, strong and athletic?

    I do eat a Keto – epi-Paleo diet, use CT, ground, get sun etc. but still to be a bit leaner I need a bit more accountability and or some fasting to keep the lean state I desire.

    What are your thoughts? Trying to get my head around it.

    1. Calories matter but WAY less than most athletes think. Just track hormones and weight sometime, then bump up nutrient dense calories by 400-800 calories per day. Do you gain weight? Or stay stable with a nice hormonal response (e.g. bump in testosterone, estrogens, etc.). I'd track it, along with HRV of course!

      1. Thanks for the reply Ben.
        So in order to bump up calories by 400-800 one must be tracking intake before that… So in a sense calories do matter…. just not as much as one thinks…. A n=1 test can tell you by how much. I understand that there are many variables and we aren't a closed energy system….. but calories can matter to get one in the ballpark and with testing, can make some composition and health changes….

        Is my thinking right…..?

        1. Yes, I think your thinking is right. It's a shame that our primary measurement for "amount of useable food" is exactly the flawed measurement that we are trying to escape. It makes conversations like this… tricky.

          1. Ben’s comment below is pretty hilarious. Cronometer is a site (or smart phone app) that helps you eat a healthy REDUCED CALORIE diet. Granted, its focus is on making sure the diet you are on utilizes a healthy balance of micro and macro nutrients, but the bulk of this program is that it’s a freakin’ calorie counter. The tool someone uses when they want to reduce their calorie intake and not over eat… This article is going to cause problems for anyone that decides to apply it to their life.

  4. ^^^^ Thanks! Your always my voice of reason and understanding. You have knowledge in both scientific and real world application. You live what you coach.
    :-)
    I guess that is why I decided to become a superhuman coach under your guidance.

  5. It is not mandatory that if you are physical fit there is no need to doing exercise.Physical fit people also do work out just to stay healthy.

    1. Your right the body uses fat first that’s how it works eat less then 2000 a day with exrsize and a person will loose weight eat over 2000 and not eat healthy gain weight the extra calories is stored in fat some

  6. Research on rats does not apply to humans. This article contradicts all the research cited by Brad Pilon where he shows that fasting of reasonable duration does not affect muscle mass. I believe in Brad's work based off my own results from fasting and creating a caloric deficit (aka eating LESS).

  7. This is indeed a very handy contribution. I really enjoyed studying diet myth news and what causes actualy fat loss. Losing weight is a great burden and over fatness is not good for health. I'm on a campaign to lose weight and very inspired to accomplish my goal by reading such inspiring blog post. Thanks.

    1. So… you’re going to take his advice and not change the way you eat and hope to lose weight? Let me know how that goes.

  8. I think this blog post is not giving the whole story and damning lower food intake and stating you don’t lose fat from not eating….I eat very little and have been for the past 6 years.
    I have tried most weight loss programs and the only one that has been successful
    for me has been to eat less. My health improved, I don’t feel bloated, I sleep better and I’ve had NO muscle loss, in fact I’ve gained muscle and my testosterone levels are higher also. So I think to just say eating less does not cause fat loss is a MYTH in itself,
    What works for one may not work for another, so I urge people to try it for themselves before just reading a half arsed blog post with a blanketed view.

  9. Then how do you explain Holocaust victims? People starve to death from not eating. This is bunk. Of course you’ll lose some muscle, but unless you’re already super lean, you’re gonna lose fat as well- in fact quite a bit. When I eat more, I gain fat. When I eat less, I lose fat . The myth is that eating more will somehow help you lose fat and keep muscle. It doesn’t matter. A calorie is a calorie. And the reason why people gain fat is because they have too many calories.

  10. It depends. Asians are generally leaner and, when visiting a western country for the first time, are shocked at the portion sizes. The reverse is true for those visiting Asia for the first time.

    Nowadays, as more Asian countries get more affluent, portion sizes are getting larger and there’re more overweight people.

    Humans have survived on enough food to sustain us without starvation and hunger; not what makes us feel stuffed. There’s a difference.

  11. Excellent article Ben. This explains exactly why short-term crash diets don’t work. People just pack the weight back on plus a few extra pounds for that rainy day that just isn’t coming!

  12. RAY CRONISE: “Let’s talk about basics. Fat is a storage organ. It is there for times of famine. The body constantly taps into this storage organ when we enter the fasted state (~4-6 hours after a meal). So here is what they are saying, in a nutshell – if you don’t eat the body holds onto the back up reserves. That’s backwards thinking. Further, it’s posited that the body will instead use lean tissue (from muscle/organs) and accelerate that loss – all to preserve our fat storage organ.

    Reflect on that for a minute.

    Why would the body hold onto this precious fat storage and instead cannibalize our vital organs and muscle tissue, because of food scarcity? How might that helped the evolutionary process? Seems to me that those who digested their heart or leg muscles before using fat reserves when there wasn’t any food wouldn’t have jumped into the gene pool with all the vigor as those of us that actually lived on our storage organ. Don’t you think? I’m imagining the number of people it took to build the pyramid stopping 3-6 times a day for a quick pick-me-up. Don’t you think they tossed them some water and said, “keep chiseling! pull the rope” and perhaps they ate some bread etc… a little later?

    Now, the body absolutely has some adaptive changes to accommodate food reduction. There are metabolic shifts and changes in how we use fuel. I learned last year that even after 30 days of a VLCD followed by a medically supervised 14 distilled water fast I wasn’t deficient in anything. I don’t want to cloud the discussion with ketosis, fat adaption, etc… as it’s all somewhat tangential to the main point. Let’s for a minute put aside the debate over metabolism havoc. Let’s acknowledge we can’t explain everything and yet our bodies managed to get you right here staring at a screen from a single cell without help and perhaps in spite of what we swallowed. It’s remarkable.

    When in the fasted state we use reserves. That’s why they are there. Fat and glycogen are long and short term (respectively) storage organs. You’ll be fine on the 4 hour flight without peanuts.”

    ~from Ray’s latest article “Starvation Mode” [http://hypothermics.com/2015/10/starvation-mode/]

    So far I have lost 20 pounds of fat in the last 2 weeks by merely keeping my body burning its fat storage. Do you know what would put the weight back on…? I do. By overeating. I have learned that the only way to lose fat and keep it off is to stop eating CRAP Calorie-rich and processed foods for a period of time long enough to see the reserves used up. That’s happening for me now that I’ve finally understood how the human body utilizes its energy.

    I hope everyone will go check out Ray’s blog and his extensive research in the science of nutritional and caloric energy balance.

    1. If I would have read your comment first, I would not have posted anything, seeing that you hit every topic. I can only hope that anyone who thought about taking this article seriously reads your post and changes their mind. Well said.

    2. I’ve been fat for 15 years and I eat once a day, sometimes not at all because I’m not hungry when I drink distilled water. I am very very weak I’ve noticed and still fat. 15 years. I eat good food too. Still fat. Less muscle mass. And much weaker. Explain that? This article is SPOT on to me.

      I’ve learned that the body adjusts. So if you start eating 3 meals a day, it will let go of the reserves instead of muscle tissue because it knows your bodies clock. But stay with one meal a day like me as long as I have and it will never let it go because it knows I eat once a day…I’ll need it to survive because I don’t eat the correct amount of food. This is totally logical to me now why I haven’t lost ANY weight but still eat non-fatty foods or sugars. I eat eggs everyday and maybe sometimes lambchops and veggies and salads and fruits and only ever drink water…I don’t even have sugar except for what’s in the fruits I eat.

      And I’m still fat.

      Until I get back into a proper regiment, I think my body will continue to hold my fat and take what it needs when it needs it, guessing why I’m not dead yet.

      1. That’s because you’re still eating way too fucking much dude, doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure that out. Need any more help? I suggest you do this diet: skip eating every other day. Have one big meal one day, dont eat the next. Keep up the fluids.

  13. Total click-bait. If you’re really into helping people, you shouldn’t post articles with titles like this and you should represent the whole truth in the text.

    The whole truth is that eating less, in most cases, DOES help you lose weight. Eating less calories will help you lose weight. Eating less sugar and saturated fat will help you lose weight. Combine it with exercise and you’re almost certainly going to lose weight (perhaps with the exception of extenuating circumstances). This is true because a large majority of people in western societies eat portion sizes that are far too large (look at American’s for example).

    “Research on rats does not apply to humans. This article contradicts all the research cited by Brad Pilon where he shows that fasting of reasonable duration does not affect muscle mass. I believe in Brad’s work based off my own results from fasting and creating a caloric deficit (aka eating LESS).”

    THIS.

  14. This kind of nonsense title only serves to benefit the monopoly food corporations. Everyone knows that it’s about calories and not this or that “micro nutrient” or molecule. Energy in and energy out.

  15. All this is quite confusing to a lay person trying to lose weight. The thought that one must purchase additional books and diet informtion after they have already spent so much on diet shake programs in order to tap into “the secret” to fat loss. From what I have learnt I think the blanket statement “Eating less does not cause fat loss” has SOME truth in it but because its only part of the story it doesnt help. In the end its all a matter of balance Eat less and better nutrient rich foods (if you were overeating and eating the wrong foods before) and do a moderate amount (or more) of excercise BUT dont under eat or your energy levels will be too low for your requirements and it will wreak havoc with your metabolism. I lost 10 kgs 9 years ago and kept it all off for 8 years by eating the right amount. I need to do it again now and lose that 10 kgs. Events in my life lead to overeating and the weight crept on. I forgot about the importance of eating a certain amount and not “too little” and thought it was just a matter of willpower: No its not just willpower it is also a matter of balance and eating enough to live happy. Thank you for all your helpful comments although not all agree.

  16. What happens if you take the same groups of rats and instead of underfeeding for 10 days, overfeed for 10 days – does the metabolism correct in this case also?

  17. Nothing here states what kind of food was eaten. I do believe in calories in vs out, but the type of calorie does have different effects on hormones and such. Also, your body holds fat as excess energy, so when energy isn’t being consumed, it’s there to be a backup. Why would your body get rid of muscle first? It’s your chance at surviving, to be strong enough to “hunt.” Your body is smarter than that. Also, even anorexic people have a tendency to binge because they have restricted for so long. Going low calorie when you don’t have a lot of self control does tend to rebound. It has nothing to do with the body holding on to it all, it’s because they probably binged in excess calories. I agree that it isn’t best to eat every few hours because that does keep insulin spiked, which is responsible for fat storage. However, the reason why metabolisms slow down when restricting calories is because as you lose weight, your BMR also decreases, it’s just the way it is, no matter what diet you’re on. It wouldn’t make sense to have the same BMR after you’ve lost 20lbs. But yeah, misinformation hurts.

  18. I did not eat at all and did cardio on the same day thinkinng i could tap my fat stores…i had a migraine headache out of this world…smh

  19. Ben, I think you should study up on biology.

    The human body burns carbs, fats, and then muscle.

    The only exception is if the body is under A LOT of physical stress, and the fats cannot be burned fast enough, so muscle has to kick in.

    If your assumption is true, there would be A LOT of us with very little muscle on our body.

    1. Over time….Your body is smart, so smart, it knows when you eat and what it needs to survive, so it keeps the fat because it is more important than MUSCLE TISSUE, sure it won’t eat it all, it’s not stupid…But it does eat it first if it’s read that you’re not eating at times it needs it. I know that for a fact…Sure, over short periods. But if you go from eating 3 meals a day, healthy or not, to 1 meal a day for years like I have, your body knows to hold the fat. Why am I still fat on 1 meal a day? I don’t gain weight, but I don’t lose it either and I’m losing muscle power and muscle mass..

      This article is spot on.

      1. Doesn’t matter how many meals a day you have… What matters is how many calories you consume in a meal. If that “one meal a day” consists of over 2000 calories then there’s no way you’re gonna lose weight.

      2. Lol. You’re very wrong, your body does NOT want to hold on to that fat… It wants to burn it, but it will not in your case because you’re still eating too much.

  20. “Eating less does not create the need to burn body fat. Instead, it creates the need for the body to slow down.”

    Yes, the body does slow down, but not that much at all.

    If it were not true, you’d see the majority of people out there being fat.

    Hell, I lost 30 pounds easily by eating less, and I held on to my muscle..

    Duh.

    “Contrary to popular opinion, the body hangs on to body fat. Instead, it burns muscle tissue. . . .”

    Please show links to legitimate studies from medical staff, including biology.

  21. It’s a nice list of references and research. However from my personal experience, I’ve managed to loose 50 pounds of weight couple of years ago and in the process lost only 5 pounds of muscles. Rest was fat and water. All done by a combination of calorie restriction and exercise. Since then I stopped under-eating (I was actually eating slightly over my RMR), continued my exercise, put back on 7 pounds of muscle and just under 2 pounds of fat. What does the ‘science’ have to say about that I wonder?

  22. Eating less is measurable, and must be measured to be considered.

    1. Measure your current calorie intake (for at least 2 weeks to get an average, maybe a month or 2 to be more accurate).

    2. Restrict that calorie intake, and measure it. Weighing is the most reliable method. Using volume can be accurate, but it can also be easily messed up (i.e. a rounded tbsp, vs. a tbsp by liquid volume).

    The study with the women… it lasted for 10 days? Hardly long enough. Also, how was food measured? By the women, in their home? We need more details.

    **Are there fat people where there is a food shortage?

  23. Ok, so I currently have a calorie intake of ~1500 a day (this is a guess since it used to be 1000-1500 and now I used protein powder) and do 4 gym sessions a week, each being 4 hours long with 3 hours of strength and 1 hour of cardio. I am currently taking lean protein around each gym sessions so I get 50g protein before and 50g after.

    I am targeting to increase muscle mass and reduce body fat and while I am getting stronger, there has also been an increase in body fat. I am confused about what I can do to rectify this as I am not exactly being sedentary or over-eating.

    1. I have 191calories a day. 15 years, I’m still fat. I don’t gain but I don’t lose either.

      I eat once a day.

      Article is spot on.

  24. Ive done a few self experimentations which seem to suggest this is right. I’ve tracked my maintenance calories and found I need around 3300 a day to maintain. At 14% bf I want to get down to 10% Bf so tracked my intake over two weeks and trained my brains out. Of course I was training before but this was daily effort. I then took a few days of recovery. My calorie intake was 2400/day and protein over 2g/kg. Sleep 8hrs a night. Rechecked my body fat with skulpt (measured 5 times) and body fat came in at 17% with no weight change. Lean mass is down 2kg ish and fat up 2kg. Maybe the measures are wrong but measuring tape measures show a reduction of about 4cm (arm, chest legs etc) which seems to confirm muscle loss. Based on mathematical models this effectively means the calories to prevent weight gain is 900 calories and weight loss is almost no food. Obviously that’s pretty absurd so either I am chronically overtrained (not a huge change in volume though, just a lil more consistent) or my data points weren’t accurate (unlikely as I used digital scales, multiple measures etc).

  25. This article leaves out a lot of information. Sorry, but the ONLY way to burn fat is by a calorie deficit. It’s all a matter of how big of a deficit you are practicing. Do an internet search and find a TDEE calculator. Figure out what your maintenance intake should be, subtract 500 calories per day and you will lose about 1 lbs. of fat per week.

    As long as you provide your body with a reason to keep muscle tissue (strength training) you will not lose muscle. I started intermittent fasting about 8 months ago while still maintaining a progressive overload on my strength training. I went from 185 lbs at 23% bf down to 164 lbs at 12% bf (as of yesterday) and I am still progressing gaining strength every week and toning out nicely. I am a 31 year old male at 5’10”. I currently eat anywhere from 500 to 800 calories under my maintenance.

    Bottom line: This article is mostly false. It is trying to tell you to not change the way you eat and expect to lose weight. Common sense should tell you to laugh at this. Eat at a reasonable deficit while getting a good mix of macro and micro-nutrients, do strength training 3 days a week hitting all major muscle groups, and maybe some light cardio (swift walking) for about 30 minutes per day. Drink plenty of water. You will see results I promise.

    I would like to add: The study they did with the control group is completely ridiculous. The “eat less” group basically starved themselves for ten days, ate at their previous habit, then repeated this 3 times. OF COURSE THIS IS GOING TO CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN!!! Are you kidding me? Ten days is not enough to promote fat loss and reduce urges. So when you return to normal eating after 10 days of STARVATION, your body is going to create more reserves naturally. This was a biased study that measures the effects of erratic eating, not a controlled healthy calorie deficit.

    You can read a lot of those sources as well, please. Most are studies on rats and are picked at for specific information that serves the author’s confirmation bias. I love the one about how weight-loss causes a decrease in non-resting energy expenditure. “Oh really? You mean someone who weighs 160 lbs and runs a mile uses less energy than someone who weighs 250 lbs and runs a mile? Gee… that’s revolutionary.” I mean come on… no sh**!

    1. Rubbish. I have a maximum of 200 calories per day, sometimes less and sometimes none at all. 15 years. And I haven’t lost ANY fat or gained it.

      1. You’re lying. I think you’re a fake account trying to make it seem like this guys article is truth, but in reality, how can you keep replying to these posts saying you haven’t lost a single ounce in 15 years of no eating? By lying. That, or you’re still EATING WAY TOO MUCH. The Jews in Nazi concentration camps would like to show you their diet.

  26. There is so much research about this and still we don’t know what is really going on with weight loss:)))

    I can really only speak from experience here. The most important element is exercise for me. When I go climbing/bouldering twice a week and just eat normally I become fitter and fitter. If I don’t do the exercise that I slowly get heavier. I can then try to diet and sort of maintain my weight. But it’s difficult and eating a bit too much causes weight gain again.

    I go back to exercising 2-3 times a week and start loosing weight again. Even though I usually eat more (working out makes hungry).

    Ok, why this story. Because I know that this works for me as a human (vs mouse). So there is a considerable change that it will work for others too. As long as they find a cool sport, do it 2-3 times a week and stick with it.

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