Episode 130. Metabolism First: How Diets Make You Fat

Nov 26, 2018 | 0 comments

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Show Notes

Scott’s said for years that calorie restriction diets set in motion a metabolic cascade that make a person fatter over the long term. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2011 comes to a similar conclusion.

What happens to the body long-term after weight loss, particularly with diets that emphasize short-term loss over long-term consequences?


Train the metabolism to be a fat burning machine, not a fat storing machine.

  • “Abelisms” highlighted here:
    • Metabolism must be fed, not starved.
    • Coax the body and it responds. Force the body and it reacts.
    • Coax the body = relative calorie deficits vs. forcing the body = absolute calorie deficit.
  • Low-calorie, low-carb diets, intermittent fasting, cleanses, etc., have unintended long-term consequences.
  • Diets aimed at short-term weight loss set physiological processes in motion that lead to weight gain. These happen in the immediate, residual, cumulative realms of time.
  • Metabolic resets are really just deprivation diets.
  • Deprivation, calorie-restriction diets program the body’s “computer” to store fat.
  • Ghrelin is the hunger hormone. It stimulates food intake and promotes fat storage. The study showed an increase in ghrelin after 62 weeks.
  • Lose weight fast is a recipe to gain weight slow…and forever.

Quotes from the study that speak to long term effects of low-energy dieting:

  • “Caloric restriction results in acute compensatory changes, including profound reductions in energy expenditure and levels of leptin and cholecystokinin and increases in ghrelin and appetite, all of which promote weight regain.”

  • Ratings for preoccupation with thoughts of food, as compared with baseline ratings, tended to increase at week 10 (P=0.09) and were significantly increased at week 62 (P=0.008).”

  • “…many of these alterations persist for 12 months after weight loss, even after the onset of weight regain…”

  • “…in an environment in which energy-dense food is abundant and physical activity is largely unnecessary, the high rate of relapse after weight loss is not surprising.”


Sumithran P, et al. Long-Term Persistence of Hormonal Adaptations to Weight Loss. October 27, 2011 N Engl J Med 2011; 365:1597-1604.


A whole food plant-based diet lets you get lean (and stay lean) without trying. Learn more about whole food plant-based diet at NutritionStudies.org, and check out the Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate Course.


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without “worrying” about it?

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