Reverse dieting is a controlled and gradual way of increasing from a low-calorie weight loss eating plan back to your more ‘normal’ pre-diet way of eating.
Gulf Today Report
Most of us have at some point fallen prey to diets that come with the promise of helping you shed the kilos.
From Keto to Paleo, there are a plethora of eating plans that claim to aid weight loss.
However, the problem with every one of these diets isn’t following the eating pattern and reaping the benefits, but rather the challenge of avoiding weight regain afterwards.
This can lead to cycles of dieting and weight gain, or “yo-yo” dieting, which can cause people to have an unhealthy relationship with food, deteriorating mental health and a higher body weight.
Addressing this concern is the new fad called “reverse dieting,” which has gained popularity online as a post-diet eating plan that claims it can help you avoid weight regain by eating more.
In simple terms, it’s a controlled and gradual way of increasing from a low-calorie weight loss eating plan back to your more “normal” pre-diet way of eating.
The idea with reverse dieting is that gradually increasing calorie intake following a deficit will allow your body and your metabolism to “adjust” so that you can avoid weight regain while eating more.
However, there is currently no scientific evidence showing that reverse dieting works.
Reverse dieting is based around the theory that our body has baseline “set points” for metabolism and calorie intake hardwired into our biology, and if we go above these points we gain weight.
The idea is that reverse dieting can shift these “set points” upwards if a person slowly increases the amount of calories eaten as food.
This would theoretically “boost” their metabolism, allowing them to consume more food and calories without gaining weight.
However, the idea that as humans we have a “set point,” which we can manipulate with dietary changes, is not supported by research.
The main reason for this is because a number of factors influence our weight and metabolism, including how it changes.
Among them are how we’re brought up, what food we have access to, what type of exercise we do, and our genetics.
But the most important influence over how our body uses calories — and therefore our weight — is our resting (or basal) metabolic rate.
This is the number of calories our body needs in order to keep itself alive. This accounts for about 60-70 per cent of the calories we use daily.
Our basal metabolic rate is mostly determined by our age, weight, gender and muscle mass —your diet has little effect on it.
Eating at or below your basal metabolic rate will result in weight loss, and eating above it will result in weight gain.
Our basal metabolic rate also increases as we gain weight or muscle mass, and decreases as we lose weight or muscle mass (the evidence shows that the more muscle your body has, the more calories it needs to function).
Exercise also increases how many calories we use, but usually not enough to massively affect our weight.
And though a high protein diet can alter metabolic rate somewhat, our body weight and muscle mass have the greatest effect on it.
So reverse dieting only appears to work by controlling calorie intake.
There’s currently no evidence that you can alter your metabolism or metabolic rate by introducing more calories slowly and gradually.
Put simply, if you eat more calories than your body requires, you will gain weight.
What we do know is that certain habits, like regularly eating breakfast and exercise, help people avoid weight regain after dieting.
While the jury is still out on the effectiveness of reverse dieting on metabolism, it does offer benefits in other ways.
When some people are losing weight, they may feel in control of how they eat.
But for some people, stopping their diet could lead to perceived loss of control.
Reverse dieting might give some people the confidence to return to a more sustainable way of eating, or help them move out of a cycle of restrictive dieting.