A recent study compared continuous dieting to intermittent dieting (2 weeks of energy restriction followed by 2 weeks of eating at maintenance).
First things first: why? What is the rationale behind intermittent dieting?
– What a great question! Thanks for asking..
As we diet various adaptations occur which make it harder for us to continue losing weight. This is why dieting is so hard and why most people regain the weight they lose.
The idea behind intermittent dieting is that by taking a break from being in an energy deficit you can avoid or at least reduce some of these adaptations.
Ok sounds cool.. so why 2 weeks?
– We don’t yet know the best protocol (this is likely somewhat individual). However, 2 weeks is not completely arbitrary. Research suggests that adaptations to dieting can be split into two phases:
1) early phase adaptations (~2 weeks) these are thought to be largely attributable to cellular metabolism alterations.
2) Later phase adaptations which are largely explained by reduced body mass (something we can’t avoid if weight loss is the goal)
Got it.. so what happened in the study?
– The intermittent dieting group lost more weight and regained less weight at a 6month follow up- 8 kg more weight! (in fact the continuous dieting group on average regained all the weight they had lost).
Even more interesting was the finding that the intermittent dieting group showed a smaller reduction in resting energy expenditure (key adaptation to energy restriction which makes continued weight loss harder). This suggest the intermittent dieting group were able to reduce some of the adaptations to dieting making continued weight loss/maintaining weight loss easier.
Oh wow that is somewhat interesting, thanks!
– No problem kind sir. If you too have found this mildly interesting please like, share and comment.
If you’d like to work with me to set up your own intermittent dieting plan or have any questions get in touch