What is a reverse diet and can it help with weight loss?

What is a reverse diet and can it help with weight loss?

Whether you’ve recently reached your target weight or simply want to learn how to maintain your weight loss without undoing all your hard work, you’ll likely need to start adding more calories to your diet. While you are examining different eating plans, you may come across an inverse diet.

The term is a little confusing – it sounds like you eat more to try to lose weight – but experts say reverse dieting is not at all. Instead, it involves slowly adding calories to your meal plan, working toward a calorie deficit.

For those who will be trying a reverse diet, it’s popular with bodybuilders and athletes, as well as people who are off calorie-restricted diets (like a 1,200-calorie meal plan, for example), explains Scott Keatley, RD, of Ketley’s Medical Nutrition Therapy.

Here’s what you need to know about a reverse diet, including how it works, the pros and cons, and what the experts really think.

What is reverse dieting and how does it work?

A reverse diet is less of a real diet and more of what you do after, after Try to follow a restricted diet (which many experts recommend against eating in the first place). “The idea behind reverse dieting is that after a period of low calories and reaching your target body fat percentage, you can reverse the unwanted effects of dieting,” says Keatley. The goal, he explains, is to help your hunger and metabolic signals adapt so that you reduce the risk of regaining weight or overeating.

Under reverse dieting, you don’t just stop dieting and immediately go back to your old way of eating, Keatley explains. Instead, you slowly work your way back to where you were. Keri Gans, RD, author small change dietReverse dieting, Keatley says, is usually done after a calorie-counting diet.

How to reverse the diet

The actual process of a reverse dieting is simple. You can look at the calories in the restrictive diet you’ve been following and slowly add more calories until you reach a new baseline where you can maintain your desired weight, according to Keatley.

Typically, Keatley says, you add an additional 50 to 100 calories per week for one to three months (usually four to 10 weeks) until you return your intake to a new baseline.

Does reverse dieting help you lose weight?

“There is no scientific evidence to support weight loss when following a reverse diet,” says Emily Bianco, RD at Spectrum Health. “However, there may be something to encourage people to eat regularly to promote a healthy metabolism.”

there he is Research shows that it’s easy to regain weight after following a highly calorie-restricted eating plan. Among other things, hormones that control appetite raised After following a calorie-restricted diet for at least a year, which makes you feel hungrier than you should.

animal Research He also suggested that your gut microbiome communicates with your metabolism after a severe calorie-restricted diet and encourages it to slow down.

Keatley says that a reverse diet “may not be” effective for weight loss by itself. Jans agrees. “It probably won’t lead to weight loss in most individuals,” she says. “Ideally, the most anyone can hope for is weight maintenance, and even with this, the research is limited.”

Will You Gain Weight Reverse Dieting?

“Depending on the person and their diet history, they may notice fluctuations in their weight when trying to reverse the diet,” explains Bianco. “For example, a person who has been limiting their calories and/or meals during the day is more likely to see weight fluctuations as they transition to eating more regular meals and snacks during the day along with a healthy amount of calories.”

But, this is normal, says Bianco, as your metabolism adapts to a regimen that properly nourishes your body versus the restrictive type of diet or even starvation. “The best way to promote healthy weight loss is to reduce your caloric intake by 250-500 calories per day,” says Bianco. “Long-term sustainable weight loss should feel like losing 1-2 pounds per week.”

Pros and cons of a reverse diet

Again, there is really no data on reverse dieting, so it is difficult to determine the risks and benefits of this method with certainty.

If you’ve been on a restricted diet for a while, Keatley says it can be “liberating” to increase your calorie intake. He says it may work to normalize your hormones. And Keatley adds, “Because you’re consuming more energy, you may feel as if you have more energy.”

If you do it right — meaning you won’t end up eating more calories on a regular basis than you would on a pre-diet — Keatley says there aren’t many downsides. Logistically speaking, though, “outside the lab it is nearly impossible to correctly calculate energy expenditures and make appropriate increases,” he says. Meaning, you may end up “over” your goal and gain weight.

Is reverse dieting really necessary?

Keatley says the biggest problem with a reverse dieting is that it’s combined with a restrictive eating plan. Search Show that extreme calorie restriction raises levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body — and who – which Increases the risk of weight gain around the midsection.

Gans also points out that severe calorie restriction is not good for overall, sustainable weight loss — not to mention the potential mental health effects of a restrictive diet. “It’s another diet plan to consume with calorie counting, and it’s far from ideal for a healthy lifestyle and long-term success,” she says.

Instead of following a restrictive eating plan and reversing the diet afterward, Gans recommends trying to incorporate healthy foods like more fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and high-fiber foods into your diet so you can form healthy eating habits that you can continue with. time.

“Any overly strict eating plan is never necessary and could be dangerous,” she says. “Instead, the individual should learn how to incorporate an all-foods mindset with a focus on eating more plant foods, along with plenty of physical activity, adequate sleep, and reduced stress.”

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