If you’re reading this article, you probably have confusion over metabolic confusion. Welcome to the club. In essence, metabolic confusion is another one of the latest diet trends that have popped up recently. It seems as though every few months or weeks, we’re getting new diets like this one, which leads us to question whether they actually work or if they’re just another fad diet.
What exactly is the metabolic confusion diet?
As its name suggests, the metabolic confusion diet is a regimen intended to “trick” your metabolism into burning more calories, leading to increased weight loss. The vital science behind weight loss and diets, in general, is our energy expenditure. Some people are blessed with having quicker metabolisms, which allows them to eat a sinful amount of food without putting on any weight. The rest of us aren’t as lucky, expending energy at a much slower rate.
Increased energy expenditure in humans consists of three major components, which are resting metabolic rate (RMR), thermic effect of feeding (TEF), and thermic effect of activity (TEA). Among those three I mentioned, resting metabolic rate accounts for 60-75% of our energy expenditure, with RMR being responsible for maintaining bodily functions. If energy expenditure is greater than our intake, this leads to weight loss. Conversely, when energy expenditure is less than our intake, this leads to weight gain.
How does the diet work?
The less confusing (pun intended) name of this diet is the calorie shifting or calorie cycling. It quite literally cycles between periods of low-calorie intake and high-calorie intake. Like intermittent fasting (IF), this diet has no restrictions on what you can eat. But what sets it apart from IF is that while IF restricts what time of the day you eat, a metabolic confusion diet limits how many calories you eat.
Research suggests that a metabolic confusion diet leads to improved weight loss, increased satisfaction, and better adherence than conventional calorie restriction (CR) diets. The same study observed the effects of calorie restriction diets on weight loss, and while it did show significant and quick impacts in the first six months, the subjects regained over 30-35% of their lost weight in the first year post-treatment.
Furthermore, other studies supplement this knowledge on caloric restriction and its effects on metabolism. One research piece studied caloric restriction’s implications on weight loss. This study showed that while you’re significantly decreasing caloric intake, your body adjusts to this change through metabolic adaptation. With the decrease in caloric intake, your body reduces its resting metabolic rate accordingly. Moreover, with this reduction in caloric intake, we subconsciously reduce our physical activities to adapt to this change. This is our body’s natural response and instinct to preserve as much energy for its survival.
Metabolic confusion has a different effect on your resting metabolic rate. When you’re on your low-calorie cycle, your RMR decreases, similar to the CR diet. However, when you switch up to your high-calorie cycle, your RMR shoots back up, leading to more significant weight loss
What should I eat during a metabolic confusion cycle?
While there are no restrictions on what you should and shouldn’t eat, you’ll want to maintain a well-balanced diet during low and high-calorie periods. It’s advisable to ensure you get a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, and other key nutrients during the entire period.
Is it advisable to exercise during this diet?
Physical activity is still quite relevant for the duration of this diet. If your primary goal is weight loss, you should definitely incorporate a workout routine to supplement this diet. As I mentioned earlier, the driver behind weight loss is expending more energy than you are consuming, and physical activity adds to energy expenditure.
While this diet is generally safe, you’ll want to consult with a dietitian or a nutritionist for their expert advice to align your diet with your fitness goals. The key to maintaining any diet is consistency, so you’ll have to find out if this diet is suitable for your lifestyle before sticking with it long-term.
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