Reverse dieting is often considered to be the diet after the diet. Once you have undergone a prolonged calorie deficit, a reverse diet involves gradually increasing your calorie allowance on a weekly basis (usually by 50 to 100 calories per day). This attempts to increase your metabolism.
There is little research on reverse dieting. Some believe that reverse dieting is ineffective. Others see it as a viable option for managing their body composition when they wish to stop their calorie deficit.
The Potential Benefits of Reverse Dieting
Boosting Our Metabolism
Our bodies undergo hidden roles such as operating the cardio-respiratory system, balancing hormone levels and growth and repair. Our bodies must also digest food. In order to achieve this, our bodies will burn calories. This is effectively what our metabolism is. Through a steady increase in our daily calorie intake, we may uplift our metabolic rate.
Amplifying Our Plasma Leptin
Leptin is a hormone associated with suppressing our appetite. As fat mas decreases, plasma leptin decreases. Furthermore, leptin also decreases under a calorie deficit. If we were to gradually increase our calories, it is lightly that our leptin levels will amplify (Friedman JM, Lecoultre, et al.). This may result in less snacking or over-consumption.
Managing Binge Eating
There are several factors which result in binge eating. A caloric restriction is one of them (W Mathes, et al.). Assuming that you have strong will power and have managed your stress, increasing your calories may make you less inclined to binge eat. Binge eating is heavily associated with weight gain and isn’t considered to be emotionally healthy.
Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy we expend before structured exercise. This includes walking, house work and occupational based activity (such as a builder mixing cement). It is an important part of managing our body composition. When we consume more calories, it is lightly that our NEAT will increase (Levine JA).
Weight Loss Sustainability
Just because you’ve lost weight, it doesn’t mean that it won’t find you again. Reverse dieting may be the answer to a sustainable weight loss. Through gradually increasing your calorie intake, you may figure out your new maintenance calorie level. This is the level of calories you may consume to maintain your weight. If you exceed this level, you will begin to put on weight.
There are various physiological responses that supports a case for reverse dieting. However, its effectiveness as a protocol is still under question. I will continue to investigate reverse dieting and will write another article on the matter when new information becomes available.
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