metabolism-weight

How Weight Loss Affects Your Metabolism

Losing weight can slow down your metabolism – we tell you how to prevent it. A recent article published in the New York Times talks about the impact of significant weight loss in our metabolism. The interesting article reveals the tremendous inequality of the resting metabolic rate (TMR) among those who have lost a lot of weight and those in a control group of the same weight (who have not lost weight).

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METABOLISM AND WEIGHT LOSS

In social networks, I saw many people interested in losing weight stay without motivation as a result of that article. And while I’ll never say that weight loss is easy, this new research makes it seem pointless. But it is far from being so, especially once you analyze the research in that area and give context to the disparity of the TMR.

For starters, the article focused on former contestants program called The Biggest Loser. I criticized this program in an article just before the start of the season arguing that, yes, the extremely fast type of weight loss really does decelerate aggressively the metabolic rate.

In the NYT article we learned that although it has been many years since these participants competed in the program, Danny Cahill “burns 800 calories less each day than would be expected from a man of his size, ” Dina Mercado “burns 437 calories less To-day, “Sean Algaier” burns 458 fewer calories every day, “Amanda Arlauskas” burns 591 calories less, “Rudy Pauls” 516 calories less “and Tracey Yukich” 211 calories less each day than a woman expects from her size”.

metabolism-weight

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It is enough to make anyone think that sustainable weight loss is useless. Except when we put it in context. First, we must consider a genetic variable.

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“People in The Biggest Loser probably have a strong genetic tendency to obesity because the average body mass index (BMI) at the beginning of the competition is around 50, ” said Dr. Karl Nadolsky, an endocrinologist Maryland. The fact that they had a significant body weight in the first place implies a high possibility that their metabolic rate was already slow to start, which contributed to making them obese. There is a lot of variety between each person with these things, “Nadolsky said.

Now, you have to consider not only the extreme amount of weight they lost but the great speed with which they did it.

And the most important thing is to notice that the contestants did not have a stable weight when the measurements were made. I spoke to the obesity researcher James Krieger of Seattle, who analyzed the study to learn more.

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“The best work in this area is Rudolph Leibel,” Krieger said, referring to a 2008 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Krieger explained that the study took people who had lost 10% or more of their body weight and made sure they were truly stable in their weight by measuring not only their caloric intake and expenditure but also their carbohydrate and sodium intake (Which can affect the balance of water in the body. Their weights were so stable that they varied less than 20 grams from one day to another, “says Krieger.

Weight fluctuation has an almost immediate effect on your TMR. And guess what? The old contestants did not have a stable weight. On average, they were down 400 grams a week. It is not much, but it is enough to affect the results. Krieger explained that it appears that they all increased their physical activity as well, which would increase the decreasing effect of TMR.

All these variables can be put in context the dramatic differences in the TMR contestants from The Biggest Loser and the control group. Yes, it is true, losing weight slows down your metabolism and your ability of diet. It is also true that if you take two identical twins, and one rises a lot of weight for several years, and then lose weight again to be at the same weight as the twin who “was never fat”, the fattened will have a TMR lower than the twin who never gained weight, and this difference between them will surely persist for many years – possibly for life.

metabolism-weight

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And that does not consider things like how the brain can change the way it perceives tasty food, adaptations in hunger hormones and the difficulty of breaking habits that promote fat gain.

Back to TMR: How big is this imbalance? We are not sure. According to research cited in the article by TBL, it seems that can be huge. It is likely that few of these variables will apply to you as you strive to lose weight, and the degree of TMR imbalance you may experience compared to the control group is likely to be manageable.

 

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