How Calorie-Reduced Diets Can Lead to Weight Gain

Posted: October 31, 2013 in Weight Loss Supplements
diet spelled with vegetables

Your brain is so incredibly powerful and complex that scientists are still exploring its capabilities and learning more everyday about how it works.

But what most people don’t realize is how deeply their brains care about them and their well-being. Entire bodily systems as fast and intricate as the highest-tech super-computers are devoted entirely to making sure you’re OK, that you stay out of danger and that your body stays healthy. From your immune system to your “fight or flight” response mechanism, your brain manages them all in an effort to prevent anything bad happening to you.

Your Brain on a Calorie-Reduced Diet

Your brain is so amazing it even practices “preventative maintenance”. It knows that your body cannot properly function for very long without getting energy from food. Instead of waiting until there’s no food available before going into an energy preservation mode, your brain stores extra energy as fat. When it notices your body fat getting low, it sends signals to correct the problem and make sure you have enough energy.

Here’s a simple explanation of how it works:

  1. The fat in your body produces a hormone called leptin. More fat, more leptin. When your brain detects that the amount of leptin in your body is decreasing, it knows the amount of fat in your body is decreasing. Your brain then takes actions to maintain your levels of fat.
  2. It sends a signal to slow down your metabolism so your body burns less fat.
  3. Your appetite is increased so that you eat more food to get more energy.

How does this mean a calorie-reduced diet might actually make you gain weight? If your calorie intake drops below the level needed by your body (approximately 2,000 calories a day) it gets the extra energy it needs from the fat in your body.

And that’s how the problems can start:

  1. As your body burns more fat to make up for your lost calories, less leptin is produced.
  2. Your brain slows your metabolism, which means your body now needs fewer calories to function, and it increases your appetite, which increases the calories you consume.
  3. The effect of your body in energy preservation mode can be so strong that the number of calories your body needs might be reduced below the number of calories you’re consuming in your diet.

The result is, even on your calorie-reduced diet, you can consume more calories than you need. And this happens at a time when your appetite is increased, which usually leads to even higher calorie intake.

It’s a double-whammy of too many calories. And you gain weight.

But, you can take steps to make sure you avoid gaining weight while dieting.

  1. Don’t just calorie count.
  2. Get proper nutrition to maintain your energy and metabolism.
  3. Talk to a nutrition and weight management specialist to help you lose weight while always having the energy you need to stay healthy.

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