Home > Archives > Nutrition Tips > The Yo-Yo Dieting Effect

The Yo-Yo Dieting Effect

Timeless Nutrition Tip

Ever heard of a negative energy balance? That's what diets do to you -- they lower your caloric intake below the basal metabolic rate which creates a negative energy balance. You will lose weight, but it will be a muscle loss.

The Yo Yo Dieting Effect

Food gives you energy. When you have less energy than is required, your body think its starving and burns muscle to fuel its energy requirements. In doing so, it actually slows down its metabolism (the rate at which you are burning calories).

When going through a process of starvation, the body will store whatever it can as body-fat to protect itself. It will also respond to a threat of starvation by increasing the fat-depositing enzymes which in turn store more fat.

So why do you gain weight after you've lost it?

By lowering the metabolism, your body requires fewer calories. When you go off a diet, your body craves all it was missing and your calorie consumption increases and you gain back more fat than lean muscle mass. Even if you eat the same amount of calories as you did before the diet, you will not maintain your weight, because you've lost your lean muscle mass.

In fact, because your caloric needs decrease, you will end up gaining weight! This explains the yo-yo dieting effect.

Skip Breakfast and Gain Weight!

Omitting breakfast actually adds pounds. Here is why: After fasting all night, you are likely to have hunger pains long before lunch. The snack you take, maybe some chips or cookies, is likely to contain plenty of calories, salt, sugar and fat.

However, psychologically you think that is all right, because you did not have breakfast. There is another mechanism involved. Your body reacts as if there is no food available. It wants to protect you against starvation. When you finally do eat, you will not burn the calories. Your body hangs onto those calories and stores them as fat for when the "famine" is over.

Stored fat means extra pounds. In conclusion, it is true that eating breakfast is the best way to start your day. So just what should you eat? Complex carbohydrates such as whole grain cereals and protein foods. Avoid foods with saturated fat.

Peanut butter is good as is plain yogurt, low-fat milk, soy milk and low-fat cheese. Eggs are rich in protein but also in cholesterol. New research says eating three or four eggs, a week is now fine.

You may also find of interest...