We all know that to drop pounds, you have to burn more calories than you take in. Unfortunately, that can backfire if you cut calories too much or for too long and your body goes into energy conservation mode, slowing down how fast it burns calories. But a new study from Australia may have figured out a way to keep the metabolism going strong while dieting. The secret? Taking a break from it every couple weeks.
Researchers from the University of Tasmania found that men in their study who dieted for 16 weeks straight lost less weight overall – 20 pounds compared to 31 – than the ones who dieted for two weeks and took two weeks off. The part-time dieters also kept more weight off long-term – six months after the diets ended, they maintained the most total weight loss, 24 pounds versus about seven.
So why did the on-again, off-again diet work so well? Researchers think it because of something called adaptive thermogenesis, which lowers someone’s metabolism when their caloric intake is cut. And so keeping the calorie restriction to two weeks kept that from happening and participants kept burning more calories.
We should point out that even during the dieters’ two weeks off, they didn’t just eat anything they felt like. They still counted calories and ate what they needed to maintain a stable weight. So if you try it, you can’t spend two weeks eating cake, doughnuts, and fries and expect the same results. But we’re all for less dieting and more results.
Source: Food and Wine