why does it fail so miserably?
The low-fat, low-calorie diet has been heavily hyped for the last 25 years and continues to fail to produce lasting results for almost anyone who has tried it. low fat.
There are two inherent shortcomings in the popular low fat, low calorie diet strategy. The first is physical. The diet is predicated on the theory that reducing calories will translate into a corresponding weight loss. How many times have you read that if you would just reduce your caloric intake by 3,500 a week, you could lose a pound a week? Does it work? It will work for just about everyone for a short period but the human body is just too intelligent for this easy plan to work for long.
[Before we go further let me more clearly define what this article is referring to as low-fat; low calorie diets. These are diets that keep fat intake to no more than 15% to 20% of total caloric budget and total daily calories at 1,200 or less.]
Think about this: the body wants to preserve life at all costs. Pretty neat when you think about it – a built in regulating system designed to look after your best interests. However, while that built in system was invaluable for preserving the human species during extended periods of famine, it can work against us now living in modern society.
The vast majority of us never worry about having enough to eat by low fat
Food is plentiful here in the US.The vast majority of us never worry about having enough to eat. Life is good! But wh en you are trying to lose weight you may occasionally overeat (or more likely just eat the wrong foods on the wrong cycle), the self-preservation factor just turns into a fat preservation factor.
Why low fatThe less you eat, the lower your body sets it’s metabolic furnace. Thus if you indulge, what the body now considers excess calories turns into fat. Ugh!
Interestingly, there has never been any conclusive proof that there is any direct correlation between the number of calories you cut and the amount of weight you lose. If it existed, the results of a study conducted at a major Canadian university would not have occurred.
In a groundbreaking study, twelve sets of male twins were overfed 1000 calories a day for 84 days. If the direct correlation between weight and calories existed, the extra 84,000 calories should have caused all the men to gain 24 pounds. That didn’t happen. Some gained as little as 9.5 lbs and others as much as 29.0 lbs. Why the enormous difference? Metabolism! The one element that did show to affect the results was whether the men were fat burners or fat storers when beginning the study.
Think about the vicious cycle you start when you go on a low calorie diet. The less you eat, the less your body needs to get by (notice I didn’t say feel great) so you either stall out eventually, or you give up.
Low calorie diets are hard psychologically!
This brings me to the second shortcoming. Low calorie diets are hard psychologically! It’s darn hard to continually give up all the foods you love. No more potato chips, no French fries, no doughnuts or whatever your particular comfort food is. WOW that’s hard. This alone makes diet of this type nearly impossible to stick with over an extended period of time.
Finally, the guidelines I’ve read for most of these diets shows them to get only 10% – 15% of the total calories from protein. That’s to keep the diet in compliance with the FDA minimum recommendations for protein. You read that correctly.
MINIMUMS. This is the least amount you need to keep going. It’s not what you need to grow or retain muscle. In other words, it’s just enough to prevent sickness or death. I don’t know about you but I want more than just enough to physically get by. I want enough to grow or at least preserve my muscle mass.
The other problem limiting protein and fat on a low calorie diet causes is to have you turn to carbohydrates for the vast majority of our daily food intake.
Excessive carbohydrate intake can cause your system work harder to control blood sugar levels by producing unnaturally high levels of insulin. Insulin is a fat storing hormone. Compound this problem with the likelihood that those carbohydrates are refined, the sugar spikes will go higher, faster and more and more insulin is produced to control it.
Is there any alternative?
So when you subject yourself to a very low calorie diet, your metabolism slows, your muscle mass declines and you never get to have another piece of cake. Why low calorie diets are doomed to fail you seems obvious doesn’t it?
These same studies also show that when the participant increased the caloric intake, their bodies tended to put any weight gain on as lean mass. Try coupling this eating plan with the right supplements and an exercise program including weight lifting and the results can be phenomenal.