This is a guest post from Brad Pilon, the author of Eat Stop Eat (I interviewed Brad a while ago)
You may have read a few times that fasting causes your body to enter starvation mode, which shuts down fat burning as your body tries to hold onto its precious fat stores.....that is all rubbish as Brad explains!
The theory of Starvation Mode is something that fuels Obsessive Compulsive Eating in North America and throughout the world.
To use a very basic definition, Starvation mode is when your metabolism supposedly slows down when you don’t eat enough calories. More often than not this definition is used to support very complex diet programs.
These diets will tell you that not eating enough food will cause you to store more fat. Right after delivering this pseudo-science message of fear they then tell you the only solution is to keep eating, and here is the catch, you must eat the special foods they recommend.
This is just another example of fear mongering and confusion created by the food, diet and supplement industry that ultimately leads to obsessive compulsive eating.
They are actually trying to tell you that eating less food won’t help you lose weight, and in fact might actually cause you to gain weight - Fear mongering at its best.
The truth is a large body of scientific research shows you can eat very low calories for extended periods of time with no change in your metabolism and, no decrease in muscle mass, as long as you do some form of resistance training (I cover a large part of this research in Eat Stop Eat).
This is one of the major reasons why so many people are afraid that eating too much food or too little food will have a negative effect on their metabolism.
In my opinion the scientific research is clear, you can eat very low calorie for an extended period of time. As long as you do some weight training the only thing that is going to happen is an impressive amount of fat loss.
And if the existing body of research wasn’t enough to convince you, here is more proof that you can lose significant amounts of weight without losing muscle mass or damaging your metabolism as long as you are using resistance training as part of your weight loss plan.
In a study just published in the Journal of Obesity, researchers examined the effects of losing 25 pounds on 94 women who either
A) Followed a resistance training workout program
B) Followed an aerobic training program
C) Did not workout at all
These women were asked to follow a diet consisting of 800 Calories until they reduced their BMI down to less than 25 (The average 25 pounds of weight loss). The women continued this diet for as long as 5 months straight (not something I would personally recommend without being medically monitored).
The researchers found that the women who were following the resistance training workout program maintained their Fat Free Mass during the time they were on the diet. This means that even though they lost 25 pounds they were able to preserve their muscle mass. Therefore all 25 pounds that these women lost was fat!
They also found the group of women who were following the resistance training workout program preserved their metabolic rate. In other words they did not see any metabolic “slow down” as a result of losing 25 pounds, or from being on a 800 Calorie per day diet for 5 months!
Interestingly, the researchers found decreases in Fat Free Mass in the women who did not workout AND in the women who performed aerobic training.
More evidence that resistance training while following a weight reducing diet program can preserve lean mass and metabolic rate.
This is yet another example of why the Eat Stop Eat combination of flexible intermittent fasting and resistance training can help you lose fat without losing muscle or lowering your metabolism.
Brad Pilon is a nutrition professional with over eight years experience working in the nutritional supplement industry specializing in clinical research management and new product development. Brad has completed graduate studies in nutritional sciences specializing in the use of short term fasting for weight loss.
His trademarked book Eat Stop Eat has been featured on national television and helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat without sacrificing the foods they love. For more information on Eat Stop Eat, visit www.eatstopeat.com