How Not to Lose Fat - Starvation

October 27, 2011

A recent New York Times article discussed the issue of weight loss and people's inability to keep the weight they do lose, off.

They found that the hormones that regulate fat gain and fat loss did not revert back to normal after the study ended and thus, they got fat once again.

But in this study, the researchers make a huge mistake:

We enrolled 50 overweight or obese patients without diabetes in a 10-week weight-loss program for which a very-low-energy diet was prescribed.

In other words, they starved the subjects and screwed up their hormonal "tone." Nice.

Their conclusion:

One year after initial weight reduction, levels of the circulating mediators of appetite that encourage weight regain after diet-induced weight loss do not revert to the levels recorded before weight loss. Long-term strategies to counteract this change may be needed to prevent obesity relapse.

Hmm, long term strategies to counteract this change are needed. Lemme see. Hey! How about not starving people and screwing up their hormones in order to induce weight loss if, in fact, weight loss is mediated by hormones (which they are). Nifty idea, no?

Fact: You mess with people's hormones and you screw everything up.

This approach to weight loss is akin to conducting a study to induce muscle loss by taking a group of muscular men, injecting them with huge amounts of estrogen for 10 weeks, and record their muscle mass and a year later, wonder why their hormone levels are still not back to normal.

Just sayin...

This study is more proof of how the calories in/calories out idea in order to induce weight loss mucks up people's thinking. The researchers go into the study knowing that hormones rule the day yet, think nothing of the damage that is caused to those hormones when you starve people.


And it's not about weight loss anyway, is it? It's about fat loss. I wonder how much lean mass was lost in the subjects over the course of this study along with the fat. Bad researchers, bad!

I'm unable to get a hold of the full citation but when I do I'll post more about the design and results so stay tuned!