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News | October 13, 2023

 Strategies such as intermittent fasting, low carb, fasting aerobics and carbohydrate restriction in one period of the day (morning or evening) are not superior to conventional strategies, such as aerobics without fasting, eating frequently and low fat diet (according to most evidence). For more conservative professionals, this may mean that they are useless and should not be used.

In my point of view, this type of mentality is also mistaken, as it ignores aspects that are often not taken into account in studies, such as individual response, adherence and adaptations in metabolism with weight loss. The first two are often taken into consideration, the last rarely. In other words, changing the diet strategy during a weight loss process can promote different results compared to what would be expected when using the same strategy in a normal situation, when the person is starting a weight loss process.

Strategies that cycle carbohydrates and calories take these metabolic dynamics into account, otherwise we should just advocate a calorie deficit for everyone and increase energy expenditure with physical activity. There is no doubt that energy deficit is the most important thing to promote weight/fat loss, but focusing only on this simplistic strategy is also a mistake, as the more weight you lose, the greater the effects of metabolic adaptations, which make the our metabolism slows down (adaptive thermogenesis) and increases our hunger (reduction in leptin, increase in ghrelin, etc.). These physiological adaptations make large weight losses difficult and favor weight regain (accordion effect).

 This does not mean that fancy strategies are necessary for weight loss. At the beginning of a weight loss process, the basics work very well, because for a sedentary individual with poor eating habits, simple adjustments to the diet and physical activity already make a big difference, improving insulin sensitivity, satiety and promoting deficit energy. Furthermore, a strategy that leads to a radical change in diet tends to promote little adherence in the long term. Strategies mentioned at the beginning can be very useful in weight loss if they consider individual response and adherence.

Nutritionist Erick Pinheiro 


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