These days, there are so many different diets out there. Some are for losing weight, some for gaining muscle, others just for staying healthy. It’s easy to get lost. The metabolic confusion diet is meant to help you lose weight but it’s much more different than other weight loss diets. The metabolic confusion diet aims to manipulate your body’s metabolic rate (the rate at which you burn calories) so that you could eat more calories but still lose weight.
This diet has been growing in popularity tremendously lately because people claim that it helps you lose weight better than any other diet. However, how much truth is there in that statement? What is metabolic confusion exactly and how does it work? Is it really better than other weight loss diets? Let’s explore.
What is Metabolic Confusion ?
You probably know one or two people who can eat as much as they want and never gain weight. This is because they have a high metabolic rate. The metabolic confusion diet seeks to artificially increase your metabolic rate so that you could eat more calories and lose weight or at least not gain weight.
The metabolic confusion diet is often called calorie shifting. This is because you switch up your caloric intake and have a certain number of low-calorie and high-calorie days. For instance, your metabolic confusion plan can be eating low-calorie for a week and then high-calorie for two days. Or your metabolic confusion plan can be eating low-calorie for several weeks and then high-calorie for one week. The point in all of this is to “trick” your body into keeping a high metabolic rate.
Other weight loss diets focus on restricting your caloric intake and losing weight merely through a caloric deficit. However, this may not always be effective and we’ll get to that soon. The metabolic confusion diet is different. There is no strict amount of calories you should have on your high-calorie or low-calorie days.
The point is just to alternate between high-calorie and low-calorie days to increase your metabolic rate. The metabolic confusion diet is said to feel more natural than other weight loss diets because it is more flexible and you don’t feel as restricted even on low-calorie days. For this reason, many people choose the metabolic confusion diet instead of other stricter diets.
Does metabolic confusion work for weight loss?
Combined with exercise, the metabolic confusion diet may be effective for weight loss. However, while this diet allows for more calories to be consumed than the average weight loss diet, it’s still important to be in a caloric deficit to lose weight.
There isn’t yet much evidence to suggest that the metabolic confusion diet can increase your metabolic rate. However, it can prevent it from slowing down, which is just as important. You see, in regular calorie restriction diets, your metabolic rate usually goes down. This is because of metabolic adaptation. Metabolic adaptation is the way your body switches up its metabolic rate in response to diet and lifestyle changes.
In this study by Trexler et. al on weight loss in athletes, it is stated that due to metabolic adaptation (which, in this case, results in a slower metabolic rate), it is more difficult to sustainably lose weight even if you are in a caloric deficit.
With the metabolic confusion diet, you are not continuously eating very low amounts of calories. The high-calorie days help balance out your metabolism and prevent it from slowing down.
This study by Davoodi et. al compares a calorie shifting diet with a calorie restriction diet. It concludes that those following the calorie shifting diet had stable metabolic rates, compared to slower metabolic rates in those following the calorie restriction diet. In addition, those following the calorie shifting diet lost more weight and were much more satisfied and less hungry than those following the calorie restriction diet.
More research should be done on the metabolic confusion diet to conclude for certain that it is effective for weight loss. However, existing research suggests that calorie shifting may be a much more sustainable and easier way to lose weight than merely restricting calories.
What are the benefits of metabolic confusion?
There are several benefits of the metabolic confusion diet and reasons to choose this diet over others. First off, with the metabolic confusion diet, you feel more satisfied and less hungry than you would following other diets. This is because during the high-calorie days, you fill up and compensate for the low-calorie days.
Plus, the metabolic confusion diet should be easier to follow than other weight loss diets. With regular calorie restriction diets, you eat very few calories, feel weak, and often give up because you can’t take it anymore. With metabolic confusion, you know exactly when you’ll get to eat more calories. Knowing that high-calorie days are coming can help you stay motivated.
The metabolic confusion diet may also be more sustainable in the medium term. If you “train” your metabolism not to slow down, then once you stop following the diet, you may still feel the effects. However, your metabolism will go back to its original rate eventually.
What about the downsides?
The metabolic confusion diet is still a fairly new phenomenon and there isn’t enough research done on it yet. We don’t know for certain if it’s as effective as existing research suggests and we also don’t know the long-term effects of such a diet are on one’s health.
Also, once you stop following the diet, your metabolism will bounce back to its original rate, which can result in weight gain. The process may be slower than with other diets but still, with time, it will probably happen.
This is why when trying to lose weight, you should stick to more sustainable options and make eating healthy and exercising a regular part of your routine.
All in all, the metabolic confusion diet may be a very effective tool for losing weight. However, results may be short-lived if you go back to your regular lifestyle. To maintain the results of this diet for good, you need to make sustainable changes in your lifestyle: start eating clean and exercising consistently. This way, you’ll not only ensure you stay at a healthy weight but you’ll also feel much stronger and healthier!