Reverse Diet: Its 4 Epic Benefits and How It Works

Reverse dieting, an eating plan that either gradually increases your calorie intake in weeks or months or boosts up metabolism leading to the burning of body fat throughout a day (Trexler et al., 2014). This dieting plan is recommended for those who want to return to a normal eating pattern without gaining extra fat or weight. But most frequently bodybuilders follow this dietary plan. More importantly, some people claim that a reverse diet can reduce hunger, accelerate energy levels, and can result in weight loss. So, let’s start with how this reverse dieting plan works? 

How reverse dieting works? 

Reverse dieting can be started after normal dieting. In normal dieting, you have to decrease the calorie intake and after some time your body will adapt to this diet. Research describes that in normal dieting body slows down the metabolism to conserve energy (Redman et al., 2009, Fothergill et al., 2016)  

While in reverse dieting, you need to take extra calories after your regular diet. In reverse dieting, you must slowly add 50 to 1000 calories per week to your regular diet.  Research recommends that the reverse dieting period must continue up to 4 to 10 weeks. This 4 to 10-week diet period will allow you to understand your calorie intake level. Because protein intake highly depends upon your body weight rather than caloric consumption.

Once you will understand what food you must eat to get the right protein requirement without gaining extra weight. You can maintain weight then. In simple words, you first need to follow a diet plan then you need to reverse it by slowly increasing calorie intake but without gaining weight. Then your body will adapt to this diet.  

As research has shown that an increase in calorie intake boosts metabolism and helps in burning fat through simple activities like walking and fidgeting (Chung et al., 2018). Reverse dieting also maintains hormone levels like leptin which regulates your weight and appetite (Sainsbury et al., 2015, Trexler et al., 2014).

Research has provided evidence that leptin hormone (produced and excreted by fat cells) level decreases in case of reducing calorie intake and when its level falls, calorie-burning is reduced, and appetite increases (Friedman, 2011). That’s why some people get fat after leaving a normal diet plan. 

Benefits

Weight loss 

An increase in calorie intake and normalization of hormone levels can promote weight loss and weight maintenance (Levine, 2004, Mäestu et al., 2008, Hagmar et al., 2013). Reverse dieting also reduces the risk for binge eating which is most common among people on restrictive diets and bodybuilders. A reverse diet makes it easy for you to return to a normal diet (Goldfield et al., 2006, Mathes et al., 2009). For more weight loss assistance, visit our weight loss category here

More eating 

Reverse dieting allows you to eat more without gaining weight. This is especially important for those who were dieting for weeks or months. 

Hunger reduction 

Reducing calories and then balancing them maintains hormonal levels which affect hunger. These hormones can be leptin and ghrelin. Leptin represents feelings of fullness while ghrelin stimulates hunger feelings (Klok et al., 2007). 

Energy levels 

Diet for weeks and years can destroy your mood and also decreases energy levels (Harvie and Howell, 2017). Research suggests that dieting for a prolonged period can upset your mood (Calton, 2010) due to inadequate calorie intake. But reverse dieting allows you to replenish your calorie intake that can resolve such issues. 

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References: 

CALTON, J. B. 2010. Prevalence of micronutrient deficiency in popular diet plans. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 7, 24-24. 

CHUNG, N., PARK, M.-Y., KIM, J., PARK, H.-Y., HWANG, H., LEE, C.-H., HAN, J.-S., SO, J., PARK, J. & LIM, K. 2018. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT): a component of total daily energy expenditure. Journal of exercise nutrition & biochemistry, 22, 23-30. 

FOTHERGILL, E., GUO, J., HOWARD, L., KERNS, J. C., KNUTH, N. D., BRYCHTA, R., CHEN, K. Y., SKARULIS, M. C., WALTER, M., WALTER, P. J. & HALL, K. D. 2016. Persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after “The Biggest Loser” competition. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 24, 1612-1619. 

FRIEDMAN, J. M. 2011. Leptin and the regulation of body weight. Keio J Med, 60, 1-9. 

GOLDFIELD, G. S., BLOUIN, A. G. & WOODSIDE, D. B. 2006. Body image, binge eating, and bulimia nervosa in male bodybuilders. Can J Psychiatry, 51, 160-8. 

HAGMAR, M., BERGLUND, B., BRISMAR, K. & HIRSCHBERG, A. L. 2013. Body composition and endocrine profile of male Olympic athletes striving for leanness. Clin J Sports Med, 23, 197-201. 

HARVIE, M. & HOWELL, A. 2017. Potential Benefits and Harms of Intermittent Energy Restriction and Intermittent Fasting Amongst Obese, Overweight and Normal Weight Subjects-A Narrative Review of Human and Animal Evidence. Behavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland), 7, 4. 

KLOK, M. D., JAKOBSDOTTIR, S. & DRENT, M. L. 2007. The role of leptin and ghrelin in the regulation of food intake and body weight in humans: a review. Obes Rev, 8, 21-34. 

LEVINE, J. A. 2004. Nonexercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT): environment and biology. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, 286, E675-85. 

MÄESTU, J., JÜRIMÄE, J., VALTER, I. & JÜRIMÄE, T. 2008. Increases in ghrelin and decreases in leptin without altering adiponectin during extreme weight loss in male competitive bodybuilders. Metabolism, 57, 221-5. 

MATHES, W. F., BROWNLEY, K. A., MO, X. & BULIK, C. M. 2009. The biology of binge eating. Appetite, 52, 545-553. 

REDMAN, L. M., HEILBRONN, L. K., MARTIN, C. K., DE JONGE, L., WILLIAMSON, D. A., DELANY, J. P. & RAVUSSIN, E. 2009. Metabolic and behavioral compensations in response to caloric restriction: implications for the maintenance of weight loss. PLoS One, 4, e4377. 

SAINSBURY, A., EVANS, I. R., WOOD, R. E., SEIMON, R. V., KING, N. A., HILLS, A. P. & BYRNE, N. M. 2015. Effect of a 4-week weight maintenance diet on circulating hormone levels: implications for clinical weight-loss trials. Clin Obes, 5, 79-86. 

TREXLER, E. T., SMITH-RYAN, A. E. & NORTON, L. E. 2014. Metabolic adaptation to weight loss: implications for the athlete. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 11, 7-7. 

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