Decreased metabolism and the production of leptin, this is the rebound effect


Spring is the time when many people who have not practiced sport throughout the year and have not taken a healthy and balanced diet decide to go “to plan” because, watching the summer so close hurry to improve their figure. The extreme diets in which announce a massive weight loss in a short time are the order of the day and practically available to everyone.

The problem with these diets is that they have a “rebound effect” practically guaranteed : once we return to our normal routine (because they are temporary diets that we cannot go on much longer) tend to gain weight, often even more kilos of we had lost. What is this about? Not only our metabolism has slowed, but also produces less leptin (the hormone that regulates our appetite) and our brain plays against us.

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The biggest loser: The consequences of rapid weight loss

These safe heights that many of you know the American reality The biggest loser: a program in which people who are overweight or obese are held in a center where they have an extremely restrictive diet and exercise up to seven hours a day to be the person who more weight lost at the end of the program, all this, of course, followed by television cameras.

The fact that what is most valued in this program is see lower numbers on the scale regardless of the state of health of the person or other measures to be considered as the percentage of muscle mass or fat mass and should put us on warning about the dangers of the method.

Danny Cahill, who competed in the biggest loser in 2009 and was winner of editing, has been the person most weight lost in the program’s history: lost 108 kilos in seven months (an average of about 15 kilos per month). How did it and how it is now, seven years later?

The method chosen to massively lose weight quickly you can all imagine you: create a calorie deficit bestial (up to 3500 calories a day) based on a very low calorie diet and exercising kill. There is no mystery in this sense: if you spend more (much more) calories than you eat, the numbers on the scale drop. Now, at what cost?

Seven years later, it has conducted a study on the contestants of Season 8 program, the same in which participated Cahill, and all have regained enough weight (47 kilos more than at the end of editing in the case of Cahill, almost half of what he lost ).

One of the first conclusions reached with the study is that the basal metabolism of these people who have lost an enormous amount of weight in a short time has decreased brutal. This often happens: you lose weight fast and your metabolism slows. The problem is that, as they were recovering the kilos they had lost, the metabolism is not recovered.

The result: an even more restrictive diet just to keep us on our weight is required. In the case of Cahill, need to eat 800 calories less per day than a person of his size and weight only to prevent weight gain.

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One of the most important hormones to keep in mind when losing weight is leptin: also known as OB protein, leptin is one of those responsible when induce satiety, regulates our appetite and increases metabolic and caloric expenditure.

What happened with the production of leptin Cahill after his tremendous weight loss? Obviously also reduced, it is a normal effect. To start earning the lost kilos, leptin production also began to rise, but only reached half. This means that there is no effective regulation of appetite in Cahill: spend all day does not help the hungry in your current weight loss.

How to lose weight safely and no rebound effect?

In the fitness and nutrition, patience is a virtue. It is true that we live in a time when we want everything “here and now” we want to lose weight and we want it now, start on a Monday afternoon and see the results on Tuesday morning. And it does not work that way.

Instead of performing super restrictive diets that ruined our metabolism and, most likely, they will sweep our health, most important when weight loss is a change of habits in both our food and our physical activity.

Put ourselves in the hands of professionals of nutrition and exercise is something we cannot ignore. They help us to set realistic goals that go in line not only with a decrease in the numbers on the scale, but with improving our physical and mental health.

The change of habits maintained over time (not just three months a year with a view to summer) is the only way we lose weight and keep it off and turn our lifestyle healthier one.