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Starvation Mode - Adaptive Thermogenesis and Weight Loss

EvgeniZyntxEvgeniZyntx Posts: 24,424Member Member Posts: 24,424Member Member
I’ve read many times that Starvation Mode is a myth or that it isn’t - while this irks me, it isn’t sufficient to push me to just add more noise to the debate. I recently read an interesting article that reviewed different aspects of adaptive thermogenesis, thinking it might be of interest to others, I’ve written a summary.

Broken into several posts, this covers the Starvation Mode Myth and Reality, some of the (mis)definition, then focus on adaptive thermogenesis and how it can affect real people trying to lose weight and hopefully some practical day to day aspects.

While I can’t guarantee you’ll learn something new, my intent is to present information that isn’t generally covered in an easy to read format and I know I learned something from writing this.

I hope it is useful to you.

Given the forum format, I’ve broken this into several posts and created in each a “too long; didn’t read” section.

I'll also thank the individuals that helped me get this together and, in particular LiftAllThePizzas, sjohnny, McB for by providing content input, questions or editing support.


  • PepperWormPepperWorm Posts: 1,213Member Posts: 1,213Member
    Great tips. Thanks!
  • OphidionOphidion Posts: 2,082Member Member Posts: 2,082Member Member
    bump Good stuff! highest of fives for writing this thread and doing the research.
  • scottaworleyscottaworley Posts: 871Member, Premium Member Posts: 871Member, Premium Member
    Metabolic adaptation =/= starvation mode.

    ETA: While I think we would agree on the concept of metabolic adaptation, I think that it is dangerous to call metabolic adaptation "starvation mode".
  • sijomialsijomial Posts: 16,141Member Member Posts: 16,141Member Member
    Fascinating – thank you.
  • ILiftHeavyAcrylicsILiftHeavyAcrylics Posts: 28,132Member Member Posts: 28,132Member Member
    Great post!


    I love seeing research attached.
  • LeanneGoingThinLeanneGoingThin Posts: 215Member Member Posts: 215Member Member
    Interesting, thank you.
  • almc170almc170 Posts: 1,110Member Member Posts: 1,110Member Member
    Great post, thanks!
  • ElliInJapanElliInJapan Posts: 284Member Member Posts: 284Member Member
    That's a great post, thank you for writing it! This whole "starvation mode" thing was always confusing to me. Are there any data whether this reduction in TDEE changes with time? (in terms of years I mean, assuming that the individual remains at the same level of leanness

    ETA: Also, another question: what is considered a "large" deficit? (how is it defined?) I think VLCD are at ~800kcal, where do the so common 1200kcal diets fall?
  • BeachIronBeachIron Posts: 6,517Member Member Posts: 6,517Member Member
    Thank you for posting this. :drinker:
  • Maaike84Maaike84 Posts: 211Member Member Posts: 211Member Member
    thanks for this, very informative!!
  • CranquistadorCranquistador Posts: 39,842Member Member Posts: 39,842Member Member
  • MrBeckyMrBecky Posts: 55Member Member Posts: 55Member Member
    A good read and thanks for referencing and laying it out so well!
  • BeachGingerOnTheRocksBeachGingerOnTheRocks Posts: 3,988Member Member Posts: 3,988Member Member
    Thank you for compiling all this together into one post. I do think "starvation mode" is an overused and misunderstood term on MFP, and it is very helpful to understand what it happening and why there is a real need for going slow with weight loss. Thank you!
  • ihadihad Posts: 7,506Member Member Posts: 7,506Member Member
    Great writeup. This will be very valuable for many people.
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