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Starvation Mode - Adaptive Thermogenesis and Weight Loss

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  • EvgeniZyntxEvgeniZyntx Member Posts: 24,424 Member Member Posts: 24,424 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?

    Thanks for the questions.

    In the biosphere 2 study - It was found that at least 6 months after refeed, even when body weight had returned to normal, the TDEE was lower - but possibly this was due to the fact that the majority of the weight re-gain was fat.

    http://ejournals.ebsco.com/Direct.asp?AccessToken=959Q5IJ8X14KKMU1XZMIQJKUUMR48IMJXD&Show=Object&msid=-419407123

    For individuals that remain at the same level of leaness - there is this study:
    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/88/4/906.full.pdf+html

    The reduction in TDEE does recover and it is addressed in a lot the references they cite. But the duration, presence of TDEE drop, and recovery vary enormously and is a subject of discussion.
    We previously reported persistent reductions in EE—corrected for metabolic mass and age—in subjects maintaining a reduced body weight for periods of >3 mo after cessation of weight loss (3– 6, 37). These reductions in EE could reflect transient carryover of the metabolic consequences of negative energy balance or could be a reflection of physiologic responses to reduced body fat per se (or both). The distinction between these 2 possibilities is critical to an understanding of weight homeostasis in human subjects.

    The major finding of the present study is that there are similar, significant declines in TEE, NREE, and, to a lesser extent, REE in subjects maintaining a reduced body weight, regardless of whether that reduced weight has been maintained for weeks or years. In other words, bioenergetic responses to maintenance of a reduced body weight do not wane with time.

    Studies in this laboratory and elsewhere have previously reported significantly reduced energy requirements in obese women who had maintained a reduced weight for periods of 4 to 6 y (1) and in subjects who were stable at their reduced weight months after substantial weight loss (38). Other studies did not detect significant changes in EE corrected for changes in metabolic mass in weight-reduced subjects (23–27).

    A "large" deficit - yes, probably not clearly defined - VLCDs are diets that have calorie restriction to 800 cals. A large deficit is, I would assume, depends a lot on the starting point, duration, etc - I'm not sure there is a clear area here but let's say that anything beyond -30% TDEE is probably large. This is solely my assumption, I believe MFP goes with less and I welcome any references on this question.
  • EvgeniZyntxEvgeniZyntx Member Posts: 24,424 Member Member Posts: 24,424 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".

    It might be, but this is what is often confused by these two terms both in lay terms and even in the scientific literature. If you have different non-overlapping definitions that correspond to how people use the terms - please go ahead and post them.

    But the core of the info isn't about MA vs SM - I think that is a somewhat strerile debate but rather what is MA, what does it mean for the overweight person losing weight and how does it impact weight loss and do diet breaks help.
  • Camille0502Camille0502 Member Posts: 311 Member Member Posts: 311 Member
    bump. Thanks for taking the time.
  • 55in1355in13 Member Posts: 1,091 Member Member Posts: 1,091 Member
    In any of these studies you looked at, was there ever a point at which lowering consumption did not increase the deficit?

    The figures I had seen were in the 4% to 10% range, but accepting the study you found and referenced and bumping that up to 10% to 15% this means that someone eating at a computed deficit of 1000 calories below a 2500 TDEE may actually have a true deficit of only 625. I came up with that by subtracting 15% of 2500, assuming worst case impact on metabolism. A 625 calorie deficit should result in a loss of over a pound a week and certainly would not cause a plateau.
  • JestiniaJestinia Member Posts: 1,165 Member Member Posts: 1,165 Member
    Joy. By the time I'm finally done I'll have to seek out a breatharian to learn how to maintain. Or at very least a CRONy.
  • nomeejeromenomeejerome Member Posts: 2,616 Member Member Posts: 2,616 Member
    in to read later.
  • sunshine_gemsunshine_gem Member Posts: 390 Member Member Posts: 390 Member
    Bump to read again later. Fantastic post. Thanks!
  • dejamosdejamos Member Posts: 53 Member Member Posts: 53 Member
    Bump. Thanks for doing the work on this!
  • djthom2djthom2 Member Posts: 91 Member Member Posts: 91 Member
    A lot to take in at once, marking it for a reread. Thank you for posting
  • EvgeniZyntxEvgeniZyntx Member Posts: 24,424 Member Member Posts: 24,424 Member
    In any of these studies you looked at, was there ever a point at which lowering consumption did not increase the deficit?

    The figures I had seen were in the 4% to 10% range, but accepting the study you found and referenced and bumping that up to 10% to 15% this means that someone eating at a computed deficit of 1000 calories below a 2500 TDEE may actually have a true deficit of only 625. I came up with that by subtracting 15% of 2500, assuming worst case impact on metabolism. A 625 calorie deficit should result in a loss of over a pound a week and certainly would not cause a plateau.

    Remember that your TDEE also reduces as you lose weight normally, then add to that the further reduction from a depressed metabolism.

    Here, let's take someone like me as an example.

    Starting at 110 kgs with a body fat percent of 30% and relative little activity results in a TDEE of 2650 or so.
    A cut of 500 calories a day 3500 per week. Let's say I am eating at 2150 then.

    After a while, this might result in a 10% weight loss to 99 kgs with an improved bf of 25% (not unreasonable if I did don't do much to conserve LBM)

    The TDEE of the lean individual would be 2560 cals. What would be my depressed TDEE at this point? It would be about 2180 cals. Instead of having a deficit of 410 calories I would have only a deficit of 30 calories per day. Definitely "stall conditions" if I do not either "cut bigger" or work on LBM, take a pause, etc.

    (You can do these calcs from the Katch McArdle equation using - BMR = 370 + 21.6 * LBM and TDEE = 1.3 * BMR)

    One can always have a large enough deficit to avoid a stall - but can one mentally sustain it and is it worth the other effects on LBM, emotional, hormonal balance, etc.? I am not in these posts or others being prescriptive but trying to describe what happens.

    ETA: By the way the study reports adaptation at "Maintenance of a 10% or greater reduction in body weight in lean or obese individuals is accompanied by an approximate 20%-25% decline in 24-hour energy expenditure" And we are only using a 15% decline...

    ----

    Doing very large cuts in calories does work - people here post the success of cuting down to 1000 calories and even my own brother decided to reduce to 1200 calories and he lost a lot of weight like that but this has other impacts. He lost without any effort to maintain his LBM and by his own words he "looks like poo".

    I'm just looking at some of the things that happen along the way and why.

    ----

    Note that in the example I used above I can either increase my activity or retain LBM and that will hike up the TDEE in that example.

    I should graph those out...
  • delicious_cocktaildelicious_cocktail Member Posts: 5,834 Member Member Posts: 5,834 Member
    too early in the morning for this.
    but in to read later . . .
  • newstar44newstar44 Member Posts: 87 Member Member Posts: 87 Member
    Good info....bump for later reference. Thanks!
  • 4flamingoz4flamingoz Member, Premium Posts: 214 Member Member, Premium Posts: 214 Member
  • melhammelham Member Posts: 233 Member Member Posts: 233 Member
    It's refreshing to see researched and documented information floating like a buoy in the usual sea of "I heard thus-and-such from my brother's yoga instructor" and the like. Nicely done and appreciated, sir!
  • awlosing30awlosing30 Member Posts: 38 Member Posts: 38
    Awesome read...I must admit, I zonked out for a second when things got really confusing, but got right back into it. I think your reply to that post really summed it up for me as i'm on a1,000 c/day diet. I can feel my body needing less calories after a week. But, that means I need to work harder to keep it off. Thanks!
  • delicious_cocktaildelicious_cocktail Member Posts: 5,834 Member Member Posts: 5,834 Member
    It's refreshing to see researched and documented information floating like a buoy in the usual sea of "I heard thus-and-such from my brother's yoga instructor" and the like. Nicely done and appreciated, sir!

    Excuse me but is this a reference to my thread about the awesome weight loss secrets that I got my brother's Yogi, Schlomo Lipschitz? He has observed a definite weight loss correlation between keeping kosher and gentle stretching exercises.
  • stephv38stephv38 Member Posts: 203 Member Member Posts: 203 Member
    bump to read as soon as I can...
  • ElliInJapanElliInJapan Member Posts: 284 Member Member Posts: 284 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?

    Thanks for the questions.

    In the biosphere 2 study - It was found that at least 6 months after refeed, even when body weight had returned to normal, the TDEE was lower - but possibly this was due to the fact that the majority of the weight re-gain was fat.

    http://ejournals.ebsco.com/Direct.asp?AccessToken=959Q5IJ8X14KKMU1XZMIQJKUUMR48IMJXD&Show=Object&msid=-419407123

    For individuals that remain at the same level of leaness - there is this study:
    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/88/4/906.full.pdf+html

    The reduction in TDEE does recover and it is addressed in a lot the references they cite. But the duration, presence of TDEE drop, and recovery vary enormously and is a subject of discussion.
    We previously reported persistent reductions in EE—corrected for metabolic mass and age—in subjects maintaining a reduced body weight for periods of >3 mo after cessation of weight loss (3– 6, 37). These reductions in EE could reflect transient carryover of the metabolic consequences of negative energy balance or could be a reflection of physiologic responses to reduced body fat per se (or both). The distinction between these 2 possibilities is critical to an understanding of weight homeostasis in human subjects.

    The major finding of the present study is that there are similar, significant declines in TEE, NREE, and, to a lesser extent, REE in subjects maintaining a reduced body weight, regardless of whether that reduced weight has been maintained for weeks or years. In other words, bioenergetic responses to maintenance of a reduced body weight do not wane with time.

    Studies in this laboratory and elsewhere have previously reported significantly reduced energy requirements in obese women who had maintained a reduced weight for periods of 4 to 6 y (1) and in subjects who were stable at their reduced weight months after substantial weight loss (38). Other studies did not detect significant changes in EE corrected for changes in metabolic mass in weight-reduced subjects (23–27).

    A "large" deficit - yes, probably not clearly defined - VLCDs are diets that have calorie restriction to 800 cals. A large deficit is, I would assume, depends a lot on the starting point, duration, etc - I'm not sure there is a clear area here but let's say that anything beyond -30% TDEE is probably large. This is solely my assumption, I believe MFP goes with less and I welcome any references on this question.

    Thanks, Evgeni, that's a lot of info you've given. More and more questions pop up in my mind but it's probably better to read these links carefully and digest them a bit first.

    But I've got to say this: isn't it fascinating when what happens in reality isn't what equations predict? That's the good stuff. Nature is always much more complex and fascinating than our models. Now off to read...
  • scottaworleyscottaworley Member, Premium Posts: 871 Member Member, Premium Posts: 871 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".

    It might be, but this is what is often confused by these two terms both in lay terms and even in the scientific literature. If you have different non-overlapping definitions that correspond to how people use the terms - please go ahead and post them.

    But the core of the info isn't about MA vs SM - I think that is a somewhat strerile debate but rather what is MA, what does it mean for the overweight person losing weight and how does it impact weight loss and do diet breaks help.

    I feel that starvation mode is synonymous with metabolic damage. Metabolic damage, to my understanding, is severe and prolonged downward metabolic adaptation. Anyone who is dieting experiences metabolic adaptation to an extent. My problem with using the term "starvation mode" is that it is not descriptive of what is actually occurring and it leaves no room for downward adjustment. Someone could be eating 1800 calories and be in "starvation mode", but they still have room to move out of their adjusted TDEE, where as someone who is eating 900 calories and is not losing weight might actually have metabolic damage (and be in "starvation mode"). The latter has no room to adjust downwards and must begin adapting their metabolism upwards.
    It may be an argument of semantics, but I think that it would be beneficial for people on MFP to lay off of the term "starvation mode" except for in the most extreme cases of downward metabolic adaptation and focus on the more versatile and descriptive term of "metabolic adaptation".
  • diannethegeekdiannethegeek Member Posts: 14,777 Member Member Posts: 14,777 Member
    bump for later
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