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Starvation Mode - Adaptive Thermogenesis and Weight Loss

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  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 31,285 Member Member Posts: 31,285 Member
    I post here so I can find it again. Much love to you. :heart:
  • maeveslimmaeveslim Member Posts: 70 Member Member Posts: 70 Member
  • Fullsterkur_womanFullsterkur_woman Member Posts: 2,712 Member Member Posts: 2,712 Member
    This is fantastic stuff; thanks! So, possibly a "deload" for your calorie restriction is in order, just as a deload for your exercise program can be helpful?

    I eat a very small deficit, clearly, as I average less than 1/2 lb. a week lost. And my Body Media Fit armband appears to overestimate my burn by... 14%. You guessed it, I previously have lost sizeable poundage on multiple occasions with deficits lasting longer than 6 months. I know the plural of anecdote is not data, but still.

    I think the biggest takeaway for me is, don't go by what equations tell you "should" be happening. Log your food intake and energy expenditure, log your weight changes, and compare the results. Seems like the only way to be truly successful.
  • KDCrockerKDCrocker Member Posts: 12 Member Member Posts: 12 Member
  • RLDeShazoRLDeShazo Member Posts: 387 Member Member Posts: 387 Member
  • grim_travellergrim_traveller Member Posts: 624 Member Member Posts: 624 Member
  • jetscreaminagainjetscreaminagain Member Posts: 1,159 Member Member Posts: 1,159 Member
    You're wicked smart. It's sexy.
  • Brige2269Brige2269 Member Posts: 375 Member Member Posts: 375 Member
    hold to read at home later, thanks.
  • jennie1799jennie1799 Member Posts: 6 Member Posts: 6
  • sun_fishsun_fish Member Posts: 864 Member Member Posts: 864 Member
  • EvgeniZyntxEvgeniZyntx Member Posts: 24,424 Member Member Posts: 24,424 Member
    ETA - BTW, I am one of those annoying people who did the drastic cut, lost nearly 2 pounds a week consistently for about 4 months, upped to lose slower a little while and then adjusted to maintenance after a 55 pound loss. I think I need some toning, but I do not "look like poo". I don't seem to have altered my metabolic rate significantly; calculators are pretty close on what I need to maintain.

    Addressing your ETA.

    Glad your loss worked - and congrats on your successful results. Did you evaluate your metabolic function (actual not just claculated) prior to your loss or did you just cut - because without that prior analysis you can't really tell how you have or not modified your metabolism.

    As to the "poo" comment - it wasn't intended as a disparaging comment on all those that lose quickly - it was my brother's comment on his own weight loss. He's been more successful in total pounds lost - he is now struggling to deal with bf% (and so am I but from a different starting point.)

    So, let's assume for discussion sake, that you have not had any negative metabolic effect (even if you didn't actually do a study at the start...), do you think:

    - perhaps it did happen but I don't know my start point.
    - certain it didn't happen and perhaps the reason is the re-feed taper.
    - certain it didn't happen and perhaps the reason is xxx.
    - certain it didn't happen and I have no idea why.

    I'm a curious person...
    I don't know my start point, so I can't honestly get past the first point. The point of the taper was more about still eating with discipline and a goal (mental/emotional reasons) rather than thinking I was adjusting my metabolism. I was also concerned that I was getting close to the tipping point where the fat stores could not metabolize fast enough to provide the energy at a big deficit, using the 31.4 calories per pound of fat per day calculation. I wanted to limit LBM loss.

    Ok, i wanted to get back to you on the 31.4 calories thing.

    There is an understanding that the limit of calories that can be transfered from the human fat stores while not eating. I had to go back to a few articles and see where this comes from because something was bthering me in many of the on line sources where this is quoted.

    Here is the thing - this 31.4 calories/day limit of energy per pound of fat from oxidation comes from this article:

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022519304004175

    Which states:
    A dietary restriction which exceeds the limited capability of the fat store to compensate for the energy deficiency results in an immediate decrease in the fat free mass (FFM). In cases of a less severe dietary deficiency, the FFM will not be depleted.

    That's an akward phrase at best with the "will not be depleted" -does that mean will not be used? Is muscle and bound amino acids somehow protected below that limit? What does the article say, actually?

    Well, unfortunately the article isn't available but you can see from the graphs that

    a) the data is from research in the '50s
    b) its a mathematical model trying to best fit data
    c) while beyond that limit FFM is mostly used, there is still FFM loss under that limit...

    How do we know that?

    I quote:
    The solution shows a steady-state term which is in agreement with conventional ideas, a term indicating a slow decrease of much of the FFM moderated by the limited energy transferred from the fat store, and a final term showing an unprotected rapid decrease of the remaining part of the FFM

    In bolded - this means that non-fat, LBM is still slowly being used but is partially protected by the energy store transfer from fat. While, once that limit is reached and fat can't give out more energy (the tap is open to full), the rest comes from catabolism.

    So, the 31.4 limit does not fully protect LBM - it's still a good idea to do progressive training.

    Hope that helps.

    edit: And I must thank you - as far as it is a math model and the data might be open to question, it does give an idea of what is going on at large deficits. If you calculate it out for the average person - at a deficit beyond of 800-1200 under TDEE results in additional loss only from muscle stores...
  • EvgeniZyntxEvgeniZyntx Member Posts: 24,424 Member Member Posts: 24,424 Member
    Great post! So after reading, am I right in distilling it down to the following key points?

    1. When you reach your goal weight, you will require fewer calories to maintain than someone who's 'naturally' that weight and hasn't dieted to get there.
    2. You can mitigate the above problem by either building muscle whilst dieting or taking breaks from dieting to eat at maintenance for a bit.

    Pretty much on the mark.

    Caveat: Buidling muscle while dieting is quite hard, so let's say maintaining muscle - in order to do so one can best practice a smaller deficit (at a smaller deficit loss is more from energy reserves in fat stores) and/or progressive resistance to drive muscle retention and, when possible, build muscle. Greater muscle mass is built during calorie excess, otherwise muscle building is very limited.

    Thanks all for the positive feedback - I'll try to adress other questions or points later.
  • QuarxsQuarxs Member Posts: 8 Member Posts: 8
    Also, if it takes a minimum of 6 month for the metabolism to adjust upwards after Adaptive Thermogenesis, the eat more to lose movement should be non-existent. So, is there something other than Adaptive Thermogenesis happening when people talk about starvation mode on here, or are we looking at a lot of coincidental evidence, and those people were just temporarily stuck and would've started losing again anyway?
    I may take some heat for this, but I believe a lot of people who report no loss at low calorie levels are not truly consuming what they say. Many use "net" calories which means they are "eating back" exercise calories which are often over estimated, and the effect of the metabolic rate slowing a bit makes that even worse. Many are just flat out lying. That's the elephant in the room with a lot of discussions on this forum.
    Yes, I agree and would also assume errors in logging if people are not losing on a deficit. Still, those people turning around, eating more and starting to lose pounds immediately now makes even less sense than before. But maybe, like Steelysunshine suggests, this can also be explained by somewhat inaccurate logging (of exercise, in that case). It would be nice to have a clear picture of what is happening, because the blanket advice of not losing?-starvation mode!-eat more!! I see on the forum so often could be potentially very damaging.
  • hif123hif123 Member Posts: 19 Member Member Posts: 19 Member
    great piece. bump
  • 55in1355in13 Member Posts: 1,091 Member Member Posts: 1,091 Member
    ETA - BTW, I am one of those annoying people who did the drastic cut, lost nearly 2 pounds a week consistently for about 4 months, upped to lose slower a little while and then adjusted to maintenance after a 55 pound loss. I think I need some toning, but I do not "look like poo". I don't seem to have altered my metabolic rate significantly; calculators are pretty close on what I need to maintain.

    Addressing your ETA.

    Glad your loss worked - and congrats on your successful results. Did you evaluate your metabolic function (actual not just claculated) prior to your loss or did you just cut - because without that prior analysis you can't really tell how you have or not modified your metabolism.

    As to the "poo" comment - it wasn't intended as a disparaging comment on all those that lose quickly - it was my brother's comment on his own weight loss. He's been more successful in total pounds lost - he is now struggling to deal with bf% (and so am I but from a different starting point.)

    So, let's assume for discussion sake, that you have not had any negative metabolic effect (even if you didn't actually do a study at the start...), do you think:

    - perhaps it did happen but I don't know my start point.
    - certain it didn't happen and perhaps the reason is the re-feed taper.
    - certain it didn't happen and perhaps the reason is xxx.
    - certain it didn't happen and I have no idea why.

    I'm a curious person...
    I don't know my start point, so I can't honestly get past the first point. The point of the taper was more about still eating with discipline and a goal (mental/emotional reasons) rather than thinking I was adjusting my metabolism. I was also concerned that I was getting close to the tipping point where the fat stores could not metabolize fast enough to provide the energy at a big deficit, using the 31.4 calories per pound of fat per day calculation. I wanted to limit LBM loss.

    Ok, i wanted to get back to you on the 31.4 calories thing.

    There is an understanding that the limit of calories that can be transfered from the human fat stores while not eating. I had to go back to a few articles and see where this comes from because something was bthering me in many of the on line sources where this is quoted.

    Here is the thing - this 31.4 calories/day limit of energy per pound of fat from oxidation comes from this article:

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022519304004175

    Which states:
    A dietary restriction which exceeds the limited capability of the fat store to compensate for the energy deficiency results in an immediate decrease in the fat free mass (FFM). In cases of a less severe dietary deficiency, the FFM will not be depleted.

    That's an akward phrase at best with the "will not be depleted" -does that mean will not be used? Is muscle and bound amino acids somehow protected below that limit? What does the article say, actually?

    Well, unfortunately the article isn't available but you can see from the graphs that

    a) the data is from research in the '50s
    b) its a mathematical model trying to best fit data
    c) while beyond that limit FFM is mostly used, there is still FFM loss under that limit...

    How do we know that?

    I quote:
    The solution shows a steady-state term which is in agreement with conventional ideas, a term indicating a slow decrease of much of the FFM moderated by the limited energy transferred from the fat store, and a final term showing an unprotected rapid decrease of the remaining part of the FFM

    In bolded - this means that non-fat, LBM is still slowly being used but is partially protected by the energy store transfer from fat. While, once that limit is reached and fat can't give out more energy (the tap is open to full), the rest comes from catabolism.

    So, the 31.4 limit does not fully protect LBM - it's still a good idea to do progressive training.

    Hope that helps.

    edit: And I must thank you - as far as it is a math model and the data might be open to question, it does give an idea of what is going on at large deficits. If you calculate it out for the average person - at a deficit beyond of 800-1200 under TDEE results in additional loss only from muscle stores...
    I have seen a summary that an active (or at least he was) poster did on various studies and the weight lost by overweight or obese people is always mostly fat but also always includes some LBM. Using electronically measured BF% at the beginning and end of my loss I calculated mine was over 75% fat, which is actually on the low end of the averages he reported. 80% is more common and 90% is about the top end. The LBM lost is not all muscle; my understanding is that it is mostly connecting tissue and blood vessels that supported the lost fat mass (this is with the caveat that you are not asking the body to produce more energy than the fat stores can release). Another bit of math to throw into that is that while a pound of fat provides roughly 3500 calories, muscle only provides 600. So when someone says a loss is mostly muscle, you can run the numbers on deficit and rate of loss to see if that is possible (usually not).

    ETA - I have been told that the electronic measure (handheld at the Y) is probably inaccurate and that it is likely that I lost a higher % fat than I reported, especially since I am fairly pleased with what was left on my frame. But I only have the suspect numbers that compute 75% to work with.
  • 55in1355in13 Member Posts: 1,091 Member Member Posts: 1,091 Member
    One important point. Most of the discussion hinges around this:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3673773/

    which is an article that pulls together data from a lot of sources. If you look through the references in that study you will find studies that are of various sizes and articles and text books. Some of the assumptions made are based on theories. There seems to be some pretty good basis for the theories and I am not trying to discredit the article, but I did want to point out that this is not a stone tablet of undeniable information. It is a theory that has a lot of evidence behind it.
  • BerryHBerryH Member Posts: 4,713 Member Member Posts: 4,713 Member
    SCIENCE!

    Thanks, that was awesome :flowerforyou:

    As well as basing a personal fat-loss programme on peer-reviewed research as referenced here, scientific MFP users would do well to also employ the empirical principle, observing, measuring and recording intake, expenditure against results (weight, fat percentage or measurements etc.) achieved.

    I'm a firm believer in putting yourself at minimal discomfort to get the results required - the less hungry and exhausted I am, the longer I'll stick with it. Without a metabolic lab to hand, the best way to do that is to find your own "sweet spot" and adjust accordingly as you observe the effects on your own gradually-changing TDEE.
  • Chellody22Chellody22 Member Posts: 95 Member Member Posts: 95 Member
    Bump for later
  • EvgeniZyntxEvgeniZyntx Member Posts: 24,424 Member Member Posts: 24,424 Member
    ETA - BTW, I am one of those annoying people who did the drastic cut, lost nearly 2 pounds a week consistently for about 4 months, upped to lose slower a little while and then adjusted to maintenance after a 55 pound loss. I think I need some toning, but I do not "look like poo". I don't seem to have altered my metabolic rate significantly; calculators are pretty close on what I need to maintain.

    Addressing your ETA.

    Glad your loss worked - and congrats on your successful results. Did you evaluate your metabolic function (actual not just claculated) prior to your loss or did you just cut - because without that prior analysis you can't really tell how you have or not modified your metabolism.

    As to the "poo" comment - it wasn't intended as a disparaging comment on all those that lose quickly - it was my brother's comment on his own weight loss. He's been more successful in total pounds lost - he is now struggling to deal with bf% (and so am I but from a different starting point.)

    So, let's assume for discussion sake, that you have not had any negative metabolic effect (even if you didn't actually do a study at the start...), do you think:

    - perhaps it did happen but I don't know my start point.
    - certain it didn't happen and perhaps the reason is the re-feed taper.
    - certain it didn't happen and perhaps the reason is xxx.
    - certain it didn't happen and I have no idea why.

    I'm a curious person...
    I don't know my start point, so I can't honestly get past the first point. The point of the taper was more about still eating with discipline and a goal (mental/emotional reasons) rather than thinking I was adjusting my metabolism. I was also concerned that I was getting close to the tipping point where the fat stores could not metabolize fast enough to provide the energy at a big deficit, using the 31.4 calories per pound of fat per day calculation. I wanted to limit LBM loss.

    Ok, i wanted to get back to you on the 31.4 calories thing.

    There is an understanding that the limit of calories that can be transfered from the human fat stores while not eating. I had to go back to a few articles and see where this comes from because something was bthering me in many of the on line sources where this is quoted.

    Here is the thing - this 31.4 calories/day limit of energy per pound of fat from oxidation comes from this article:

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022519304004175

    Which states:
    A dietary restriction which exceeds the limited capability of the fat store to compensate for the energy deficiency results in an immediate decrease in the fat free mass (FFM). In cases of a less severe dietary deficiency, the FFM will not be depleted.

    That's an akward phrase at best with the "will not be depleted" -does that mean will not be used? Is muscle and bound amino acids somehow protected below that limit? What does the article say, actually?

    Well, unfortunately the article isn't available but you can see from the graphs that

    a) the data is from research in the '50s
    b) its a mathematical model trying to best fit data
    c) while beyond that limit FFM is mostly used, there is still FFM loss under that limit...

    How do we know that?

    I quote:
    The solution shows a steady-state term which is in agreement with conventional ideas, a term indicating a slow decrease of much of the FFM moderated by the limited energy transferred from the fat store, and a final term showing an unprotected rapid decrease of the remaining part of the FFM

    In bolded - this means that non-fat, LBM is still slowly being used but is partially protected by the energy store transfer from fat. While, once that limit is reached and fat can't give out more energy (the tap is open to full), the rest comes from catabolism.

    So, the 31.4 limit does not fully protect LBM - it's still a good idea to do progressive training.

    Hope that helps.

    edit: And I must thank you - as far as it is a math model and the data might be open to question, it does give an idea of what is going on at large deficits. If you calculate it out for the average person - at a deficit beyond of 800-1200 under TDEE results in additional loss only from muscle stores...
    I have seen a summary that an active (or at least he was) poster did on various studies and the weight lost by overweight or obese people is always mostly fat but also always includes some LBM. Using electronically measured BF% at the beginning and end of my loss I calculated mine was over 75% fat, which is actually on the low end of the averages he reported. 80% is more common and 90% is about the top end. The LBM lost is not all muscle; my understanding is that it is mostly connecting tissue and blood vessels that supported the lost fat mass (this is with the caveat that you are not asking the body to produce more energy than the fat stores can release). Another bit of math to throw into that is that while a pound of fat provides roughly 3500 calories, muscle only provides 600. So when someone says a loss is mostly muscle, you can run the numbers on deficit and rate of loss to see if that is possible (usually not).

    ETA - I have been told that the electronic measure (handheld at the Y) is probably inaccurate and that it is likely that I lost a higher % fat than I reported, especially since I am fairly pleased with what was left on my frame. But I only have the suspect numbers that compute 75% to work with.

    Most fat loss is held in cellular adipose cells and not an actual loss of tissue - so while you are correct in assuming that connective tissue is lost - think of it more as extracellular interconnective tissue (micro) rather than large vascularizations (macro). Larger organizational tissue losses do occur but from my experience (personal lab work) they are overshadowed by that. Also, bone restructuring is a real phenomena and collagen loss also occurs there (90%) with some hydroxyapatite loss and "other stuff".

    If the electronic measure is inaccurate (it is) it doesn't necessarily mean you lost more, necessarily. Just that there is a + or - to each reading that is significant. So your loss might have been 75% fat +- the cummulative error of both readings. I'd hang on to your numbers. It's still a basis to work with.

    I can't say I have better data - I use a scale to calc %fat and the military on-line calc. Given that, I've gained 4-5 kgs of muscle in a year while losing 11 kgs of weight overall, obviously not at the same time but by cycling up and down (or "spinning my wheels" as some would say...)
  • 55in1355in13 Member Posts: 1,091 Member Member Posts: 1,091 Member
    If the electronic measure is inaccurate (it is) it doesn't necessarily mean you lost more, necessarily. Just that there is a + or - to each reading that is significant. So your loss might have been 75% fat +- the cummulative error of both readings. I'd hang on to your numbers. It's still a basis to work with.
    No, it doesn't necessarily mean I lost more fat than I computed but my biased observation trends in that direction. :bigsmile: Since most people seem to lose a higher % BF than that and I am happy with the results, I think I did as well or better than average, if that makes any sense. But the flawed data I have doesn't support it. :huh:
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