Myfitnesspal

Message Boards General Health, Fitness and Diet
You are currently viewing the message boards in:

The Starvation Mode Myth...again.

1235713

Replies

  • alexrenner2013alexrenner2013 Member Posts: 16 Member Posts: 16
    I feel as if the idea of starvation is a myth. I fasted for long periods of time, would eat as little as possible and only gained. this post helped explain things a lot.
  • NataBostNataBost Member Posts: 428 Member Member Posts: 428 Member
    Starvation mode is not a myth.
    Raspberry ketones work wonders.
    Strength training for women will make them grow chest hair.
    Bigfoot does exist and owns a condo near Area 51.
    Live long and prosper.

    But what about that dang banana that goes black?
  • msknicmsknic Member Posts: 1 Member Posts: 1
    Currently attempting the 5:2 Fast Diet - a diet that is backed up by solid research. I'm sooooo tired of hearing people say that I'm sending my body into "starvation mode". Thanks for the insight into the Minnesota study research and for some solid, facts based information.
  • debycolesdebycoles Member Posts: 8 Member Member Posts: 8 Member
    Thank you all for posting links to the actual scientific research and results. I too get highly irritated by MFP telling me everyday that I am not eating enough and am in starvation mode.

    I have a rare genetic condition that requires me to keep my metabolism very low with drugs to prevent stokes and paralysis. Working along with my endocrinologist a careful record of my eating habits over the last 18 months has revealed my maintenance level to be at around 800 eaten calories a day. Any more and I pile on the weight at a rate of knots!

    After 3 months of 'being on a diet' and eating around 1200 calories a day as recommended, I gained 20+ pounds.

    So all the chat on here with people saying other people are overweight and can't lose it because they don't eat enough is extremely upsetting and misguided. Apparently its my own fault I'm fat for putting my body into starvation mode - if I ate 1200 calories a day I would lose weight easily apparently! Bunkum.

    I appreciate all the comments on here with actual data and research and thanks to those people who are sensible enough to say that everyones circumstances and calorific requirements are different. Setting a 1200 min a day requirement for everyone is crazy and appears not be be based on any fact at all.
    Well I got a bit off topic, but I just wanted to say that 800 calories a day does not put me into any kind of starvation mode, so mind your own business with your lecture every day MFP.
  • em1821em1821 Member Posts: 9 Member Member Posts: 9 Member
  • sati18sati18 Member Posts: 164 Member Member Posts: 164 Member
    bumped and saved - very very useful thank you
  • WalkingAlongWalkingAlong Member Posts: 4,926 Member Member Posts: 4,926 Member
    I applaud your efforts, but starvation mode will never die on mfp


    It will certainly never die as long as MFP spins this yarn - "*Based on your total calories consumed for today, you are eating too few calories. Not only is it difficult to receive adequate nutrition at these calorie levels, but you could also be putting your body into starvation mode. Starvation mode lowers your metabolism and makes weight loss more difficult. We suggest increasing your calorie consumption to 1200 calories per day minimum."

    If this so called 'starvation mode' exists - why were the people in WW2 camps, and why are anorexics, like walking skeletons? Certainly all these people were/are very, very ill and malnourished, but it did NOT happen because their calorie intake went under 1200 for a few days.

    Does it? Jesus! They need to rethink this big time!


    I think we should start a petition to take that nonsense down!!! They could still have the warning, but just take out all the starvation mode bs.

    "

    It should definitely be taken down! It flashes this up even if it's only for ONE day and I have eaten 1150 cals!!
    But then people would lose their weight and be on their way, not stuck in the forums arguing for eternity, and dieting for eternity at some tiny deficit they're terrified of upping, seeing the ads that keep MFP going.
  • muffinkissesxxxmuffinkissesxxx Member Posts: 7 Member Posts: 7
    Read this awhile back and it's brilliant.

    So sick of reading responses of people regarding diet and weight loss with everyone throwing around purported "facts" about starvation mode. So, here is a little research on the topic. Feel free to chime in with other studies, but lets keep it based on actual research, not personal anecdotes and not "my trainer says."

    Starvation mode does not happen overnight or even in just a few days! Calories in, calories out. Simple, right? Short term, yes, it’s simple, long term, not so much. Let’s add some real science to the discussion:

    First, a definition. Starvation mode does not mean going without food. It means that you cut your caloric intake to less than what the body would normally burn in the course of a day. I have seen so many posts where people offer advice and tell people they need to eat more to lose weight because they are starving their bodies. The idea postulated is that eating too few calories will reduce a person’s metabolism to such an extent that the person will gain weight instead of losing.

    Now, a look at one of the classic scientific studies on starvation. Probably the most famous study done was conducted after WWII by researchers at the University of Minnesota. Starvation was widespread throughout Europe during the war and scientists were trying to figure out how to re-feed people suffering from starvation and determine the long-term effects. (Remember, tens of thousands of people died after liberation from concentration camps not only from disease but from the reintroduction of food that their bodies were no longer capable of digesting.) Scientists recruited 36 young healthy men to participate in a yearlong study divided into several phases: a 12-week normal control period, a 24-week starvation phase where calories were so dramatically reduced that participants lost approximately 25% of body weight; and, finally, a recovery phase to renourish participants. Results of the study were published in the two-volume, Biology of Human Starvation (Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis, 1950). See more information here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnesota_Starvation_Experiment.

    So, what did the results of the study find? First, all participants lost weight. Starvation mode does not result in your body hanging onto extra fat or calories in an effort to “preserve” your body. But, it’s more complicated than just losing weight. All of the participants also experienced a drop in their metabolic rates – approximately 40% below baseline. Now, you will see many posters here that will argue that you will start losing muscle and not fat within a few days of going into so-called “starvation mode.” Yet, the research shows that participants lost both. In fact, at no point did they stop losing fat until they hit a rate of approximately 5% body fat near the end of the study.

    Lyle McDonald explains it this way:

    In general, it's true that metabolic rate tends to drop more with more excessive caloric deficits… But here's the thing: in no study I've ever seen has the drop in metabolic rate been sufficient to completely offset the caloric deficit. That is, say that cutting your calories by 50% per day leads to a reduction in the metabolic rate of 10%. Starvation mode you say. Well, yes. But you still have a 40% daily deficit.

    But, keep in mind that apart from weight loss, semi-starvation has other not-so-cool effects on your mind and body. The other physical effects from the Minnesota study on semi-starvation included a significant drop in physical endurance, reduction in strength of about 10%, and sluggish reflexes. Those that were the most fit initially showed the greatest deterioration. In addition, heart volume shrank about 20%, pulses slowed and their body temperatures dropped. Concentration and judgment became impaired. Sexual function was reduced and all lost interest in sex. They had every physical indication of accelerated aging. But keep in mind, this was a year-long study, not something that happened in a just a few days or two weeks of eating restricted calories.

    The more dramatic effects of semi-starvation from the Minnesota study were psychological, similar to what can be observed in anorexic patients. The men became nervous, anxious, apathetic, withdrawn, impatient, self-critical, emotional and depressed. A few even mutilated themselves, one chopping off three fingers in stress. They became obsessed with food, thinking, talking and reading about it constantly; developed weird eating rituals; hoarding, etc.

    Now, let’s look at another aspect. The folks at Cambridge University in England did a study to determine the different effects starvation had on lean people versus obese people. The study can be found here: http://www.unu.edu/unupress/food2/UID07E/uid0 7e11.htm. Let’s just cut to the chase with this study.

    Does starvation mode slow down the metabolism? No and Yes.

    In the first 2 days of starvation, there is a small absolute increase in basic metabolic rate relative to values obtained from overnight fasting. Overnight fasting is what every one of us does during our sleeping hours. So it is not true that going below recommended calories for one day is going to slow down your metabolism -- quite the contrary, it may speed it up just a little. Of course, this is just limited to the first few days. After that, studies in fact support that “starvation mode” slows down metabolism.

    Does Starvation mode cause our bodies to catabilize (devour our muscles and other lean mass)? Yes and No.

    Lean individuals lost great amounts of fat-free, lean tissue during starvation, but obese individuals lost much more fat tissue. The loss of lean mass is not as critical to the obese person simply because an obese person has more lean mass than a person of the same age and height but normal weight. Here we get to a basic idea that makes sense – fat storage – the same way animals build up bulk to rely on during the winter, obese people have fat stores they can use (to a limited extent) in times of need. This means that the effects of a semi-starvation diet upon a normal weight individual are of course much more devastating than the effects on someone who is obese.

    Finally, some conclusions. Does all this mean I should reduce my caloric intake below the minimum recommended as an effective way to lose weight? If you think the answer is yes, then you haven’t carefully read everything here, so I will spell it out:

    Let’s start by clearing up that major myth I see repeated over and over again in the forums: that a single day or even a few days of extreme caloric restrictions forces your body into starvation mode, significantly reducing your metabolism and causing you to lose muscles. Not true. You may, in fact, lose weight in the short term. Your body does not go into starvation mode after a few days of extreme calorie restricted eating.

    However, let’s look again at the Minnesota study for further compelling evidence why semi-starvation is not a good idea for long-term weight loss. In the latter half of the Minnesota Starvation Study the men were allowed to eat ad libitum again. Researchers found they had insatiable appetites, yet never felt full, these effects continued for months afterwards. Semi-starvation diets don’t work long-term for this simple reason – under ordinary pressures, when eating resumes, people put the weight back on and oftentimes, gain more.

    And let’s not forget the other physical and psychological effects mentioned earlier. Any of those sound appealing to you? Reduced concentration or sexual function anyone? The Cambridge study also looked at several deaths from people who undertook extreme starvation diets, particularly those that did not create a good nutritional balance in the calories that were consumed.

    Bottom line, you should do adequate research and dietary analysis to ensure you are getting the best nutrition you can for your calories.
    [/quote]
  • geebusukgeebusuk Member Posts: 3,389 Member Member Posts: 3,389 Member
    First, a definition. Starvation mode does not mean going without food. It means that you cut your caloric intake to less than what the body would normally burn in the course of a day.
    Nice post - not sure if it's yours, but the quoted bit doesn't seem quite right.

    I don't think even the most extreme starvation-mode-supporters would suggest going 10 calories under your TDEE daily, say, would send you in to 'starvation mode'.
  • Rolande55Rolande55 Member Posts: 52 Member Member Posts: 52 Member
    Not that I agree nor disagree but just to play devil's advocate here's an article someone on MFP posted elsewhere about how "scientific research" is flawed :laugh:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/308269/
  • IwishyouwellIwishyouwell Member Posts: 1,888 Member Member Posts: 1,888 Member
    I applaud your efforts, but starvation mode will never die on mfp


    It will certainly never die as long as MFP spins this yarn - "*Based on your total calories consumed for today, you are eating too few calories. Not only is it difficult to receive adequate nutrition at these calorie levels, but you could also be putting your body into starvation mode. Starvation mode lowers your metabolism and makes weight loss more difficult. We suggest increasing your calorie consumption to 1200 calories per day minimum."

    If this so called 'starvation mode' exists - why were the people in WW2 camps, and why are anorexics, like walking skeletons? Certainly all these people were/are very, very ill and malnourished, but it did NOT happen because their calorie intake went under 1200 for a few days.

    Does it? Jesus! They need to rethink this big time!


    I think we should start a petition to take that nonsense down!!! They could still have the warning, but just take out all the starvation mode bs.

    "

    It should definitely be taken down! It flashes this up even if it's only for ONE day and I have eaten 1150 cals!!
    But then people would lose their weight and be on their way, not stuck in the forums arguing for eternity, and dieting for eternity at some tiny deficit they're terrified of upping, seeing the ads that keep MFP going.

    Nailed it.

    When will people figure out that this is a business and it's in nobody at MFP's best interest to see you lose too quickly. I saw Weight Watchers run the same racket with their "clients". I felt horrible for those poor people duped by weight watchers "leaders" into believing that it was perfectly OK if they lost only .1 pounds a week, because all it matters is that they were losing. They had folks in there, like my wife, thinking it was just fine to lose only 10-20 lbs a year, if less. Of course that didn't top them from selling a plethora of WW junk to these gullibles right after the meeting. "Slow and steady" means more time logging on sites, clicking ads, buying product, etc, etc.

    Even if it means perpetuating myths like "starvation mode", or continuing to lie to people that "slow and steady" gives you a greater chance at maintaining your weight loss. All lies.
  • WhoHa42WhoHa42 Member Posts: 1,270 Member Member Posts: 1,270 Member
  • jayrudqjayrudq Member Posts: 503 Member Member Posts: 503 Member
    3eakkOQ.gif
    Thank you. This. I am too psychologically damaged, not to mention how badly I miss my fingers to respond,
    Why oh, why, does this persist? It isn't EVER going away.
  • sunny111775sunny111775 Member Posts: 6 Member Posts: 6
    Eat more. You will lose weight
    ;)
  • yogagirl100yogagirl100 Member Posts: 31 Member Posts: 31
    Thanks, I was starting to get worried about my calorie intake.
  • erickirberickirb Member Posts: 12,273 Member Member Posts: 12,273 Member
    Interesting indeed

    If one does measure their BMR and it is low and their TDEE is also low - then to lose weight in a healthy manner you have to be higher than BMR and lower than TDEE - right

    So what if those numbers say BMR is 822 and TDEE is 1350 - 515 calories per day decfict for 1 pound per week loss = 835

    Very low calorie in the scheme of things - correct?

    What does this person do? eat 1200 only 150 deficit it would take them 24 days to lose a pound and be on the edge of 'maintenance' or eat 1,100 and lose about .5 lb a week?

    I am just asking because some people really do have this issue with low BMR.

    Except for building a bit of muscle which helps a very little to rasie the BMR (I heard the net is 2 calories a day for each lb of LBM) or taking stimulatnts like caffine I have not heard of a great way of boosting BMR.

    So what is your advise in this case?

    that's why % are better. that person should be eating at TDEE -10-15%. 1147 to 1215 calories/day.

    And in this case a BMR that low the person would have to be 3 foot something and like 60lbs.
  • KenazwaKenazwa Member Posts: 278 Member Posts: 278
    I'm afraid Starvation Mode is a card destined to be thrown on the table every single day for all of eternity.
  • allana1111allana1111 Member Posts: 390 Member Member Posts: 390 Member
    Thank you for some facts!
  • geebusukgeebusuk Member Posts: 3,389 Member Member Posts: 3,389 Member
    Not that I agree nor disagree but just to play devil's advocate here's an article someone on MFP posted elsewhere about how "scientific research" is flawed :laugh:
    Not specifically 'scientific research', but the conclusions.
    This is why I read studies myself to see exactly what they did and the results they got.
    Ok, they could also have made up the data, but that's where multiple studies by different groups come in!
  • nje444nje444 Member Posts: 62 Member Posts: 62
    Great post and props to the men who volunteered for the study in the first place. I know I would be so "hangry" (hungry/angry) if I had to starve myself for any amount of time.
Sign In or Register to comment.