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Does eating extra calories "boost" your metabolism?

Geocitiesuser
Geocitiesuser Posts: 1,429 Member
I say no, but it sure does seem to be a common belief, both in the forums, and various articles.

Some say one cheat meal a week. Some say a day. Some say eating at maintenance or above for a whole WEEK helps metabolism.

But as far as my understanding goes, your metabolism is largely just how much you move/expend during a day, and that any difference in a basal metabolic rate is going to be negligible, 100 calories per day in the most extreme and rare cases.

Anytime I go off my "diet" I like to pretend I'm just refeeding. But in reality, it's all BS, no?
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Replies

  • mohamedahmed07
    mohamedahmed07 Posts: 161 Member


    It is actually good to have cheat meals/days once a week because they reverse your weight loss hormones side effects, just don't go berserk, and be +500 calories above your maintenance on that day.
  • VintageFeline
    VintageFeline Posts: 6,771 Member
    edited May 2017
    It's not said to eat more to boost metabolism. Diet breaks are for hormones to level out again and sort out any adaptive thermogenesis that has taken place. Which is upregulation not boost.

    Cheat meals or refeeds, to the general dieter, are not really necessary or effective, they're more of a way for people to remain compliant or justify eating something they have either been depriving themselves of or think is "bad".

    Neither of these two things boost metabolism and i have never seen this said by veterans, as stated above.
  • Tacklewasher
    Tacklewasher Posts: 7,122 Member
    This article has been linked to before

    http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat-loss/the-full-diet-break.html/

    But I'm not sure that is what you are referring to. I know I've gotten a bit tired and felt run down so I've taken a couple of breaks. But I may have been fighting a bug as well, as most of my staff were off sick close enough to the same time that that might have been my issue. I just know that after a week or so I was able to get back to my deficit and continue on with little impact to my weight loss.
  • Geocitiesuser
    Geocitiesuser Posts: 1,429 Member
    cwolfman13 wrote: »

    A refeed will boost leptin levels and when leptin levels are boosted it promotes a better hormonal profile in general...when dieting, testosterone levels dip...refeeds help boost testosterone as well as growth hormone and lower cortisol levels.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3943438/

    I made the mistake of googling about leptin, holy bro science, looks like there was a period in 2012ish that swore leptin as the miracle hormone. My understanding of leptin is that it primarily regulate hunger and wouldn't have an over all effect on a basal metabolic rate. If refeeding really refuels leptin, its greatest benefit would be controlling hunger, but don't most of us experience the greatest hunger control through fasting? I know I do.

    The testosterone issue is different. I'm not so sure small refeeds could really boost testosterone, especially not as much as eating a diet plenty in saturated fat/cholesterol (the building blocks of testosterone), is there literature that shows a weekly refeed can actually keep testosterone elevated enough that it is significant? I'm assuming again, but I would think if it was true every man on the planet would refeed twice a week and it would be standard advice since test is seen as the holy grail of maintaining muscle mass.

    Please don't misconstrue me as combative, just healthy debate.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,206 Member
    cwolfman13 wrote: »

    A refeed will boost leptin levels and when leptin levels are boosted it promotes a better hormonal profile in general...when dieting, testosterone levels dip...refeeds help boost testosterone as well as growth hormone and lower cortisol levels.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3943438/

    I made the mistake of googling about leptin, holy bro science, looks like there was a period in 2012ish that swore leptin as the miracle hormone. My understanding of leptin is that it primarily regulate hunger and wouldn't have an over all effect on a basal metabolic rate. If refeeding really refuels leptin, its greatest benefit would be controlling hunger, but don't most of us experience the greatest hunger control through fasting? I know I do.

    The testosterone issue is different. I'm not so sure small refeeds could really boost testosterone, especially not as much as eating a diet plenty in saturated fat/cholesterol (the building blocks of testosterone), is there literature that shows a weekly refeed can actually keep testosterone elevated enough that it is significant? I'm assuming again, but I would think if it was true every man on the planet would refeed twice a week and it would be standard advice since test is seen as the holy grail of maintaining muscle mass.

    Please don't misconstrue me as combative, just healthy debate.

    According to the link, increase in leptin adds about 7% increase to metabolism which is modest, but it is what it is.

    In regards to testosterone, when you increase leptin, you increase liver glycogen which in turn will drive up testosterone...I don't know how much, but I would imagine significance and effectiveness would also be determined by how steep one's calorie deficit is and for how long...and yes, getting in plenty of dietary fat is going to make a big difference...something a lot of people cut way back on when dieting unfortunately.
  • FreyasRebirth
    FreyasRebirth Posts: 514 Member
    In my personal experience, higher calorie days make me want to move more. Staying in a deficit for a long time (close to goal weight) puts me in a foul mood and all I want to do is lay around. So I am burning more when I consume more. In a literal sense, my metabolism (sum of all anabolic and catabolic reactions) is 'boosted', even if my net calories are exactly the same.
  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 46,696 Member
    It's not said to eat more to boost metabolism. Diet breaks are for hormones to level out again and sort out any adaptive thermogenesis that has taken place. Which is upregulation not boost.

    Cheat meals or refeeds, to the general dieter, are not really necessary or effective, they're more of a way for people to remain compliant or justify eating something they have either been depriving themselves of or think is "bad".

    Neither of these two things boost metabolism and i have never seen this said by veterans, as stated above.
    It's THIS. If one has been on a diet for awhile and is not seeing any progress, then adaptive thermogenesis has likely set in.


    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png

  • bbell1985
    bbell1985 Posts: 4,582 Member
    I'm starting weight loss again and have a re-feed day. It's not to "boost metabolism" and honestly 1 day isn't enough to increase leptin levels, even two days isn't. I do think it's good for mind and body though. With heavy training, I like having one higher carb day that falls on a high volume lower body day. I get a better workout in, I have less stress on Saturday when it comes to socializing, a little extra energy. All good.
  • Geocitiesuser
    Geocitiesuser Posts: 1,429 Member
    edited May 2017
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    It's not said to eat more to boost metabolism. Diet breaks are for hormones to level out again and sort out any adaptive thermogenesis that has taken place. Which is upregulation not boost.

    Cheat meals or refeeds, to the general dieter, are not really necessary or effective, they're more of a way for people to remain compliant or justify eating something they have either been depriving themselves of or think is "bad".

    Neither of these two things boost metabolism and i have never seen this said by veterans, as stated above.
    It's THIS. If one has been on a diet for awhile and is not seeing any progress, then adaptive thermogenesis has likely set in.


    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png


    Adaptive thermogenesis is starvation mode. That's the part I find highly suspect. I can see if you're at an extreme calorie defecit your body would find a way to shave a hundred cals off of your TDEE, but it would still be simple CICO and any slow down, even in extreme cases, would be mostly negligible. Especially if someone is still overweight.

    Same disclaimer as earlier, not trying to be combative. Just healthy debate.
  • kimny72
    kimny72 Posts: 16,027 Member
    edited May 2017

    Adaptive thermogenesis is starvation mode. That's the part I find highly suspect. I can see if you're at an extreme calorie defecit your body would find a way to shave a hundred cals off of your TDEE, but it would still be simple CICO and any slow down, even in extreme cases, would be mostly negligible. Especially if someone is still overweight.

    Same disclaimer as earlier, not trying to be combative. Just healthy debate.


    To split hairs :): Usually "starvation mode" is used to mean your body is holding onto fat even though you're in a deficit because it's afraid you are never going to eat again. Which yes is total bunk.

    Adaptive thermogenesis means that over a long period of time when eating at a deficit your body slowly becomes more efficient to adapt to your new calorie level, which at least to me makes more sense. We're talking about years at a measurable deficit. All the reports that came out I think last summer freaking out about The Biggest Loser contestants whose BMRs were lower than should have been expected were basically about that. And I think it makes sense that if you put your body through the ringer for a year, eating at a big deficit and exercising a lot, it would try to become more efficient in that circumstance, just like it builds up specific muscles so you can do the same movement easier when you start a new exercise. At least that's my unscientific way of looking at it!

    I agree, I wouldn't think it would be a ton of difference, but if I remember correctly the Biggest Loser study was a noticeable difference. And for a petite female like me, 100 calories can be the difference between happy and hangry :wink:
  • Geocitiesuser
    Geocitiesuser Posts: 1,429 Member
    edited May 2017
    Do you remember what the change in BMR for the biggest loser contestants was?

    Oh, and I totally agree about 100 calories being the difference between hangry or not sometimes. But in the grand scheme of things, for the average person it means a maintenance level of 1900 cals vs 2000, or cutting cals of 1650 instead of 1750. So, not a huge deal, just in my opinion. Petites and others obviously being the exception.
  • kimny72
    kimny72 Posts: 16,027 Member
    Do you remember what the change in BMR for the biggest loser contestants was?

    Oh, and I totally agree about 100 calories being the difference between hangry or not sometimes. But in the grand scheme of things, for the average person it means a maintenance level of 1900 cals vs 2000, or cutting cals of 1650 instead of 1750. So, not a huge deal, just in my opinion. Petites and others obviously being the exception.

    I don't remember, but if you search Biggest Loser in the forum I know there were a bunch of threads about it. Maybe even in the debate section I think?
  • Geocitiesuser
    Geocitiesuser Posts: 1,429 Member
    Holy Kittens (and puppies, and whatever other expletive animal)

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    That is significant if true... 800 calories lower BMR than a man of similar size.

    I am very curious who the common dieter would be effected, and how long it takes for this number to recover if at all. That's a very large number... I can't seem to find out "how" they measured it, part of me wants to call junk science but I don't have enough info.

    Got that from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/02/health/biggest-loser-weight-loss.html?_r=0

    On topic for this conversation they actually blame a lot of the weight gain on leptin levels. Which brings a lot of questions if leptin levels can be fixed over time through good eating habits and exercise.

    ---

    Of course all this interesting stuff doesn't address my core debate topic ;) That a cheat day or cheat meal does very little towards boosting metabolism. Even a whole week it seems wouldn't boost metabolism, or the biggest losers wouldn't still have such low BMRs after putting weight back on.
  • AnvilHead
    AnvilHead Posts: 18,345 Member
    edited May 2017