Recent studies show that the world is getting fatter. This is true despite all the publicity about the dangers of obesity and all the diet books that claim to offer a cure for too much body fat. Physiologists often say that losing body fat is simply a matter of mathematics; that is, if you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose body fat. Everything, according to these scientists, relates to how many calories you ingest each day. As such, diets that feature the elimination or drastic reduction of any particular nutrients, such as low fat or low carbohydrate diets offer no particular magic contrary to what their promoters often tout. The reason those diets will promote fat loss is that they lead to less consumption of calories. But as anyone who has attempted to lose body fat will confirm, it's not as easy as it may appear to be. Other factors often intervene to confound the simple act of caloric reduction. Such factors include hormonal changes and reactions of the body to reduced food intake. The brain maintains a weight set-point. What this means is that if you've weighed a certain amount for an extended time, the brain perceives that as your normal weight. This is true even if you have a lot of body fat, which is a negative health factor for various reasons, mainly having to do with the inflammatory effects of excessive body fat. If you suddenly go on a diet and reduce your caloric intake significantly, the brain perceives this as a starvation state and immediately institutes measures to prevent or hinder weight loss. Most of these reactions involve an increase in various appetite-stimulating proteins that can make you ravenously hungry. This makes dieting an extremely uphill battle for most people that they have little chance of winning. Sure, you can lose fat on just about any diet as long as you maintain a significant caloric reduction. But the trick is in keeping the lost weight off.
As I discussed in a past article in Applied Metabolics about the contestants on the "Biggest Loser" television show and what they did wrong that caused nearly all of them to regain the weight they lost while appearing on the show, weight regain after a diet is a norm rather than the exception for most people. Some scientists speculate that it takes at least five years for the appetite mechanisms in the brain and your resting metabolism to adjust to newfound lower body fat. Most people who diet don't come close to keeping the weight off for five years. Indeed, studies show that 97% of dieters regain all the lost weight from dieting within a year. This is due to a lowered resting metabolism as the body readjusts to lower body weight. Unless calorie intake is strictly controlled, along with regular exercise, following any weight-loss diet assures the lost weight . . .