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Metabolic adaptation and its impact on you

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What is metabolic adaptation?

When you want to lose weight, you reduce your calorie intake and start exercising. When you want to impose a calorie deficit, you can do it by increasing exercise at decreasing food intake. As a result of that you begin to lose body mass which most likely will include fat mass. These are indicators that the energy supply to your body is low and as a result your body adapts according.

Such adaptations include-

·         Increased mitochondrial efficiency. It means same amount of ATP is produced by burning less calories.

·         Decrease the energy expenditure because of slower metabolic rate.

·         Elevations in hormones that promote categories and hunger and reduction in hormones that promote an anabolism, energy expenditure and satiety.

Effects of adaptations

These adaptations clearly oppose your weight loss goals. When there are changes in mitochondrial efficiency and energy expenditure, it will decrease your energy deficit which will slow down weight loss. Because of the hormonal changes in your body, it'll be very difficult for you to retain lean mass, your energy levels may go down and shift in mood state may happen and you will also experience increased hunger.

Because of the adaptations, the sex hormones may also show some changes. You may experience low levels of testosterone. Natural bodybuilders often face this problem as they experience low testosterone late into contest preparation. Female athletes may experience amenorrhea.

The effects of such adaptations extend beyond the weight loss phase. Even after you achieve the weight you desired, there will be some effects. What are these? Even after you have achieve the desired weight, according to different research done on the subject the adaptations persist as you try to maintain your new bodyweight. The adaptations have already decrease their metabolic rate and increased hunger as a result of which there can be a huge rebound. After you have lost weight, if you do not practice some restraint after the diet, repeated weight gain is very common.

Other research done on the subject show than the weight you gained during this period is stored as fat. Adipocyte hyperplasia or the addition of new fat cells may also happen. Because of this FNM and known as post starvation obesity may happen in your case. It is also known as body fat overshooting. As a result of this phenomenon, you are likely to regain more fat than you have lost during the diet. If that is the case, it completely eliminates the progress you have made throughout the diet. Further dieting efforts will become more difficult for you after this.

Misconceptions about metabolic adaptation

Some common misconceptions about metabolic adaptation

There are many common misconceptions present about metabolic adaptation. Let's find out a few of them.

Misconception 1: Metabolic adaptation can make weight loss impossible or it can make you gain weight despite a calorie deficit. This is not true. It simply means reducing energy expenditure and so the energy deficit is smaller and weight loss messed top after manage expenditure approaches energy intake.

Misconception 2: These adaptations are a dire problem

No. metabolic adaptations happen after enduring weight loss and they address the energy crisis your body is facing when you begin to start very lean. It can become dire if these adaptations did not, and if the human body was more susceptible to starvation.

Misconception 3: These adaptations are indicative of improper dieting

This is not 100% true.


1. Starve Mode
2. Persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after The Biggest Loser competition
3. Metabolic adaptation to weight loss: implications for the athlete