Nature’s Role in Weight Loss
Pound Melters’ philosophy on successful weight loss has always been that slowly but surely modifying your eating habits, in combination with regular exercise, is the most effective way to lose weight.
A recent study validates this premise with its findings on the role that nature plays in weight loss. According to the study’s conclusions, individual genetic factors seem to render a restriction-only diet as ineffective in terms of how quickly and efficiently people can lose weight, confirming what has been a widely held belief that physiology affects a person’s weight loss capabilities.
Combating your genetic, metabolic predisposition
The study, conducted by researchers at the Phoenix Epidemiology and Clinical Research Branch (PECRB), studied the metabolisms of a dozen obese men and women who participated in a fifty-percent calorie-reduction experiment conducted over one six-week period.
The researchers measured the participants’ energy expenditure after a fasting period, then re-examined them during a caloric-reduction period. Results showed that the slower a person’s metabolism works during a diet, the less weight the person loses. The researchers applied the words “thrifty” and “spendthrift” to the participants’ metabolisms to explain why losing weight may be easier for some people than for others. The PECRB study marks the first time that lab results definitively show a speedy metabolism plays a role in weight loss.
Metabolism only weight loss study results
The focus of this study was metabolism. The study used a small group of people who were categorized using three factors:
- baseline weight
The premise researchers used for the study was whether or not different people would react differently to reduced caloric intake. Conventional wisdom holds that reducing the number by a set value (in this case 50%) would result in comparable rates of weight loss.
In reality, the researchers noted that there seemed to be two different results: the “thrifty” metabolism and the “spendthrift” metabolism, as noted earlier in this article. People categorized as having a thrifty metabolism clung to their body’s reserves. The spendthrift’s metabolic reaction was to essentially panic and burn as many calories as possible. So, under the exact same caloric circumstances, one group immediately began to lose weight while the other group didn’t see much in the way of results.
While behavioral factors such as adherence to diet affect weight loss to an extent, our study suggests we should consider a larger picture that includes individual physiology — and that weight loss is one situation where being thrifty doesn’t pay.
~Lead research author Dr. Susanne Votruba, Ph.D.
Although researchers have yet to determine if metabolic speed differences are innate to each individual, or if they develop over time, these results provide clear credence to the concept of “calories in/calories out” as scientifically sound weight loss advice.
Another unknown that the study did not address, with its focus only on metabolism in weight loss, is whether or not a person’s response to caloric reduction can be a useful tool for preventing weight gain.
While these findings come only from a single study and more research is needed, the takeaway is that people should not expect the exact same results from the same amount of calorie intake, nor from fasting for the same period of time. Genetics influences how our bodies process and use food.
Read the full article on the ease of weight loss influenced by individual biology.