Why Dieting Makes You Gain Weight

Shannon Farrell
smilingmodel.jpg (Slideshow)

Photo: Getty Images

I’ve really started watching what I eat since I decided to run a marathon. But making smart nutrition choices and restricting caloric intake are two completely different things, and new research shows that I’m on the right track with the former.

Surprising Diet Friendly Foods

I’ve tried countless fad diets, from Weight Watchers, Slim Fast and a strict intake of fat-free yogurt that, yes, only lasted about two hours until I caved in to carbs. And now experts are concluding exacting what I was feeling: Diets lead to higher appetite levels and lower self-control.

The less you eat, the hungrier you’ll be. This seems like common sense, but have you ever thought that your body would get used to fewer calories and you wouldn’t be hungry all the time? In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Dieting raises level of hormones that stimulate appetite, such as ghrelin and peptide. Leptin, a hormone that suppresses hunger and raises the metabolic rate, is lower during diet.

The body essentially goes into defense mode. Our bodies have evolved a lot but instinct still tells us to fight hunger by surviving on fewer calories, thus storing fat and slowing metabolism.

After clinical tests at Columbia University, experts suggest that you should only deplete your daily caloric intake by 400 calories. Anymore and your metabolism will slow down. After you lose your desired weight, your body adjusts to that size, burning fewer calories during exercise than someone who is that weight naturally. And get this, it may be six years until your metabolism goes back to normal.

As much as I hate cliches, it seems that slow and steady really does win the race. Would you still diet after this new info?