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TOPIC: The starvation mode lie

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July 1, 2012 8:59 PM
Does anyone else agree that starvation mode in an overweight to obese person doesn't exist? Studies have shown that the body can not starve until it reaches low body fat levels below 20 percent.
July 1, 2012 9:02 PM
Biology doesn't care if you agree with it or not.

The phrase 'studies have shown' is never a valid argument until you show the studies.
July 1, 2012 9:08 PM
I don't think it's a lie, but I think it's blown way out of proportion. It just doesn't make sense that if someone is overweight, their body is going to burn muscle instead of fat.
July 1, 2012 9:18 PM
It's probably a lie, but there is still no benefit in eating very low calories when you can eat more. Why torture yourself?
  23623619
July 1, 2012 9:43 PM
i agree and it is highly misused around fitness communities.
  20566916
July 1, 2012 9:59 PM
It's not a lie. Yes, when you are excessively overweight your body will compensate for short periods of time of very low calorie intake by consuming body fat and some muscle. That is the whole reason for your body storing body fat. However the key is SHORT TERM. As this period of very low calorie intake continues, your body reacts and starts trying to store most calories as fat and slowly limiting bodily functions.

I agree this term gets thrown around very loosely and improperly here. It takes a good amount of time to drop into starvation mode as long as you haven't completely stopped eating and some time to climb back out of it.
  15336376
July 1, 2012 10:15 PM
I am just going to start posting the Lyle McDonald interview excerpt in every "starvation mode" thread I see from now on:

In general, it’s true that metabolic rate tends to drop more with more excessive caloric deficits (and this is true whether the effect is from eating less or exercising more); as well, people vary in how hard or fast their bodies shut down. Women’s bodies tend to shut down harder and faster.
But here’s the thing: in no study I’ve ever seen has the drop in metabolic rate been sufficient to completely offset the caloric deficit. That is, say that cutting your calories by 50% per day leads to a reduction in the metabolic rate of 10%. Starvation mode you say. Well, yes. But you still have a 40% daily deficit.
In one of the all-time classic studies (the Minnesota semi-starvation study), men were put on 50% of their maintenance calories for 6 months. It measured the largest reduction in metabolic rate I’ve ever seen, something like 40% below baseline. Yet at no point did the men stop losing fat until they hit 5% body fat at the end of the study.
Other studies, where people are put on strictly controlled diets have never, to my knowledge, failed to acknowledge weight or fat loss.
This goes back to the under-reporting intake issue mentioned above. I suspect that the people who say, “I’m eating 800 calories per day and not losing weight; it must be a starvation response” are actually eating far more than that and misreporting or underestimating it. Because no controlled study that I’m aware of has ever found such an occurrence.
July 2, 2012 4:30 AM
you probably have to define your terms, "starvation mode" is too open to interpretation and extrapolation - especially by the "you'll hold onto all your fat" fraternity (probably a sorority in reality).

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2495396/pdf/postmedj00315-0056.pdf is interesting reading. No food for a year. Lost a lot of weight, kept it off.
  18022302
July 2, 2012 5:16 AM
You have excess body fat precisely for this reason; so your body consumes that primary for reserve energy rather than all muscle mass, internal organs, bones, eyes, skin etc.

You won't feel great, but extremely obese people can eat at an extremely low calorie intake or even fast and be metabolically fine.
July 2, 2012 5:21 AM
I agree. I have a bmi of 33, so there's no way that my body is going to "starve" if I don't eat enough. There's plenty of fat for it to chew off before I'll "starve." :/
  18795842
July 2, 2012 5:22 AM
Okay, someone in starvation mode will continue to lose weight. But it will be a very slow process and it will probably cause rapid weight gain once they end calorie-restriction. Why are those desirable outcomes, people who think starvation mode is silly?

FWIW, I do actually know two people who were overweight *because* they were not eating enough. They had eating disorders, and when they were put by their dietitians on a diet they felt was way too much food, the pounds dropped off.
  21619196
July 2, 2012 5:24 AM
Forget the word "starve"
Nobody starves.
When you restrict calories too much, your metabolism stifles ie slows down.
FACT!
But do whatever you want. Net 200 calories per day, let's see how that works for you.
Good Luck drinker
Edited by Bobby_Clerici On July 2, 2012 5:27 AM
July 2, 2012 5:33 AM
Adaptive Thermogenesis is wrongly labelled "Starvation mode"

http://www.burnthefat.com/metabolic_damage.html
  14463414
July 2, 2012 5:34 AM
People often confuse hormonal imbalance with starvation mode.
When dieting down you have a hormonal response to effectively slow the body from losing its energy stores.

See chart below:

On the left you are anabolic or building mode.
On the right you are in catabolic or breakdown mode.
Image not displayed

Going well over TDEE will result in overfeeding to build muscle provided you have had the proper stimulation, or fat if you havent.
Some people really bulk up and add fat because they can burn it off faster than others but a 20% over TDEE should do it.

Going below TDEE will result in weight loss in the form of fat.
The further to the right you go, the more chances you have of losing more lean mass due to hormonal response and energy balance.

The body doesnt want to be lean gang so it will maintain fat even at very low calories.

Bumping up calories a couple times a week or spike days or cheat days or eat whatever the fuk you wanna eat days will help regulate some of the hormones but only as long as you eat at the proper level to do so.
Edited by Helloitsdan On July 2, 2012 5:37 AM
  7369177
July 2, 2012 5:34 AM
Whether it is or not is not really the issue. If you starve yourself thinking your body will live off your fat reserves, ask yourself this: what kind of nutrition does your fat reserve supply for the biological processes that proper eating supports? Does it have the vitamins and minerals? How about the protein need?

If you don't eat proper nutrition, your body is going to take what it needs from wherever it can get it. Not eating enough calcium? No problem - your teeth have plenty, so do your bones. Not getting enough protein? No problem, there's plenty in your muscles. If you don't mind your body robbing Peter to pay Paul, go ahead and eat under your BMR. You will lose weight. No guarantees on the state your health or your ability to maintain the reduced weight when your done though.
  18129771
July 2, 2012 5:35 AM
QUOTE:

I am just going to start posting the Lyle McDonald interview excerpt in every "starvation mode" thread I see from now on:

In general, it’s true that metabolic rate tends to drop more with more excessive caloric deficits (and this is true whether the effect is from eating less or exercising more); as well, people vary in how hard or fast their bodies shut down. Women’s bodies tend to shut down harder and faster.
But here’s the thing: in no study I’ve ever seen has the drop in metabolic rate been sufficient to completely offset the caloric deficit. That is, say that cutting your calories by 50% per day leads to a reduction in the metabolic rate of 10%. Starvation mode you say. Well, yes. But you still have a 40% daily deficit.
In one of the all-time classic studies (the Minnesota semi-starvation study), men were put on 50% of their maintenance calories for 6 months. It measured the largest reduction in metabolic rate I’ve ever seen, something like 40% below baseline. Yet at no point did the men stop losing fat until they hit 5% body fat at the end of the study.
Other studies, where people are put on strictly controlled diets have never, to my knowledge, failed to acknowledge weight or fat loss.
This goes back to the under-reporting intake issue mentioned above. I suspect that the people who say, “I’m eating 800 calories per day and not losing weight; it must be a starvation response” are actually eating far more than that and misreporting or underestimating it. Because no controlled study that I’m aware of has ever found such an occurrence.


Hmm very interesting!!:) Thanks for sharing that! Alot of this stuff can be so complicated to figure out and understand but your post along with the study was very well written and layed out:) This goes along with what I tend to believe also, it just makes more sense. Do I feel a person needs to drop below what their maintance is? well no, no exactly but I feel if they eat like they should and then exercise a whole lot, then they are only defeating the purpose by eating back those exercise cals. Even though your burning off cals with exercise, your still getting nutrients and such from the food you take in that day, so your body is taking it in. Anyway...sorry to ramble lol, great post!!:)

~Carrie~
  23693937
July 2, 2012 5:39 AM
Starvation mode is probably an erroneous term. My doctor calls it "Hybernation Mode". You continue to lose but at a lower rate, like a bear in hybernation.
Edited by Crochetluvr On July 2, 2012 5:41 AM
  23159244
July 2, 2012 5:41 AM
QUOTE:

Does anyone else agree that starvation mode in an overweight to obese person doesn't exist? Studies have shown that the body can not starve until it reaches low body fat levels below 20 percent.


It's actually below 5 or 6%. And pretty much no one that's on this site has experianced it or know anyone who has unless your friends with people in 3rd world countries.
  20634412
July 2, 2012 5:43 AM
It's been effectively and correctly described by a few of the above posters but that won't stop people to continue to think that when in starvation mode people stop losing weight and possibly gain fat. The madness will never end.laugh
July 2, 2012 5:45 AM
I have a friend who has always been thin and active, but eats terribly. She now eats about once a day and drinks very little water, and she is gaining weight instead of losing. So I am thinking her body is in starvation mode and has been for several years. It is going to eventually kill her but she will not listen. She is also extremely jealous of the fact that I eat, and I am losing weight. she is now trying to compete with me. Sigh I keep trying to talk her into eating more and especially drinking more fluids a day.
July 2, 2012 5:48 AM
QUOTE:

Whether it is or not is not really the issue. If you starve yourself thinking your body will live off your fat reserves, ask yourself this: what kind of nutrition does your fat reserve supply for the biological processes that proper eating supports? Does it have the vitamins and minerals? How about the protein need?

If you don't eat proper nutrition, your body is going to take what it needs from wherever it can get it. Not eating enough calcium? No problem - your teeth have plenty, so do your bones. Not getting enough protein? No problem, there's plenty in your muscles. If you don't mind your body robbing Peter to pay Paul, go ahead and eat under your BMR. You will lose weight. No guarantees on the state your health or your ability to maintain the reduced weight when your done though.


Love this !!
  735861
July 2, 2012 5:49 AM
QUOTE:

Forget the word "starve"
Nobody starves.
When you restrict calories too much, your metabolism stifles ie slows down.
FACT!
But do whatever you want. Net 200 calories per day, let's see how that works for you.
Good Luck drinker


Okay let's consider this for a second please.

Your metabolism encompasses every function of your body. The base, simple function which most people speak of when they talk "metabolism" is to synthesize macro nutrients into glucose (sugar) for cellular production of ATP (hurr durr energy).

If an extremely obese person stops eating, does their "metabolism" slow down slightly? Sure, but not in any amount they would really notice or that would affect anything. At this point the body is starting to consume existing stores of energy (fat) at which an obese person has almost their entire store of required energy in one pound of fat (3600 calories worth). In the absence of glucose being taken into the body in readily available, easily broken down forms (carbohydrates), let the lipolysis begin!

Guess what sunshine? Breaking down fat takes even MORE energy than breaking down all the crap you put in your mouth. In order to get access to that 9 calorie per gram macro-nutrient goodness your body has to do all kinds of kooky sh*it to convert that fat into existing energy. This even takes more oxygen, so your entire body has to work harder just at REST. This doesn't slow down your metabolism Princess Buttercup, this makes it go "Holy crap I can't be lazy about this, this crazy ass stopped eating chik fil a so I better get to work". Your liver begins pumping out all the vitamins you have been storing using that juicy fat you have as a medium for storage and transport. You can be lacking in B Vitamins, Vitamin A etc for months, even years before actually developing a deficiency condition, because you have been pumping yourself full of more than you can use and you have plenty of fat and a big ol liver that has been hanging onto that sh*t for you.

Now while ALL that sexy activity is occuring; you are still drinking water to piss out all your ketones being produced from that lipolysis process that kicked in right? Your kidneys are still working to filter all that water, your lungs are still inflating and deflating. You probably have some dizziness and headaches at first but after a bit ALL SYSTEMS GO in your brain thingy. The involuntary muscle contraction of your heart is still going, pumping blood all throughout your system. You are still creating new skin cells, synthesizing Vitamin D in the sun, pissing, growing fingernails and hair (though some will likely fall out) and doing all that other exciting nonsense which emcompasses your metabolism.

All of that while you stopped eating for a couple weeks.

So yes, please explain how my metabolism slows down if I stop eating and am classified as obese?


Image not displayed
July 2, 2012 5:53 AM
QUOTE:



So yes, please explain how my metabolism slows down if I stop eating and am classified as obese?



It's called adaptive thermogenesis.
July 2, 2012 5:57 AM
bump...thanks
July 2, 2012 5:59 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:



So yes, please explain how my metabolism slows down if I stop eating and am classified as obese?



It's called adaptive thermogenesis.


Which is a theory related to supposed genetic set points related to weight gain in those who have lost weight.

I must have missed the pictures of the folks in Auschwitz who held onto all their fat and kept saying the scale just wouldn't budge.

Again, in the extremely obese your bodily functions have set energy costs that cannot be reduced beyond a certain point, period. Starvation mode does not happen unless you have zero excess body fat to consume for energy. Adaptive thermogenesis is a theory that loves to get trumped up by folks who hit weight loss plataeus or just don't have the persistince to keep at it.
Edited by chris1816 On July 2, 2012 6:02 AM

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