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TOPIC: Starvation Mode

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March 5, 2008 9:19 PM
How long does it take your body to go into starvation mode? Months, weeks, days?
  35736
March 5, 2008 9:29 PM
eating less than 1200-1600 calories a day (depending on your metabolism) will slow your body down to starvation mode within a week. instead of burning any fat your body will store the fat and feed on muscle instead, which obviously isnt healthy...and its puts an awful strain on your heart specifically so exercise becomes dangerous...

hope that helps ya!!
March 5, 2008 9:59 PM
I think the answer is within a day (in a sense). I have read a little on this. I think the reason that breakfast is so important is that starts the calorie burning for the day. After sleeping all night with nothing to eat for up to 12 hours your body wants food. If it doesn't get it it will start to store it. The more it feels deprived the more it will store. The question you are asking is tough to answer because it is a gradual process. Some people will say when you skip breakfast it will slow down your metabolism. Others say it takes a few days to go into complete starvation mode. Maybe both are true. My thought is it may go something like this -If you body burns 1500 calories and you consume 750 your body will then try to figure out how to burn less. Maybe this is gradual?? The next day it may only burn 1450 if it continues to not get the calories it needs it the number it burns will continue to go down. This is why many people begin to plateau. That is why there are so many suggestions to up daily calories after hitting a plateau.- this is why I try to always eat breakfast and why so many people are having success eating 6 small meals a day. The body is always getting nourished and doesn't have to look for the calories to burn because it is constantly being fed them. -Heather-
  18745
March 5, 2008 10:30 PM
No one really knows the answer but it is more like days to weeks not months and you will lose weight in starvation mode for a while but it is not good weight lose as it will be muscle not fat. The problem is when you try to get yourself out of starvation mode you WILL GAIN weight as your body conserves every morsel you eat in case you don't eat again so a 2 to 8 lb or so weight gain is usual when coming out of starvation mode there is no gradual process you hear some people saying I have upped my cals by a 100 and I will increase it again next week your body doesn't know you will increase next week and continues to store you are actually better eating over your daily cals something like 2000 cals a day to break the cycle put up with the weight gain get back on track then you will start losing when you reduce cals down to a reasonable amount like 1300 plus exercise cals.

I think it is quicker to get into starvation mode than get out I have recently gone through this and it took 3 weeks now in week 6 I have lost 6lbs and feel healthy and energised.

If you are ill for a day and don't eat very much I don't think that will bring on starvation mode but if you eat extra cals for a few days after it should all fix itself quite quickly.

It also depends on how many times your body has been in starvation mode and for how long because each time it is that little bit harder to get your metabolism going again.
  20338
March 5, 2008 10:59 PM
I too have had a few days of this message and I'm working to up my caloric intake a little bit everyday. It's a difficult thing to do but eating consistently through out the day. I should research this topic a bit because this afternoon I was on the stair master and felt some discomfort which is not a good thing at all. I ended my cardio session a little bit early and realized that I probably put my body which has only taken me a few days to feel that way. In addition, I hardly have those feelings of discomfort. So I did not feel that guilty today when I had only 1 cookie!
March 6, 2008 8:31 AM
Thanks for giving me the heads up guys. A friend of mine was trying to argue that it takes months for her body to go into starvation mode. I laughed on the inside but wasn't sure if it was days or weeks.

I appreciate your responses!
  35736
March 6, 2008 8:38 AM
I think the body reacts pretty quickly - my infant son had a terrbile flu at 10mos, which lasted 5 days, and he was hospitalized and barely ate, and by day 7 is weight was back up... the mechanism is meant to protect us, but can make weight loss challening!

Bill Phillips of "Body for Life" and Bob Greene (fitness author and general Oprah pal) both speak of the need to "get a feed on" (as Bill says) or in other words, have a "cheat day" because it reminds the body that you are not in starvation mode (some experts recommend once a week, or twice a month, etc).

smile
March 6, 2008 3:39 PM
Actually "starvation mode" begins in 24 hours. Your brain REQUIRES glucose to function. So, within 24 hours of having not eaten, all of your body's glucose stores are used up. Your body then goes into what is called "ketosis" where it begins to break down muscle (which is protein) into amino acids which can further be broken down into glucose for the brain. Your brain can survive and function on ketosis indefinitely--but hitting the ketosis mode is starvation.
March 6, 2008 5:45 PM
Body Starvation Mode

Starvation diets which consist of less than 800 calories per day and skipping meals do more harm than good. Starvation diets consisting of 500 calories or less can lead to gallbladder stones. When you eat too little your body switches into starvation mode and stores fat rather than using it, slowing your metabolism down. Starvation diets leave the dieters hungry and those on this type of diet tend to overeat as well as make unwise decisions.
The dangers of getting your body into starvation mode:

A person following a starvation diet can be left weak, dizzy, and undernourished. This dieting can also lead to more severe starvation diet problems like Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa. When the body reaches starvation mode many complications occur such as:

1. Electrolyte imbalances which cause dehydration, muscle spasms, and in severe cases it may cause cardiac arrest.
2. Hypokalemia or potassium deficiency and chronic Hypokalemia.
3. Depression, anxiety, irritability and anger.

How the body gets into the starvation mode:

The low-carbohydrate and high-protein starvation diets trick the body into starvation mode. In an attempt to improve the poor success rates found with dieting has resulted in the development of a very unhealthy approach to dealing with the hunger drive and losing weight: low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets. The basic mechanism of this popular approach involves suppressing the hunger drive by tricking the body into making adjustments usually brought on only by disease or starvation. Ketosis is a process by which the body burns stored fat for fuel and it occurs when carbohydrates are cut completely out of a diet. It puts the body in a state of starvation and the body then turns to its own vital organs and robs it of fuel.

A well-balanced, low-fat, high in complex carbohydrates diet is the best diet approach whereby you eat a variety of foods in small portions. Instead of simple carbohydrates such as fructose and sucrose, eat complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, whole grains, beans and peas. Reduce fat and alcohol intake. A well balanced diet and exercise is the safest and ultimately most effective way to lose weight permanently rather than a starvation diet.

Many people are now leaving starvation diets and turning to alternative therapies for treatment. These treatments support the body's abilities to curb your appetite so you eat less often, increase fat metabolism so you burn excess fat and have more energy and improve your mental perception and state of mind.
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icandoit


Joined Nov 2007

Posts: 1,974
Sat 02/09/08 11:07 AMMany people think that starving themselves will lead to fast weight loss. A starvation diet does not mean the absence of food. It means cutting the total caloric intake to less than 50% of what the body requires. The body responds by using its own reserves to provide energy, and these reserves are not just the body`s extra fat. Initially, glycogen stores are broken down for energy. Glycogen is the storage form of carbohydrate in our body. There is little glycogen available so this energy source is depleted during the first hours of starvation. When glycogen is used, water is released which is noticed as a drop in weight on the scale. These labile stores are quickly replenished when feeding is resumed which is noticed by an increase in weight.

The individual`s initial weight when starting a starvation diet will dictate to what extent fat is lost. Those individuals who are not obese (Body Mass Index (BMI) < 30) will tend to lose their lean body mass more easily and quickly than those who are obese (BMI > 30). It is dangerous for these smaller individuals to go on a starvation diet because the lean mass that is lost may come from organs such as the heart. In the 1970`s there were several deaths resulting from starvation-type diets. Death is a rare side effect, though.

The more common problem resulting from starvation-type diets is the resultant weight regain. Weight is typically regained because there has not been a change in the lifestyle that led to the original weight gain. When the starvation diet is ended, the individual returns to the same old habits. The scale will indicate the weight regain, but it will not identify the composition of the added weight. When weight is regained, it is fat. When fat replaces the muscle mass that was lost during starvation, the metabolic rate (the number of calories needed to maintain the current weight) is decreased. The frustrated individual typically initiates another starvation-type diet only to continue this cycle.

To help an individual break this cycle, begin with a diet history, and help the client make some small changes. The goal should be 4 - 6 small meals/snacks that result in a balanced intake. Also get the patient started exercising. Weight training will be important for rebuilding the lost muscle mass. Increasing muscle mass and increasing aerobic exercise will help increase the appetite appropriately. Don`t forget to help the client identify a realistic weight loss goal. That goal should never exceed 10% of initial weight in a six-month period. After six months, the client should try to maintain the loss for a few months before considering further weight loss.
March 6, 2008 5:58 PM
In most studies I've read, about 40 hours of fasting is the point at which hormone levels change drastically and 'starvation' begins. I'm not sure how long it takes when you're eating, but it changes depending on the size of your caloric deficit.
  312
March 6, 2008 6:16 PM
That's very helpful!! Thanks for taking the time to do all of thisflowerforyou I think ill go eat some of my 800 calories that were left over, now....happy
  37278
January 9, 2011 4:56 PM
I have a question about starvation mode? I fast for spiritual reasons and not diet. So if i still have the neccessary 1200-1500 calories a day in juice alone will my body still go into starvation mode and destroy my metabolism? Will I still store the fat and loose gluclose? I am a healthy, active female who is at most 10 pounds overweight but Im not highly concerned about it.
January 10, 2011 3:45 AM
guess what? you won't stay in starvation mode forever - even if you keep on starving. otherwise, how would you actually starve? how do the severly emaciated die if they're in starvation mode?
starvation mode is a term that is thrown around far too much without proper understanding. it doesn't happen nearly as often as people think, as is much easier to rectify than people think. it's not even worth worrying about unless you hit a plateau - and even then (unless you are barely eating anything) you won't be in 'starvation mode'. you have just hit a plateau. eat a couple hundred more calories a day and the problem will be solved :)
January 10, 2011 3:59 AM
OK first, this post is from 2008, so arguing with it's conclusions probably won't get you very far.

Second, starvation mode doesn't mean you stop losing weight. It means your body puts a priority on conservation of calories and elimination of muscle and lean mass that isn't in use. The argument you put forth assumes that you completely stop losing weight, and that's not true. It's simply a change of focus for the body. Anorexics don't stop losing weight, but you'll notice they don't die after a few weeks as lack of fuel would suggest, it takes months. Why? Because the body adjusts to the amount of calories in.

By the way SongByrdSweet was essentially correct in her summation of 40 hours, although it varies, anywhere from 36 to 72 hours is generally the spot at which the body "flips the switch" . I.E. where certain hormones become more prevelent indicating starvation mode.
Edited by SHBoss1673 On January 10, 2011 4:00 AM
January 10, 2011 4:23 AM
You won't lose lean mass if you weight train. Your body will always choose to burn fat before muscle. Starvation mode is something that would happen if you didn't eat for weeks. Your body will appreciate a fast every now and then to cleanse. I haven't eaten breakfast for a year and follow a 16 hour fast every day and night and a 8 hour feeding window of 2 big meals a day. I think starvation mode was invented by the diet industry to encourage people to keep eating their shakes and bars all day.
January 10, 2011 5:57 AM
QUOTE:

You won't lose lean mass if you weight train. Your body will always choose to burn fat before muscle. Starvation mode is something that would happen if you didn't eat for weeks. Your body will appreciate a fast every now and then to cleanse. I haven't eaten breakfast for a year and follow a 16 hour fast every day and night and a 8 hour feeding window of 2 big meals a day. I think starvation mode was invented by the diet industry to encourage people to keep eating their shakes and bars all day.


I don't agree with the above statements. I'll explain. The body enters what is commonly referred to as starvation mode after about 3 days or so (give or take, can be as short as 36 hours, but usually it's about 70 or so)
RE:
http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayFulltext?type=1&fid=789564&jid=PNS&volumeId=54&issueId=01&aid=789556

Also, as to the first point, while it's true, weight training will help to reduce the amount of lean mass that is canabalized by the body, it won't halt it completely when in caloric deficit. In almost every case, the body will utilize a percentage of lean mass for energy costs (I.E. not only to give the body energy, but to reduce the amount of energy that is needed). Minimizing it is a factor of how much protein you eat, how many calories you eat, what kind of weight training you do, and your individual statistics (age, weight, height, activity level...etc.). How much lean mass is canabalized is a factor of functional use, weight training, incoming calorie level, incoming calorie type, and energy costs. But I've never seen a study done where the body will be in caloric deficit and not be canabalizing at least some percentage of lean mass.
January 10, 2011 7:16 PM
So.... what if Im drinking my calories and not eating them?
January 10, 2011 7:44 PM
NEVERMIND. INTERMITTENT FASTING BLEW ALL THE HYPE OUT THE WATER. FASTING IS NOT ONLY OK BUT IS HEALTHY AND PREVENTS DISEASE, CANCER AND GREATLY INCREASES LIFESPAN!
January 11, 2011 7:28 AM
QUOTE:

NEVERMIND. INTERMITTENT FASTING BLEW ALL THE HYPE OUT THE WATER. FASTING IS NOT ONLY OK BUT IS HEALTHY AND PREVENTS DISEASE, CANCER AND GREATLY INCREASES LIFESPAN!


can you elaborate, show some documentation, studies, reasons why you say this. Let's talk about it in a positive manner, I've done a lot of research on this topic, and love discussing it, but without facts and information, we're just furthering rumor.
January 11, 2011 7:30 AM
QUOTE:

So.... what if Im drinking my calories and not eating them?


a limited amount of meal replacements is usually ok. Maybe 1/4 of your daily calories or so. But remember, the human body is designed to process solid foods. Drinking all your calories can lead to a number of complications. Foremost in my mind is serious issues with the gallbladder and liver that can arise from a liquid diet.
November 3, 2011 8:11 AM
the question was how do you get out, not how do you get in???
November 3, 2011 8:14 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

NEVERMIND. INTERMITTENT FASTING BLEW ALL THE HYPE OUT THE WATER. FASTING IS NOT ONLY OK BUT IS HEALTHY AND PREVENTS DISEASE, CANCER AND GREATLY INCREASES LIFESPAN!


can you elaborate, show some documentation, studies, reasons why you say this. Let's talk about it in a positive manner, I've done a lot of research on this topic, and love discussing it, but without facts and information, we're just furthering rumor.


...She doesn't need to. It's in all caps so its true. Silly.....
November 3, 2011 8:29 AM
I've heard that starvation mode is just a myth. Are there any legit/peer reviewed articles that can support or debunk this theory?
November 23, 2011 4:08 AM
Your body doesn't store the fat - if fat is there, it will metabolise that in preference to anything else. It's when you've run out of fat, your GI tract is empty and you've metabolised all the ketones to keep your brain functioning that your body will start to use lean protein (muscles) to survive.
January 24, 2012 12:27 PM
Please let me know if I am in danger of starving myself....

According to the App I downloaded I should net 1600 calories a day to lose 2 pounds per week.

I have been using this app for 2 weeks now to tack my calories and monitor my progress., I am working out 6 times per week.

Here is my average day so far...

I consume 2000 calories and burn 900 to net 1100 calories. At this rate I ought to lose 3 pounds per week instead of 2. Should I up my calories eaten to 2600?

Would I be healthier if I simply ate 1600 calories and did not work out? Meet in the middle and eat 2200 and burn 600?

This debate was happening last night when my wife was wondering why after a 1500 calorie workout I was "pigging out". I actually only ate 2000 calories for the day and I netted 372. This is unhealthy, right? Why bother burning all of those calories if you are going to just eat them right back? AM I tired because I am working out a ton, or because my body thinks it is starving?

If I keep this up for 3 months, at what point will I be in danger of losing my hair and nails? Plateau?

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