The reverse diet is a model that is committed to increasing the consumption of calories to maintain body weight. It claims that an increase in energy intake can accelerate basal metabolism, which would cause an imbalance of the caloric balance in favor of expenditure.
The truth is that there are very few studies that prove the effects of the reverse diet. However, this approach is not only about energy, but also about the distribution of calories throughout the day.
What is the reverse diet?
In order to improve body composition, the reverse diet arises. This is characterized by raising the caloric intake, although with a different distribution. Bet on a higher consumption during the morning and noon, in order to finish with a very light dinner. Most of the calories are ingested before 5 in the afternoon.
It is proposed that this protocol could help reduce appetite and avoid anxiety, which would determine adherence to many other diets. However, the increase in caloric intake has to be gradual for the desired effect to be experienced. It can be tested after following a hypocaloric diet.
How does it work?
According to the proponents of the reverse diet, increasing the intake produces a greater thermogenic effect by food, as well as an increase in the basal metabolic rate. In this situation, the body should use a greater amount of energy instead of storing it in the form of fat.
Eating larger amounts of food reduces the secretion of leptin, a hormone that regulates appetite and metabolism. This is responsible for slowing down the metabolic rate, favoring energy savings. However, these effects have not been evidenced from a scientific point of view.
What does science say about reverse dieting?
Few studies have been conducted on the reverse diet within the scientific literature . However, most of the research on weight loss proposes the opposite model, that is, a hypocaloric diet. Under this context it is possible to stimulate the mobilization and oxidation of fats, according to a publication in Nutrition.
There are some alternative protocols to traditional diets that rely on mealtime restrictions, such as intermittent fasting. These have shown benefits on weight loss. However, beyond the physiological effects, it causes a reduction in energy intake.
There have even been nutritional restrictions, but not energy, as in the case of the ketogenic diet. This model is intended to increase insulin sensitivity and generate greater fat oxidation. It is possible to stimulate weight loss effectively, as stated by research published in the journal Nutrition & Diabetes.
However, it is not possible to find references that provide evidence that an increase in intake will transform into a reduction in subcutaneous adipose tissue. At least not in the absence of some pattern of physical exercise that increases spending.
What determines the weight loss process?
The truth is that the fact of losing weight does not respond only to the result of a mathematical equation. There are more factors that can have a decisive influence. One of them is insulin sensitivity, which modulates the body’s use of fat as an energy source.
Also maintaining a healthy microbiota can have significant effects on body composition. The digestion and absorption of nutrients, as well as their subsequent use and mediation of inflammation, depend on the bacteria that inhabit the intestine.
Lastly, a good night’s sleep routine is another factor that makes a difference. During rest the body’s recovery processes develop. Not getting enough sleep could lead to alterations in metabolism or in the physiology of appetite.
Tips to lose weight effectively
When the goal is to lose weight, there are better alternatives than the reverse diet approach. Obviously, you have to create a hypocaloric environment, but you also have to take other measures. The first one is to promote the practice of strength exercise, to support muscle gain.
On the other hand, it is optimal to sleep 7 or 8 hours on a daily basis. From a dietary point of view, the key is to consume fresh food, avoiding industrial ultra-processed foods. It is necessary to reduce the intake of flours and derivatives thereof and increase the intake of fermented dairy products.
Reverse diet: a protocol with little scientific basis
The scientific literature does not support reverse dieting as a weight loss method. There is no evidence to support its application.
Even from the point of view of physiology it doesn’t make much sense. There are better options that are supported by experts and have shown good results.