How Do Diets Work?
This topic is one that is very poorly understood, and that’s why I felt compelled to write about it to hopefully clear up a few things.
Dieting is easily the most controversial topic within the fitness industry. Do this diet to lose weight fast, do this diet because it is superior in fat loss compared to this diet. So that makes you ask, what is fact? What isn’t? Who do I trust? What do I do? Honestly, these are all very valid questions and ones you should be asking. With all of the fancy and pushy marketing these days, a lot of people have dressed up some very poor “diets” and convinced the consumer that they are a quick fix to their problems. Not only does this lead a lot of people astray, but it can also be harmful as sometimes, depending on a person’s health conditions, eating a certain way can be life-threatening.
Before we get any further into this article, I just want to point out that the advice I will provide here in no way replaces that of your physician. I would also like to point out that not all physicians know how the body responds to regular and consistent training. As unfortunate as that is, it’s the truth. If you have any adverse health conditions or concerns about dieting, please reach out and seek the opinion of your physician before making any decisions.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s dive into the things I wanted to discuss. I’ll keep this brief so that you aren’t overloaded with information. The main thing that people need to realize is that cutting carbs out of your diet or cutting fats out of your diet does not magically change the principles of human physiology and how our body works as far as energy balance. That being said, there’s nothing magical about the Keto Diet that increases your metabolism and causes your body to burn more calories just because of the way you are eating. I am a fan of the Keto Diet for certain things but in no way is it superior for fat loss than just eating in a caloric deficit.
That’s the main point that I want to make, it is all about energy balance.
If you want to lose weight (i.e. body fat), you must eat in a caloric deficit so that your body can tap into its energy stores (fat) and use the energy that is stored there to keep the natural processes and energy requirements in balance and homeostasis. If you want to gain weight, simply eat more than your body is burning and it provides a caloric environment that favors growth. If you need more convincing, check out this study that looks at the amount of added sugars consumed and chronic disease which found that sugar consumption (which is the enemy, right?) had no difference in the prevalence and onset of chronic disease.
So now you understand that energy balance is the way our bodies either lose weight or gain weight, what’s the next most important thing?
Adherence and consistency.
In order to see lasting changes from a “diet”, one must be able to adhere to it and eat in that specific caloric load depending on the goal on a consistent basis. You like eating Keto and it allows you to stick to a caloric deficit? Perfect, do it. You prefer to do the Whole30 diet because you like it and it allows to stick to a caloric deficit? Perfect, do it. You prefer to go out and eat Chick-Fil-A every day for lunch, and are still able to remain in a caloric deficit? Perfect, do that.
It doesn’t matter the type of food you eat, it matters the amount and the overall calories. Once you can grasp on to that concept, you will be much happier and become a much better “dieter”. If you don’t take anything else away from this article, just at least understand that weight loss or lean weight gain is a marathon, not a sprint.
For more information on this topic and a much more in-depth look into the science of this, plus a program that is designed around the two principles discussed here, check out my eBook: Burst Cycling System.
This eBook contains all of the science behind dieting and the exact program that I use for myself and my clients.