Dieting and Hormones
When trying to lose weight healthily, it is necessary for people to expend more calories than they are taking in. To do this, people usually increase the amount of exercise they are doing and decrease the amount of food they are eating. Unfortunately, sometimes being in a caloric deficit for an extended period time causes the body to adapt to lower calorie consumption and causes weight loss to plateau.
According Josh New, MS, CI-CPT who wrote the article, “Refeeds For Fat Loss: The Science Behind Leptin,” increasing caloric intake through carbohydrates can help boost hormone levels. Leptin is one of these hormones and is released from fat tissue and helps to regulate hunger. An increase in leptin helps the body to get back to burning fat by increasing metabolism.
Overcoming a Weight Loss Plateau
An increase in carbohydrates when experiencing a weight loss plateau can be implemented once or twice a week and is referred to as a “reefed.” In the article, New discusses that increasing the amount of fat in a person’s diet does not elicit the same leptin response as an increase in carbohydrates. Because of this, the amount of fat a person is eating while in their caloric deficit may either remain the same or be lowered on the day of a reefed.
Similarly, the amount of protein a person is consuming should remain the same since protein does not impact leptin response. Carbohydrates, particularly those with a high glycemic index, are successful in increasing leptin levels and are typically increased by about 25-40% during a reefed.
People often think that they have to lower their calories even more when weight loss stalls, but sometimes they actually need to do the opposite.