Starvation mode is a term you’ll often hear when reading about a new diet, or when someone is having problems losing weight. It sounds really scary, and there is scientific evidence proving it’s real, but it’s very rare to reach the actual state of starvation.
What Happens In Starvation Mode?
The concept of starvation mode is based on scientific evidence proving your body will make changes to caloric use when you’re starving. When there isn’t a steady supply of energy provided from food, your blood glucose will rise to provide a quick source of energy
You’ll also start to break down protein (muscle tissue) to utilize for energy. And something that gets the most attention is your metabolism will slow down.
In an effort to better manage calories in a time of starvation, your body tries to reduce calorie needs and expenditure.
When it comes to diets and weight loss, starvation mode sounds like a nightmare.
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The Truth About Starvation Mode
Very few people who have studied the effects of starvation will argue against the existence of a starvation mode. It is real, it does happen, and it does exist. If you enter a prolonged period without the needed food to survive, your body will attempt to make changes to your caloric use to keep you alive.
The part most diet gurus don’t mention is it’s actually really hard to be starving. Skipping one meal, or even going an entire day without food, will not trigger meaningful long term changes to your metabolism or how you utilize energy.
It sounds like a really logical explanation as to why someone isn’t losing weight. “You’ve entered starvation mode, and your metabolism has shut down”.
But there isn’t a starvation mode switch that gets clicked on if you skip breakfast.
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There are very smart and well educated professionals who firmly believe skipping one meal is detrimental to your metabolism, but there is growing evidence that our bodies don’t work that way.
Studies have shown structuring our calorie consumption to include periods of short fasts to be beneficial to weight loss and overall health.
The concept of intermittent fasting, where you fast for 8-16 hours per day, have shown the following benefits:
– Decreases insulin
– Increases natural growth hormone
– Increases metabolic rate by up to 15%
– Improves blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood triglycerides
– Reduces inflammation
– Improves cellular repair
Given the results of studying intermittent fasting diets, not only do we not enter starvation mode easily by skipping a meal, our bodies may actually prefer short fasting periods without consuming calories.