Does Reverse Dieting Keep Weight Off?

Yesterday, we wrote about the keto diet. ( We said one of the biggest problems is that it’s hard to keep weight off after stopping the diet. That’s a large problem with any crash diet. When they are incredibly strict, you lose weight by following rules that are hard to follow and gain the pounds back quickly when it becomes unsustainable. That’s why, after a crash diet, many people follow “reverse dieting” to keep the weight off. But what is it?

Reverse dieting is a system of eating wherein you slowly increase how much you eat over weeks. ( Supposedly, it helps your metabolism adjust and prevents binge eating or just reverting to unhealthy habits. Proponents believe that it can help you keep weight off and is the best way to transition into a healthy diet.

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much research done on reverse dieting. ( Not on its effectiveness, long-term results or health impacts. It seems as though the lack of research is because doctors say that, as crash diets are unhealthy and should be avoided, reverse diets should be unnecessary. While it’s true that crash diets may not be healthy, it isn’t helpful to people who have done a crash diet and want to keep the weight off.

Moreover, some people are told to do a crash diet by a doctor for a specific reason. Some conditions require a person to lose weight very quickly. It’s important to maintain those results.

Usually, reverse dieting takes four to 10 weeks. ( You add 50-100 calories per week until you are at your original caloric intake with healthy foods to maintain your current weight. You maintain your protein levels throughout. People believe this will help normalize your hunger and weight-regulating hormones. We don’t know exactly how effective it is, because of the lack of studies, but people claim it works well. It makes sense that easing into a healthier diet would be better than reverting back to our old eating habits. If you went from a typical diet to just vegetables and eggs and then went back to having snacks, you will surely gain weight more quickly than if you slowly add in things like more fruit and cheese. However, if it helps you keep the weight off is unknown.

Along with the lack of research, another question we have about reverse dieting is its focus on calories. ( While reduced caloric intake is the focus of many crash diets, some — like keto — look at fats, protein and carbs, how do you slowly reverse that? We honestly don’t know. There is no answer when no doctors have examined it. This method of coming off of a diet originated not with a doctor but with bodybuilders. ( That’s part of why no one has looked into it; it’s viewed as just a fad.

We’ll admit it: crash diets aren’t great. They aren’t healthy and can do harm. But, research should be done about how to keep the weight off. If you have done a fad diet — be it keto, a grapefruit diet, a cleanse or anything else — it was hard work, and you lost the weight. Of course, you want to maintain your results. Having your weight yo-yo is also unhealthy. ( You should speak to your doctor about what the best way to keep it off may be. Nowhere near enough research has been done on this. We cannot endorse reverse dieting. A doctor who knows you can tell you how to keep the weight off in a healthy way.

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