By Tom Venuto, Burn The Fat
QUESTION: Tom, Is it possible to not lose body fat because you’re eating too little?
ANSWER: Yes and no. This gets a little complicated so let me explain both sides.
Part one of my answer: I say NO, because if you are in a calorie deficit you WILL lose weight.
Most people have heard anecdotes of the dieter who claims to be eating 800 calories a day or some starvation diet level of intake that is clearly in a deficit and yet is not losing fat. Like the mythical unicorn, such an animal does not exist.
Every time you take a person like that and put them in a hospital research center or metabolic ward where their food can be counted, weighed, measured and almost literally “spoon fed” to them, a calorie deficit always produces weight loss.
There are no exceptions, except possibly in rare diseases or mutations. Even then metabolic or hormonal defects or diseases merely lead to energy imbalance via increases in appetite, decreases in energy expenditure or changes in energy partitioning. So at the end of the day it’s STILL calories in versus calories out.
In other words, NO – it’s NOT your thyroid (unless you’ve got a confirmed diagnosis as such…and then guess what… it’s STILL calories in vs calories out, you’re just not burning as many as someone should at your height and weight).
One famous study that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine years ago proved this point rather dramatically. After studying obese people – selected specifically because they swore they were eating less than 1200 calories but could not lose weight – Steven Lichtman and his colleages at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital in New York came to the following conclusion:
“The failure of some obese subjects to lose weight while eating a diet they report as low in calories is due to an energy intake substantially higher than reported and an overestimation of physical activity, not to an abnormality in thermogenesis.”
That’s right – the so-called “diet-resistant” subjects were eating more than they thought and moving less than they thought. This was probably the single best study ever published that debunks the “I’m in a calorie deficit but I can’t lose weight” myth:
Part two of my answer, YES, because:
(continued after the jump)