Metabolic adaptation may not adjust accurately after regaining weight.

People who’s successful at maintaining weight loss in the long-term continue to experience metabolic slowing. New findings were obtained after analyzing data from The Biggest Loser’s participants.

Researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), followed the progress of 14 participants from the TV show. Six years later, contributors recovered 90 of 128 pounds they had lost after 30 weeks of the program. Results are optimum when compared to other interventions.

Weight Loss not correlated with Metabolism
Even though maintaining a healthy weight is the longer term goal for people who lost a few pounds, the correlation between their metabolism and their weight. Image Credit: Amazon News

Metabolism tends to slow when people diet. A new theory proposes that it remains suppressed, even when people regain substantial weight they had previously lost. Study participants kept the same resting metabolic rate, six years after the competition had ended.

Resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the energy needed by people to stay alive, with no activity. Weight loss goes hand in hand with RMR, which is often major than expected. This process is called “metabolic adaptation”, said researchers in a paper published Monday in the journal Obesity.

The fight against weight regain must persist

Metabolic adaptation acts to fight weight loss. Participants kept a weight loss of 12 percent after six years. According to Erin Fothergill, a clinical metabolic researcher at the NIH, that numbers are clinically considerable. However, the fight against weight regain may continue for them.

Eric Ravussin, Ph.D and co-editor of the journal Obesity said results obtained by The Biggest Loser members are “quite good”. However, he is not sure they can retain the regression, according to Runner’s World. In the 1950s, researchers proposed that maintaining weight loss could be a very difficult task.

“I’m impressed. Very few programs, if any, are able to follow up at six years and show that more than half of the participants had maintained a 10 percent or greater weight loss.” said Liz Applegate, Ph.D of the University of California to Runner’s World.

It appears that metabolic adaptation drops as people make diet. However, it may decrease more than expected. For instance, participants at the The Biggest Loser burned 3,800 calories daily, when the show began. However, they burned 3,000 calories per day after 30 weeks of dieting.

How can metabolic adaptation interfere when people regain weight?

Six years after the Biggest Losers left the show, their metabolism continued to slow. However, they regained 88 percent of their original weight loss, said Runner’s World. In other words, metabolic adaptation may not be correlated with weight regain.

As a consequence, it could be now harder for them, to lose weight. They have gained mass again, but still have a slow metabolism. Researchers also noted that people who showed better results at keeping a low weight, showed a major metabolic slowing.

“We believe that metabolic adaptation works like a spring pulling back on you with increasing force the harder you pull against it. The more you work to lose weight, the more metabolic adaptation opposes you.” said Fothergill to Runner’s World.

Researchers suggested that people who want to keep a low weight in the long term, must keep an eye on persistent metabolic adaptation. Detailed results of the study were published for Free in the journal Obesity.

Source: Runner’s World