Losing weight is twice as hard as previously thought as cutting calories makes it harder to shed pounds
Reducing your intake of calories slows down your body’s metabolism, meaning it’s twice as hard to shift unwanted pounds.
According to new research into how the body responds to dieting, the effect of reducing calorie intake plateaus after three years, meaning cutting calories will not lead to continued weight loss.
Official guidance previously suggested that cutting 500 calories a day would result in a pound of weight being lost a week.
‘People have used this rule of thumb for how to lose weight for decades and it turns out to be completely wrong,’ says Kevin Hall, a mathematical modeller at the US National Institute of Diabetes and Kidney Diseases in Maryland.
‘It doesn’t take account of metabolic changes that take place when people change their diet. If you cut the calories in someone’s diet, the metabolism slows down.’
There is, however, some good news for dispirited dieters. Experts have created an online calculator that allows slimmers to adjust their expectations to gain a more realistic picture of what they can expect to achieve.
The Body Weight Simulator website works by estimating how much a person would have to reduce their calorie intake by and how much more exercise they would have to do in order to achieve their target weight.
Boyd Swinburn, an obesity expert from Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, advises dieters to be patient. He says: ‘This is a marathon not a sprint.’