Here are a few truths you need to know about Hunger patterns

Friends who have a little bit of a fitness base know that a long diet and low calorie intake can put the body in “hunger patterns”, with metabolic damage, and weight loss stopped.

In fact, “hunger pattern” is not a strict scientific definition. Many of the legends about it, in fact, are just rumors.

Are hunger patterns real?

If you use the term “hunger patterns” to look up the literature, you’ll almost never find anything-obviously, it’s a concept that’s easy for the layman to understand.

This also explains why today, the Internet for “hunger mode”, there is no uniform strict definition.

Of course, not science doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. This phenomenon, in fact from the “adaptive thermogenesis”, refers to the human body’s basic metabolism, with the daily intake of how much and automatically adjusted. This phenomenon has been scientifically proven for decades and has been the subject of numerous clinical studies.

Existence does not mean, however, that the understanding of “hunger patterns” is entirely correct.

How do we open hunger mode?

Myth: the body starts “hunger mode” when daily intake is far less than basal metabolism.

Truth: as long as there is a large calorie gap between intake and consumption, “Hunger Mode” will open.

There are no strict boundaries for this value, but in many studies, a daily calorie gap of 400-500 Cal results in a significant decline in metabolism (1).

  • Daily activities consume (NEAT): walking, stretching, washing dishes, hanging out with friends, chatting, even slapping…
  • Exercise-induced (EAT): as you might expect, Exercise-induced Expenditure;
  • Eating consumption (TEF): energy consumption used to digest food, generally accounting for about 15% of the daily intake of calories. This consumption is mainly determined by the type of nutrients in the food and the amount of fibre in the food. For example, protein TEF is relatively high, about 25%; carbohydrate TEA is 5-25%, depending on the content; fat TEA is generally less than 5%.

The formula for total daily human calorie expenditure is: TEE = BMR + NEAT + EAT + TEF. If you’re a teenager, you need to add the energy you need for growth.

Human basal metabolic (BMR), accounts for only 60-70% of the total daily consumption.

For example, a girl with a basal metabolism of 1400 Cal, even without strenuous exercise, consumes more than 1800 Cal per day is quite normal.

If you maintain your intake at 1200 calories in order to reduce fat, you may think there is a 200-calorie gap, but in fact, the gap is as high as 600 Cal. What you think of as “healthy fat loss” may not be the case.

Hunger patterns increase fat?

Myth: dieting can cause muscle loss, leading to fat gain and weight gain if you eat a little bit.

Truth: true, muscle is losing more than fat, causing a rise in body fat (in relative terms). But in “hunger mode,” there was no increase in the absolute amount of fat.

Simply imagine that in some food-poor areas, people don’t get enough energy for a long time; will people in this area be undernourished, too thin, or overweight because of malnutrition?

The metabolic damage caused by dieting does not make you gain weight by eating a little food. This value varies from person to person, but is generally maintained at around 5-10 per cent, and may reach more than 20 per cent for individuals (2).

In other words, if you had a basal metabolism of 1200 calories, dieting would reduce it by a little more than 100 Cal, rather than “below 800 Cal,” as some websites describe it.

A large part of the decline in basal metabolism is due to natural “damage” caused by weight loss, not by dieting.

Permanent damage from starvation patterns?

Myth: a drop in basal metabolism is likely to cause permanent damage and will take an extremely long time to recover.

Truth: your basal metabolism is returning much faster than you think.

I have dieted before, afraid of rebounding too quickly, now the resumption of diet, only more than before a day to eat 200 Cal. can it?

What you need is to keep your daily calorie intake and expenditure roughly the same, not increase your intake a little every month and stay hungry.

Although an increase in food intake can cause temporary weight gain, there is no need to worry too much about metabolic damage as long as you don’t go to the other extreme and keep your intake expenditure roughly the same.

Scientists have done experiments (6), a group of anorexia patients directly returned to normal diet, the results, only 2 weeks, their damaged metabolism, can be restored to 72-83%.

And the long-term impact?

Another study (7) found that two years after tracking anorexia patients who returned to eating, their basal metabolism, body composition, and health were the same as those of normal people with no history of eating disorders.

They regained some weight, but all remained within normal health ranges, and there were no abnormalities in fat metabolism.

Don’t be afraid to eat just because you’ve been on a diet; metabolic damage can often be repaired quickly after a normal diet.

Of course, metabolic recovery time, and diet time, recovery period diet content also has a relationship.

A vegan study found (10) that very low intake persisted for at least two years and that high-carb (& GT) consumption was used during the recovery period; 80%), low-protein diet (~ 10%), metabolic recovery may take more than six months.

Can Hunger patterns be alleviated by exercise Diet?

Myth: hunger patterns can be alleviated by increasing the amount of exercise, or by dramatically increasing protein intake.

Truth: this kind of behavior will only make the “hunger pattern” worse and worse.

Exercise during extreme dieting, especially aerobic exercise, directly increases the calorie gap, making “hunger patterns” worse:

Many studies (8) have long found that heavy aerobic exercise during dieting directly leads to a further decline in basal metabolism and a more rapid loss of muscle tissue.

Many people who lose fat, especially women, try to break through by increasing the amount of oxygen they have after their weight has reached a “weight plateau.” in fact, this behavior is likely to be counterproductive.

So, what about resistive movement? Admittedly, the overall cost of resistance exercise is less than that of high-intensity aerobic exercise, and it relieves muscle loss. However, this does not prevent muscle loss and metabolic decline.

Doing a lot of aerobic exercise during your diet won’t help your hunger patterns in any way.
Still others say that increasing protein intake can preserve muscle mass and prevent metabolic decline. This may be true if your intake is at a normal level, but if you’re on a diet, take a look at the following study (9):

Scientists put a group of overweight women on a 21-day diet. Their daily diet is very strict: 95.3% protein, 0.2% carbohydrate, 4.4% fat.

Three days later, their basal metabolism was reduced to 94% of the original, and five days later, their basal metabolism was reduced to 91% of the original.

Twenty-one days later, their basal metabolism was only 82% of what it had been, and within three weeks it had dropped by as much as 18%.

So, the only thing you can do is to try to avoid dieting, or return to normal eating as soon as possible. Hoping to reduce the harm of dieting in other ways won’t do much good.


  • (1) G C Major, E Doucet, P Trayhurn, A Astrup and A Tremblay.) Clinical significance of adaptive thermogenesis. International Journal of Obesity (2007) 31,204-212. 
  • (2) Leibel RL, Rosenbaum M, Hirsch J. Changes in energy expenditure resulting from altered body weight.) N Engl J Med 1995; 332: 621-628. 
  • (3) Angelo Tremblay; Genevi è ve Major;? Ric Doucet; Paul Trayhurn; Arne Astrup. Role of Adaptive Thermogenesis in Unsuccessful Weight-Loss Intervention. Future Lipidology. 2007, 2 (6): 651-658. 
  • (4) Adaptive thermogenesis in human body weight regulation: more of a concept than a measurable entitlement? Dulloo AG, Jacquet J, et al. University of Fribourg, Switzerland. Obesity Reviews, 13 (supp2) 105-121, December 2012. 
  • (5) Lichtman SW, Pisarska K, Berman ER, Pestone M, Dowling H, Offenbacher E, Weisel H, Heshka S, Matthews DE, Heymsfield SB.) Discrepancy between self-reported and actual caloric intake and exercise in obese subjects. N Engl J Med. 1992 Dec 31, 327 (27): 1893-8. 
  • (6) Schebendach JE, Golden NH, Jacobson MS, Hertz S, Shenker IR.) The metabolic responses to starvation and refeeding in adolescents with anorexia nervosa. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1997 May 28, 817: 110-9. 
  • (7) Dellava JE, Policastro P, Hoffman DJ.) Energy metabolism and body composition in long-term recovery from anorexia nervosa. Int J Eat Disord. 2009 Jul, 42 (5): 415-21. 
  • (8) The impact of exercise and diet restriction on daily energy expenditure.) Poehlman ET, Melby CL, Goran MI.Sports Med. 1991 Feb, 11 (2): 78-101, College of Medicine, University of Vermont. 
  • (9) Barrows, K, & Snook, JT. (1987). Effect of a high-protein, very-low-calorie diet on resting metabolism, thyroid hormones, and energy expenditure of obese middle-aged women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol 45,391-398. 
  • (10) Harper, I. T. et al. (2000). Energy metabolism after 2 years of energy restriction: the Biosphere 2 experiment. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol 72. No. 4946-953.
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Hello, I am a website editor. I've edited more than 10 websites in the last five years. My hobbies are health, life and website technology. For me, writing an article is part of my life.All articles on the page are based on scientific confirmation, not individual speculation, and more source comments will be added in the future.Thank you for reading!

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