Why You Weight Rebound After a Diet: Fat REGAIN

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Why You Weight Rebound After a Diet: Fat REGAIN – Thomas DeLauer


A study in the New England Journal of Medicine, hunger-related hormones disrupted by dieting and weight loss can remain at altered levels for at least a year

What this study looked at, however, was whether these changes in hormone levels persist after an individual loses weight – to find out, researchers put 50 overweight or obese men and women on a very low-calorie diet for 10 weeks, then tracked their hormone levels for one year

Blood tests showed that average levels of several hormones (including leptin, ghrelin, and insulin) had changed as a result of the weight loss

As expected, the participants also reported being hungrier – both before and after breakfast – than they had been at the study’s start

At the 10-week mark the participants were allowed to resume a normal diet, but they continued to receive periodic advice from a dietitian and were also encouraged to get 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week

One year later, they’d regained about 12 pounds, on average, and follow-up tests showed that their hormone levels had only partially stabilized – their hunger levels remained elevated as well


Keto RMR Study

Study – Long term results on keto

A study published (Feb, 2018) in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism looked to see keto’s effect on permanent weight loss via its effects on RMR

Researchers chose a set of 20 obese patients who followed a low-calorie keto diet in order to induce weight loss (was pretty low calorie; 600-800 kcal) – the subjects lost around 45 lbs each over the course of 4 months

But what they found was that despite the patients’ large weight loss, that weight loss didn’t affect the patients’ RMRs in any significant way – there was no significant differences in their basal RMR and no metabolic adaptations occurred

Study – American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Study looked to see if the reduction in energy expenditure persists in persons who have maintained a body-weight reduction of greater than or equal to, 10% for more than 1 year


Seven trios of subjects were studied and they received a weight-maintaining liquid formula diet of identical composition

Each trio consisted of a subject at usual weight (Wt(initial)), a subject maintaining a weight reduction of greater than or =10% after recent (5-8 week) completion of weight loss (Wt(loss-recent)), and a subject who had maintained a documented reduction in body weight of greater than 10% for more than 1 year (Wt(loss-sustained))

*Sustained weight, recently lost weight, had lost weight and kept it off for over a year*

24-hour total energy expenditure (TEE) was assessed and resting energy expenditure (REE) and the thermic effect of feeding (TEF) were measured as well


TEE, NREE, and (to a lesser extent) REE were significantly lower in the Wt(loss-sustained) and Wt(loss-recent) groups than in the Wt(initial) group

Differences from the Wt(initial) group in energy expenditure were qualitatively and quantitatively similar after recent and sustained weight loss

Concluded that:

Declines in energy expenditure favoring the regain of lost weight persist well beyond the period of dynamic weight loss (2)



1) Hypertrophy and/or Hyperplasia: Dynamics of Adipose Tissue Growth. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2653640/
2) Hirsch J and Batchelor B. (n.d.). Adipose tissue cellularity in human obesity. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1085232
3) The role for adipose tissue in weight regain after weight loss. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4371661/
4) Effects of weight gain and weight loss on regional fat distribution. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3396439/
5) Resting metabolic rate of obese patients under very low calorie ketogenic diet. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5816424/
6) Rosenbaum M , et al. (n.d.). Long-term persistence of adaptive thermogenesis in subjects who have maintained a reduced body weight. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18842775/
7) Müller MJ and Bosy-Westphal A. (n.d.). Adaptive thermogenesis with weight loss in humans. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23404923/
8) Long-Term Persistence of Hormonal Adaptations to Weight Loss | NEJM. (2011, October 26). Retrieved from https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1105816
9) Resting metabolic rate of obese patients under very low calorie ketogenic diet. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5816424/


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