Reverse Dieting: What Is It?


Who has not been in this situation: You change your diet and lose a few pounds, but after a few weeks you have already gained them back. A new method called reverse dieting promises to change that – the method is quite controversial though!

A successful diet can achieve amazing results in a short time. The pounds fall and the dream figure seems reached. But after the termination of the diet often the so-called Jojo effect is observed. When eating normally again, the lost pounds are soon back. The little pads that we had just gotten rid of are then also back and often the scales even report a significant weight gain after a short time. Reverse dieting promises a remedy. But what is behind it? And is the method really useful?

What is reverse dieting?

While after a normal diet one eats again as before, the calorie quantity is increased with the Reverse Dieting only very slowly. Only 50 to 100 calories per week are added until the number of calories needed before the diet is reached. The thought behind it: During a diet, the body goes into sleep mode, consuming significantly fewer calories than before. If you now eat normally again after the diet, the body is usually still in resting mode. The extra calories are not burned but start immediately.

Reverse dieting is intended to wake the body slowly from sleep mode and learn to burn more calories. This is to prevent the dreaded yoyo effect. So far there are however no provable studies for the effectiveness of the Reverse Dieting, which is used primarily by competitive sportsmen such as boxers. They often undergo extreme diets in order to reach their fighting weight on competition days and want to avoid an unwanted weight gain and thus a new diet.

What are the dangers of reverse dieting?

The website “” asked the nutritionist Cristina Rivera, president of “Nutrition in Motion”, about this. She urgently warns non-athletes against reverse dieting. Rivera points out that so far no studies are available, which sufficiently investigated the new slimming trend. She also warns of possible side effects. “Everyone who has ever gone on a calorie-reduced diet knows that you can feel drained and feel like you just want to sleep,” she says. And she fears that this effect could last much longer than desired with reverse dieting.

Anyone who has felt limp and listless during a normal diet should therefore stay away from reverse dieting. And with 50 to 100 extra calories a week, it can take a long time for your body to regain the usual amount of energy from food.

Stop malnutrition

Also to be considered: A diet is always malnutrition, which deprives the body of nutrients that it urgently needs. And a “diet after diet”, i.e. a reverse diet, ensures that this deficiency condition lasts longer than is actually necessary and healthy.

Mental and physical consequences can be the result. Rivera therefore advises against dieting for all people who suffer from anxiety, depression and kidney problems. According to Rivera, even people who have suffered from an eating disorder before should not use the reverse diet under any circumstances.

Finding the right measure with the diet

However, eating as usual directly after the diet is not always the right solution either. When Rivera works with people who have just finished a low-calorie diet, she usually increases their calorie intake by 250 to 300 calories per week. But she emphasizes that each person reacts differently and that it is important to work with a nutrition expert to find the right amount of food.

“Some people need more calories early on because they get really hungry. Others get stomach aches if they eat too much food too quickly after a diet”, says Rivera. She recommends always consulting a nutritionist before starting a diet. And also during as well as after completion of the DiƤt, the nourishing advisor should stand with advice and act to the side.

Do not try out every new trend

In summary, it can be said that not every new trend necessarily needs to be tried out. With reverse dieting, the facts are too thin to know how promising this method is. There is also the possibility that your health could be damaged by this method.

This also applies to other diets, of course. Therefore, you should talk to a nutritionist before every diet and consult your doctor. This way you have a much higher chance of long-term success without health risks.

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