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Old 11-10-2007, 04:16 PM   #1
Emily Mattes
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Do cheat days prevent metabolic downregulation?

So I was reading this article (WFS) on losing 20lbs of fat in 30 days. He basically follows low-glycemic, low-carb principles on losing fat, so he doesn't seem like a total huckster. He also advocates sticking to the same meals every day--this doesn't seem like a great idea to me as it makes one less likely to maintain a balanced intake of nutrients.

However, the really interesting part is his advocacy for "cheat days." He claims one day of really high caloric intake (and presumably high carbohydrate intake) will cause an insulin spike that prevents your metabolism from downregulating and burning less calories. In a similar article about building ridiculous amounts of muscle in a short time (see here, WFS), he makes an analogus argument saying reducing protein intake for one day a week will prevent protein uptake downregulation (see his 4th principle).

Is there any truth to this? Will having a high-carb cheat day actually increase your rate of bodyfat loss? It is an interesting idea. I know that a massive drop in caloric intake can turn the body on to "starvation mode" and reduce metabolism, but this is the first I've seen of a biological reason for a cheat day, instead of just psychological.
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Old 11-10-2007, 04:29 PM   #2
Brandon Oto
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Re: Do cheat days prevent metabolic downregulation?

It's been around.

Not sure what people's personal experiences are, but I gather that the attempts made to demonstrate leptin manipulation in studies have been a general failure. Make of that what you will.
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Old 11-10-2007, 04:47 PM   #3
Anthony Bainbridge
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Re: Do cheat days prevent metabolic downregulation?

Yeah, carb-cycling works like a charm and there's about a bazillion different varieties to choose from (short and long rotations, etc).
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Old 11-11-2007, 12:08 AM   #4
George Mounce
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Re: Do cheat days prevent metabolic downregulation?

I did mine today - Egg Nog latte from Peet's. Oh man, something so good about Egg Nog in your latte.
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Old 11-11-2007, 01:27 AM   #5
Steven Low
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Re: Do cheat days prevent metabolic downregulation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Oto View Post
It's been around.

Not sure what people's personal experiences are, but I gather that the attempts made to demonstrate leptin manipulation in studies have been a general failure. Make of that what you will.
Well, leptin injections work. The main problem is get diet to stimulate leptin response.. without injections.

But in general, carb cycling can work well as Anthony has said.

20 lbs in 30 days is a lot though.. that's about a deficit of 2400 cals per day which is generally pretty unhealthy unless you're weighing over 250-300 lbs. In which case you would probably need exercise to stimulate the metabolism that much. Seems a bit 'huckster' to me, heh.
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Old 11-11-2007, 06:41 AM   #6
Paul Symes
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Re: Do cheat days prevent metabolic downregulation?

It works. It works best if you're slightly carb depleted. The excess calories, eaten as extra carbs, have a sink to go into so are less likely to be stored as fat. The extra calories stop the metabolism from slowing down. T
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Old 11-11-2007, 08:30 AM   #7
Steve Liberati
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Re: Do cheat days prevent metabolic downregulation?

carb up day (aka cheat day) is a nice curveball to throw at your body to keep it guessing. Eat the same amount of carbs (calories) day in day out and your body's internal thermostat (metabolism) adjusts to accommodate the expected influx of macro nutrients. So a cheat day (higher carbs) reeves that furnace back up and gives your metabolism that necessary shot in the leg to boost performance.

Last edited by Steve Liberati : 11-11-2007 at 08:33 AM.
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Old 11-11-2007, 08:49 AM   #8
Sarena Kopciel
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Re: Do cheat days prevent metabolic downregulation?

yeah but Steve I did try that yesterday by default--baked a load of banana/buckwheat/hemp muffins (totally paleo of course). I ate more than my fair share--lets leave it at that!

Last night I had ordered tkts to a movie and had no stregnth to go out later and this morning I feel like a mack truck drove over me and am so congested!!
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Old 11-11-2007, 12:13 PM   #9
Adam Steer
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Re: Do cheat days prevent metabolic downregulation?

I think the "tolerance" to cheat days is different for everyone. If I eat whatever I want on a so-called cheat day, I end up triggering huge cravings and end up feeling crappy for a couple days afterwards, like Serena.

So my "cheats" need to be more moderate choices. This is hard, since I really enjoy food...

There is a popular book out on the subject right now, Cheat to Lose. But I think it should be tempered with some knowledge of sugar addiction, la Potatoes Not Prozac. (both links w/f s)

PNP is by Dr Kathleen Desmaison. Her contention is that certain people are addicted to sugar, along the same mechanisms as alcohol addiction. She talks about the brain chemistry involved. It is quite an intersting read. I certainly recognize many of the symptoms in myself. But I don't think it applies to everyone. Thus the caveat that cheat days would need to be different for each person...

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Old 11-12-2007, 10:51 AM   #10
Matt DeMinico
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Re: Do cheat days prevent metabolic downregulation?

Dang, maybe that's why my weight stays down when I eat a huge bowl of Breyers at night.
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