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  1. #1
    Gaintaining Mrpb's Avatar
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    New study suggests intermittent weight loss may be better than continuous weight loss

    Interesting new study. I still need to read the full text but I thought I'd share it ahead since this topic gets discussed a lot.

    http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/va...tcallback=true

    Background/Objectives: The MATADOR (Minimising Adaptive Thermogenesis And Deactivating Obesity Rebound) study examined whether intermittent energy restriction (ER) improved weight loss efficiency compared with continuous ER and, if so, whether intermittent ER attenuated compensatory responses associated with ER.

    Subjects/Methods: Fifty-one men with obesity were randomised to 16 weeks of either: (1) continuous (CON), or (2) intermittent (INT) ER completed as 8 × 2-week blocks of ER alternating with 7 × 2-week blocks of energy balance (30 weeks total). Forty-seven participants completed a 4-week baseline phase and commenced the intervention (CON: N=23, 39.4±6.8 years, 111.1±9.1 kg, 34.3±3.0 kg m−2; INT: N=24, 39.8±9.5 years, 110.2±13.8 kg, 34.1±4.0 kg m−2). During ER, energy intake was equivalent to 67% of weight maintenance requirements in both groups. Body weight, fat mass (FM), fat-free mass (FFM) and resting energy expenditure (REE) were measured throughout the study.

    Results: For the N=19 CON and N=17 INT who completed the intervention per protocol, weight loss was greater for INT (14.1±5.6 vs 9.1±2.9 kg; P<0.001). INT had greater FM loss (12.3±4.8 vs 8.0±4.2 kg; P<0.01), but FFM loss was similar (INT: 1.8±1.6 vs CON: 1.2±2.5 kg; P=0.4). Mean weight change during the 7 × 2-week INT energy balance blocks was minimal (0.0±0.3 kg). While reduction in absolute REE did not differ between groups (INT: -502±481 vs CON: −624±557 kJ d−1; P=0.5), after adjusting for changes in body composition, it was significantly lower in INT (INT: −360±502 vs CON: −749±498 kJ d−1; P<0.05).

    Conclusions: Greater weight and fat loss was achieved with intermittent ER. Interrupting ER with energy balance ‘rest periods’ may reduce compensatory metabolic responses and, in turn, improve weight loss efficiency.
    http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/va...tcallback=true
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  2. #2
    No Huevos katya422's Avatar
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    TFS. That is interesting.

    2 weeks off should be more than enough for recovery. Quite a difference in weight loss outcomes though. Skeptical me wonders if the continuous group had more compliance issues and if their intake was adjusted downward in line with any weight loss.
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  3. #3
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    Very interesting. Should make diet retention easier too since you get frequent breaks. I may give this a shot actually to end off my cut.
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  4. #4
    Clearly Irrational blue9steel's Avatar
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    Interesting results. I break up my cuts into nine week blocks, but certainly nothing as short as two weeks. I may have to ponder that for a bit.
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    Study subjects were obese.
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    Thanks, bookmarked to read after gym
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    Chasing cats since 1967 WonderPug's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ironwill2008 View Post
    Study subjects were obese.
    Sadly, it's getting hard to find study subjects who are not obese. /s
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    Bootless Errand ironwill2008's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WonderPug View Post
    Sadly, it's getting hard to find study subjects who are not obese. /s
    QFT.

    There's no money in running such studies on people who are already at least somewhat close to being fit. The results would likely be minimal anyway, if that much.
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  9. #9
    Registered Lifter boo99's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WonderPug View Post
    Sadly, it's getting hard to find study subjects who are not obese. /s
    Its getting hard to find people in general who arent obese as well
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    Registered User NotThereYet25's Avatar
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    Even if it is true for active lifters, I would still hate to take more diet breaks than the necessary minimum.
    Maintenance calories aren't even that satisfying after dieting for a while, and knowing that the actual diet is getting longer as a result isn't fun either.
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    Verified Aesthetic rhadam's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WonderPug View Post
    Sadly, it's getting hard to find study subjects who are not obese. /s
    There's no reason to run studies on healthy people. The funding comes from Diabetes research grants, cancer research grants, etc.

    For a "regular" person i find the study in question to be irrelevant. Interesting for sure, but not applicable to most.
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  12. #12
    Common sense/moderation. gbullock32's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rhadam View Post
    There's no reason to run studies on healthy people. The funding comes from Diabetes research grants, cancer research grants, etc.

    For a "regular" person i find the study in question to be irrelevant. Interesting for sure, but not applicable to most.
    This, and I can see it being easier to show noticeable improvements health wise in obese people who do pretty much anything to improve health. Those changes can be manipulated to make the results seem more polarizing than they would be for most.
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    Too busy to read now, were they exercising? If so the intermittent dieters.likely had more cumulative exercise time and if beginners that could make the difference.
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  14. #14
    Gaintaining Mrpb's Avatar
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    Yes the subjects were obese, that's mentioned right there in the abstract. Does that make the results irrelevant? not necessarily.

    This study supports the notion of using planned diet breaks. Whether it works this well in leaner subjects remains the question but given the psychological benefits it's probably a good idea to implement them some way or another. Perhaps 5 days deficit, 2 days maintenance, or 3 weeks deficit, 1 week maintenance.

    The difference in Resting Energy Expenditure (after adjusting for changes in body composition) is interesting: (INT: −360±502 vs CON: −749±498 kJ d−1), that's roughly 100 kcal.

    "Interrupting ER with energy balance ‘rest periods’ may reduce compensatory metabolic responses and, in turn, improve weight loss efficiency."

    PS. the continuous weight loss group may still achieve weight loss faster because the other group took 30 weeks in total.
    Last edited by Mrpb; 09-21-2017 at 06:50 AM.
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    So after 8 weeks on continuous ER u get downregulation of REE. Why at start of the intermittent ER they have more reduced REE compared to CON? (Figure 3).
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    Gaintaining Mrpb's Avatar
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    Eric Helms comments on this study: "I can't speak from a clinical obesity perspective but since we started instituting diet beaks of 1-2 weeks when stalls occurred and intermittently throughout contest preps, people have been getting leaner in better condition with less physical and mental stress in the process. And for us, while it might make contest prep a little longer, it's really not that much. Maybe an added month all up, which is well worth the pay off."

    Originally Posted by rml27v View Post
    So after 8 weeks on continuous ER u get downregulation of REE. Why at start of the intermittent ER they have more reduced REE compared to CON? (Figure 3).
    I haven't looked at it in detail but that may be explained by the greater weight loss. The difference in REE I reported was after adjusting for changes in body composition. I'll add that to my previous post.
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    I haven't looked at it in detail but that may be explained by the greater weight loss. The difference in REE I reported was after adjusting for changes in body composition. I'll add that to my previous post.
    "Change in REE adjusted for FFM and FM after each 4 weeks of ER in CON and INT groups. *Significant difference between groups; P<0.05." According to picture it is more than double after 4 weeks (Figure 3b to be precise). I wonder why?
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    Lyle McDonald suggests 4-6 weeks of dieting for category 1 before taking a 2 week break. Can't recall what category 2 and 3 was.
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    Apparently this video is about this study. I haven't watched it, maybe it's interesting.

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    Yeah! Science B!tch BennoMac's Avatar
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    after Losing alot of weight the stress on your physical body and mental side is real.
    The diet breaks when stalling could of helped me alot instead i dropped calories to stupid levels...
    Next time i wont diet for anymore than 12 weeks at a time.
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    Clearly Irrational blue9steel's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BennoMac View Post
    Next time i wont diet for anymore than 12 weeks at a time.
    I've played around with different lengths, for me I seem to do best on 9 week stretches. After longer time periods the hormonal impacts and other problems of extended dieting seem to ramp up non-linearly. For refeeds, "diet breaks" or whatever you want to call them I find that 3 weeks are about the best for me. Two weeks I don't really recover enough and four I tend to add too much weight back. That's all anecdotal of course.
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    Yeah! Science B!tch BennoMac's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by blue9steel View Post
    I've played around with different lengths, for me I seem to do best on 9 week stretches. After longer time periods the hormonal impacts and other problems of extended dieting seem to ramp up non-linearly. For refeeds, "diet breaks" or whatever you want to call them I find that 3 weeks are about the best for me. Two weeks I don't really recover enough and four I tend to add too much weight back. That's all anecdotal of course.
    Yeah the hormone part hit me hard i went around 9 months straight no breaks. 7 weeks since i upped calories to maintenance and im still recovering...
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    Just watched the Layne Norton video on this, very interesting, i wonder what the results would have been like if resistance training was involved, those 2 week diet breaks could have maybe even seen muscle gains.
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    Originally Posted by ThinkAndGoHam View Post
    Just watched the Layne Norton video on this, very interesting, i wonder what the results would have been like if resistance training was involved, those 2 week diet breaks could have maybe even seen muscle gains.
    Layne used to have a video where he recommended 4-6 weeks bulking, 2-3 weeks cutting.

    This study could be seen as support for 2-3 weeks cutting being superior to longer periods.
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    I finally got around to reading this study in detail.

    Originally Posted by rml27v View Post
    "Change in REE adjusted for FFM and FM after each 4 weeks of ER in CON and INT groups. *Significant difference between groups; P<0.05." According to picture it is more than double after 4 weeks (Figure 3b to be precise). I wonder why?
    Good question: I don't have an answer. 3B implies to me that the INT group had a larger decrease in REE in the first 8 weeks than the CON group, but that goes against pretty much the whole premise of their paper as the INT group lost more weight in the first 8 weeks than the CON group.

    Some other aspects that seem a bit odd to me:
    - they collected food diaries but didn't use these to assess for dietary compliance
    - group allocation accounted for a significant proportion of variance of the REE. I know they couldn't account for dropouts a priori but this is still unfortunate.
    - I don't understand the math to a degree. They stated they expected ~400 kJ/d (~100 kcal/d) decrease in adjusted REE with the continuous group and that this would yield a 5kg less weight loss relative to INT over 16 weeks. 100 kcal/d * 16 weeks = ~11,200 kcal; this is only ~1.5kg of fat or so, not close to 5kg
    - Lastly, they don't explicitly state (that I see anyway) how they adjust the REE for changes in fat mass and fat free mass. If they simply use their group-derived equations, that may be problematic because they are quite different:

    CON: REE = 94*FFM + 36*FM + 1184
    INT: REE = 55*FFM = 46*FM + 2821

    The verified equation from a different study they also include is: REE = 57*FFM + 40*FM - 14*age + 3626 (for males)
    That is a lot more similar to the INT equation than the CON equation.

    I see this as a potentially significant issue, because for the CON group FFM plays a much bigger role in REE while FM plays a smaller role in REE, but biologically this doesn't make much sense to me.


    None of this changes the actual results they obtained regarding weight loss, it just makes me doubt that adaptive thermogenesis had anything to do with it. I really wish they had analyzed the food diaries for compliance.
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    Does the study show weather or not the lost any weight during the diet break periods or weather they maintained it?
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    One of the charts does show this. Practically all weight loss took place during the diet periods.
    DMM
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    Layne used to have a video where he recommended 4-6 weeks bulking, 2-3 weeks cutting.

    This study could be seen as support for 2-3 weeks cutting being superior to longer periods.
    How can you even get your macros right in 2-3 weeks of cutting it takes some time to see how your body responds and how many calories you actually need to need that you actually reach that 0.9% a week
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    Originally Posted by LifterShifter View Post
    How can you even get your macros right in 2-3 weeks of cutting it takes some time to see how your body responds and how many calories you actually need to need that you actually reach that 0.9% a week
    Why would it have to be 0.9% per week? Anyway, you find out what the right macros are by trial and error. If you don't get it right the first cutting cycle you may get it right the next one.
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    bump:

    So when coming out of the 2-week cut or any cut for that matter (how deep was the deficit in the matador study, by the way?), should one simply go to maintenance, as in 2850 cals on a cut, and then simply 3250 maintenance the next day and for 2 weeks and so on, or is it better to make up your way to maintenance slowly, upping cals by 150 per week as you get back to maintenance?
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