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What You Need to Know About Calorie Shifting: Is It Effective?

What You Need to Know About Calorie Shifting: Is It Effective?

Countless people worldwide are constantly on the search for a diet that results in significant weight loss. People who want to lose weight first look for the right diet that fits their lifestyle and their bodies achieving what they envision. The battle against obesity has spawned countless diet ideas over the years. And this will likely continue to do so in years to come. One such diet involves calorie shifting or calorie cycling.

What is calorie shifting?

calorie shifting

Calorie shifting implies that your body does not have to have its regular caloric intake every day. Instead, on some days, your body goes through its normal intake on some days while consuming considerably less on others. The body will not think that it is starving on those days when it consumes less calories than usual.

As a result, this shouldn’t affect your metabolism, even when you reduce your calories on most other days.

This is in line with the circadian rhythms that several animals, not just humans, are unwittingly following daily. Most diets fight obesity and shifting calories is no different.

It is worth noting that restricting calories may result in weight loss in the short term but is hard for obese patients to maintain. This is because food intake must be limited daily.

Since calorie shifting “tricks” the body into thinking that there has been little or no change in calorie intake, it blocks the body’s tendency to fight back through survival mode. This diet can also fool the metabolic system, causing metabolic confusion.

Calorie shifting versus calorie restriction

A study from 2014 pitted calorie shifting with a diet that restricts calories instead. The study found a greater decrease in plasma glucose, total cholesterol, and triacylglycerol among subjects practicing shifting of calories. Those same people saw a feeling of hunger decreased and satisfaction increased after four weeks.

A 2014 study vouches for the effectiveness of calorie shifting, with total cholesterol concentrations decreasing by 17.35% after six weeks of adapting the diet and 14.66% after follow-up period with a self-selected diet.

Calorie shifting effectively reduced body weight and fat mass after six weeks of treatment. The effect remained for at least one month. An additional caffeine treatment during and after the calorie shifting regimen, however, produced constant weight loss profile even during the follow-up period.

Does calorie shifting work for everyone?

Although some studies show that calorie cycling can be good for weight loss, research on dieting, in general, can be difficult for several reasons. Since animals are the subjects of many studies, the results may not necessarily apply to humans.

In human studies, it’s difficult to control what the study participants actually eat. Because of the different sizes, genders, environments, and genes of humans, the results may skew all over the place.

Another problem with testing calorie shifting is that there isn’t a set way to do it. There are many different protocols and plans that involve various amounts of calories and days in which to restrict and not restrict. Any diet that results in some form of metabolic confusion might be best served by consulting with a physician or dietitian first to avoid any health complications.

Key takeaways

Even as the search for the best diet for sustained weight loss continues, it has gotten to the point that tricking one’s own body has become an option.

Since calorie shifting means to “fool “the body into recognizing sufficient caloric intake, it can be difficult to measure or study. However, calorie shifting has been proven to work. This is particularly true when viewed in contrast to diets that restrict calorie intake altogether. The resulting metabolic confusion apparently tricks the body enough. However, researchers and experts have yet to determine its long-term effects.

Learn more about diet and weight loss, here.


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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Caffeine Treatment Prevented from Weight Regain after Calorie Shifting Diet Induced Weight Loss, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4157047/, Accessed December 22, 2021

Calorie Shifting Diet Versus Calorie Restriction Diet: A Comparative Clinical Trial Study, https://www.sid.ir/en/journal/ViewPaper.aspx?ID=432638, Accessed December 22, 2021

Low-Carbohydrate Diet Review, https://aspenjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0884533611405791, Accessed December 22, 2021

Interactions between light, mealtime and calorie restriction to control daily timing in mammals,

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00360-010-0451-4, Accessed December 22, 2021

Entrainment in calorie-restricted mice: conflicting zeitgebers and free-running conditions, https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/ajpregu.1998.274.6.R1751, Accessed December 22, 2021

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Written by Jason Inocencio Updated 4 weeks ago
Fact Checked by Bianchi Mendoza, R.N.