Metabolic confusion diet is what I like to think of as a cousin to intermittent fasting. This is because of nothing but the similarities (imbalanced food consumption) between both models. However, the metabolic confusion diet is a lot easier to adopt than fasting – intermittent or not.
Whether you’ve been on a weight loss program or just starting one, metabolic confusion diet is one of those diets you really should checkout. However, whatever diet or exercise plan you want to throw yourself at must be one that guarantees your well-being. This is where I advise you to consult your doctor before you pick any. Even this one.
There is a popular belief that some people have superbowels which grants them faster metabolism and enables them to eat almost anything they want at any time. But still won’t add weight. Flip the coin over and you have the folks who have a rather weaker-than-normal metabolism which makes them gain weight even when on a diet plan.
This belief, however, has no scientific evidence to prove its credibility. Look at the people who eat whatever they want but add not a single kg. One thing you’ll find common to these people is that they’re hyperactive folks who burn these calories as soon as they consume them.
Sure, your genes play a part in your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). But not like you’ve been led to believe. For example, men’s BMR is generally higher than that of women. Children’s BMR is high due to growth. Tall, thin people have a higher BMR because of their larger skin surface area compared to shorter people. People who fidget a lot also tend to have a high BMR due to constant movement. Thyroid disease and hyperthyroidism also increase and decreases the BMR respectively.
Obese and fat people also have a high BMR due to their great skin surface area and they tend to require more energy for activities. However, they’re mostly sedentary and do not burn off extra calories properly. What basically gives you a higher BMR even while resting are your muscle mass and “fidgetability”.
However, for the less-active people, metabolic confusion can be something of a life-saver. Especially If fasting is not your thing.
In this article, you’ll get to know what metabolic confusion is all about, different metabolic confusion meal plans and how it may help you lose weight. Enjoy the ride.
What is Metabolic Confusion?
Before we answer that, let’s have a quick look at metabolism.
Metabolism is the name given to the non-stop chemical processes that are constantly going on in your body. It is simply described as the breaking down of food and its conversion into energy.
This process, along with every other of your reflexes, everything you do without having to make conscious decisions – even some you’re not aware of (repairing and growing cells for example) – use energy stored up in your system. The minimum amount of energy required by these processes is referred to as the BMR.
Depending on your lifestyle, among other reasons, you can have either a low or high BMR. This, however, is mostly dependent on your daily food consumption (calorie in) versus activity (calorie out).
If you’ve not been very active, your metabolism won’t take more energy than it should because it cannot take more than it needs. Although your BMR will increase as your weight increases and even as your weight increases, you tend to eat more.
If you’re on a diet but aren’t losing any more weight than you already have, remember that the human body is designed to assess and adapt to any situation after being exposed to it for some time. When you reduce food intake, your body reduces your BMR to adjust to the new norm, bringing a stop to weight loss. This is true for everybody.
Asides adaptation, another determining factor of your BMR is your weight. The heavier you are, the higher your BMR and vice versa. So once your weight drops, you’ll need a revision of your diet before you can drop any more weight. As each revision goes by, losing more weight becomes more and more difficult.
Enter metabolic confusion.
Metabolic confusion diet, also known as the calorie shifting diet, is based on the belief that confusing your metabolism to hinder getting accustomed to a particular feeding habit will help you lose weight.
This concept has been around for a while and it’s only normal that you come across it or even consider it at one point or the other.
Unlike the calorie restriction diet which dictates that you keep eating below your daily calorie requirement, the calorie shifting diet dictates that you alternate between low-calorie days and high-calorie days. It could be on a daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis.
How Metabolic Confusion Works
The goal of this diet is to “confuse” your metabolism. There’s a method to it. Basically though, you’ll eat high on certain days and you’ll eat low on other days, thereby disallowing you from entering weight loss plateau – a condition in which you stop losing weight, despite your efforts. It can also help if you’re already experiencing the plateau.
Your metabolic confusion diet can be weekly based, bi-weekly based or monthly based. Before you start though, you must be aware of your daily calorie needs or requirement. My example then will be based on an imaginary fellow with 2,000 kcal daily requirement.
This imaginary fellow will be required to reduce the number of calories consumed on the low days and increase them on the high days.
A weekly plan will have him eat low for 5 days and eat high for 2 days.
A bi-weekly plan will have him eat low for 11 days and eat high for 3 days.
While a monthly plan will have him eat low for 3 weeks and eat high for 1 week.
This information is better presented below. While it is advised that you do not go beyond one month in a round, I’d recommend the bi-weekly plan for better results. That’s because it gives your body much less time to adjust than the monthly plan.
For the weekly plan, my imaginary fellow will eat low for 5 days and eat high for 2 days.
Monday to Friday: 1,600 kcal.
Saturday and Sunday: 2,400 kcal.
For the bi-weekly plan, my imaginary fellow will eat low for 11 days and eat high for 3 days.
1st Monday to 2nd Thursday: 1,600 kcal.
2nd Friday to 2nd Sunday: 2,400 kcal.
For the monthly plan, my imaginary fellow will eat low for 3 weeks and eat high for 1 week.
Week 1 to week 3: 1,600 kcal.
Fourth week: 2,400 kcal.
A few things were considered while designing this particular meal plan for this imaginary fellow. It wasn’t just a guess at cutting your meal by 400 calories if you’re required to consume 2,000.
It is recommended that a person must not take less than 1,200 calories per day to remain healthy. Going below that is detrimental to one’s well-being. Hence, the 1,600 low-calorie limit for this person.
400 is 20% of 2,000. A sizeable reduction from the daily requirement but still within the healthy range. This little amount is easier for you to cut off on low days and also add on high days. You can now base your meal plan on the ±20% formula. Based on your calorie requirement.
Note: There’s no stipulated or prescribed amount to cut from or add to your calorie requirement. Also, your meal plan should be drawn under the supervision of a nutritionist.
One of the advantages of metabolic confusion is that you get to eat at any time of the day. Though, four times is recommended for low days. 3 meals and one snack. On high days though, it’s over to you. Just eat healthily and don’t go beyond your calories for the day.
This model allows you to burn fat on your low days and recover a bit on your high days. Hindering your system from adapting to a particular diet between the two. You just keep switching back and forth.
If you calculate your total calorie intake at the end of a round against what it should be, it will be lower. Fat will be burnt in place of the untaken calories since your body didn’t get the chance to tune down your energy usage.
Can You Exercise During Metabolic Confusion?
Like any other weight loss program out there, metabolic confusion works best when combined with exercise. Muscle requires more energy to manage than fat. When you workout to build muscles and shed fat, it turns out to be a 2-win for you. You build more strength and also pack the potential to burn fat more efficiently.
However, you’re not to exercise blindly. High-impact exercises are not recommended for your low days. Instead, you can practice low-impact ones like walking and yoga. On your high days though, intense exercise is recommended. Including aerobics and strength training.
Also, do not forget the importance of vitamins, minerals and fibres to the human system. Be careful not to cut them off from your diet. You really don’t want to fall victim of any long-term health condition for the sake of losing weight.
Once again, while drawing a diet or meal plan, talk to a dietician or nutritionist to get the best plan suitable for you to lose weight.
Foods to Avoid During Metabolic Confusion
Truly, metabolic confusion isn’t as strict as some diet plans out there. However, you’re not at liberty to adopt poor feeding habits; eating whatever you could lay your hands upon. The following foods are to be avoided:
- Processed foods
- Soda and soft drinks
- Sweets (chocolates etc)
- Fruit juices (you’re taking fruits already)
- Palm oil and saturated fats
- Red meats
- Refined cereals
- White carbs
How you Benefit from Metabolic Confusion
Nowadays, there are lots of diet plans flying around on the internet, it’s almost impossible to tell which one works and which one doesn’t. In fact, some are cooked up by amateurs and are based on assumptions. Some of these diets are too strict and are often difficult to follow.
Metabolic confusion doesn’t fall in that category. It helps you lose weight at a steady and healthy pace. While your weight and lifestyle definitely affect how much weight you’ll lose, you’ll lose some anyway.
If you can’t fast, metabolic confusion is for you. A study from the international journal of preventive medicine compared the calorie shifting diet to the well-known calorie-restriction diet. The patients on calorie shifting were reported to feel a lot less hungry and more satisfied than those on calorie restriction. Also, more people on shifting followed through with the study while many of those on restriction opted out before the study was completed.
When done right, metabolic confusion is one of the diet plans that’ll give you your best shot at reaching your weight loss goal. Just probably not as fast as you may have hoped or wished for.
Joseph Olu is an SEO copywriter for SaaS and Health and Wellness brands. He is a contributor to top publications like ThriveGlobal and Hackernoon. He has also written for natural health brands like Phd-organics.