Ageless Forever Anti-Aging News Blog

Cheating on a diet - good or bad?

In discussions about dieting, a topic that often comes up is that of "cheating"; is it good or bad to cheat once in a while during a diet?

In order to answer this question appropriately, it is necessary to look at both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of dieting, and the physiological and psychological responses they each elicit...


Dieting - what are we really talking about?

The dictionary definition of "diet" and "dieting" is "to eat and drink sparingly or according to prescribed rules" or "a controlled intake of foods, as for medical reasons or cosmetic weight loss". 

However, these definitions do not tell us anything about the two different aspects of dieting; the quantitative and qualitative parts, and their respective consequences.  In everyday parlance, dieting usually implies both eating less calories (quantitative aspect) than usual, and eating "specific" foods (qualitative aspect). 

Nevertheless, when considering the consequences of "cheating" and trying to answer the question whether it is a good or bad practice, it is important to distinguish these aspects of dieting. Let's take a quick look at each: 

 

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Red Meat - Good or Bad for Fat Loss?

 
Consumption of red meat has been associated with fat gain (weight gain) because of its high fat and calorie content. Even though the old idea that “a high fat intake causes body fat gain” has been completely debunked in medical research [1-9], red meat still is a food that's on the forbidden or avoid list in most diet plans. And for some reason, women tend to be especially afraid of eating meat…
 
While there are studies showing an association between meat intake and obesity [10-12], there are also studies not showing this [12-14]. And when digging deeper in the data, many of the studies that did report a significant association with meat intake and fat gain / obesity have several flaws that invalidate their conclusions....
 
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Artificial Sweeteners and Diet Sodas - do they Help or Hinder Fat Loss?

The potential benefits and risks of artificial sweeteners and diet sodas are hotly debated. Critics state that artificial sweeteners and diet sodas are fueling obesity [1, 2], increasing the risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease [2, 3], and of causing metabolic derangements.[2]
 
A popular argument against consumption of sweet-tasting but non-caloric or reduced-calorie food and beverages is that this interferes with appetite and physiological energy intake regulation.[2]
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Exercise – much more than just a calorie burning tool

Exercise is commonly seen as a tool to burn off calories and stored body fat. While exercise has potential to greatly increase calorie burn off and fat burning, as seen in elite athletes [1], studies show that for most people who are struggling with fat loss, dieting – i.e. reducing caloric intake - results in a greater weight loss (or fat loss in some cases) than exercising.[2-5] Why?
 
The problem is not that exercise is ineffective, but that the prescribed exercise dose or adherence to the prescribed exercise dose, is poor.[4, 6] In most studies, the energy deficit produced by the prescribed exercise is far smaller than that usually produced by dietary restriction.[4] In contrast, in studies that carefully compared the effects of an equal energy deficit caused by either aerobic exercise versus caloric restriction, the effect on weight loss is similar.[7-10] In these studies, subjects achieved an identical daily energy deficit of 500-700 calories, created either by diet or by supervised daily exercise, for a 12-week period. Similar weight losses (approximately 6 kg in women and 8 kg in men) occurred in both the diet-only and exercise-only groups.[7, 8]
 
Unfortunately, adherence to exercise programs that daily burn 500-700 calories per session is low and over half end up dropping out after 16 months, despite getting paid for their time.[11, 12] But this does not mean that lower amounts of exercise are "worthless". Here I will tell you how regular exercising – even if your workouts don’t result in large calorie expenditures - helps you stay on the fitness track…
 
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How to Lose Weight with Intermittent Fasting

intermittent fasting

If you haven’t already heard, intermittent fasting has been gaining popularity when it comes to weight-loss lately, and there are several reasons why. There have been countless weight-loss programs introduced to America, but there is something different about this particular strategy that sets them apart. What is intermittent fasting? Intermittent fasting is a weight-loss strategy that involves regular short-term fasts to help regulate weight and appetite with calorie counting not necessarily required.

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Dr. Pierce's Medical Organization Affiliations

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