Potential Side Effects
Traditional dieting and severe calorie restriction cause several side effects that make weight loss nearly impossible. When the body detects an individual is eating less food, it causes serious metabolism shifts to retain weight. This is an adaptive survival mechanism to protect against starvation. Calorie cycling can cause the same metabolic shifts as with traditional dieting, but studies indicate this occurs on a much smaller scale. Rather than shifting completely into survival mode, the body varies the calories individuals burn in normal ways based on how much they eat. Restricting calories for too long can lead to a decrease in testosterone. It also decreases the amount of resting energy individuals expend, the amount of thyroid hormone circulating in the body, the amount of physical activity they can handle, and the amount of the hunger hormone leptin. Leptin tells an individual's brain when they're full. At the same time, restricting calories can cause the stress hormone cortisol to increase and increase the amounts of ghrelin in the body. Ghrelin is a hormone that tells individuals they're hungry.
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