Does ‘starvation mode’ exist?

Does ‘starvation mode’ exist?


You have probably heard of ‘starvation mode’. You may even have been led to believe that your weight loss plateau can be put down to it. 

But how much of this is true? Does ‘starvation mode’ actually exist?

Just as with all things science, the answer is not a straightforward one. The problem with ‘starvation mode’ is what the discrepancy between what it implies versus what it actually means. 

What is actually means

A study conducted by Cambridge University revealed that starvation mode might actually be a real thing, but certainly not to the extent that the name implies. 

In fact, the physiological response to being in a calorie deficit is not really a controversial one - it is well accepted by scientists. 

However, the extremity of the idea of our bodies going into ‘starvation mode’ is a misnomer. 

Rather than being referred to as ‘starvation mode’, it’s technical, scientific name is adaptive thermogenesis. 

More scientific, granted, but also a lot less scary… 

Essentially, starvation mode is just your body adapting. 

This adaptation does not mean you’re going to stop losing weight, or even gain weight; it just means that your body is learning to come to terms with its new diet

Top tip: There are also things you can do to help it on its way, for example weight training, which helps to prevent your metabolism from slowing down. 

Put simply 

Reduced calories and weight loss do impact your metabolic rate. 

However, studies show that the response is by no means powerful enough to stop future weight loss (or cause weight gain as some believe). 

It seems that although starvation mode may exist, we might not need to worry about it as much as we first thought. 


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