We’re all guilty of saying “I’m starving!” if we work through lunch or miss breakfast. Especially if we go on a low calorie diet like the Military Diet, forsaking an order of fries for half a grapefruit. We’ve all heard that skipping a meal or two, or reducing calories on a diet will put your body into the dreaded Starvation Mode. This misinformation, often reported as FACT, claims that your body will think it is starving and your metabolism will stop. Then, everything you eat will be stored as fat as your body tries to preserve itself. And, ultimately, you will gain weight instead of lose weight. However, all of the above couldn’t be further from the truth! Going into “starvation mode” is the number one myth about the Military Diet.
Actual starvation means reducing your TOTAL caloric intake to less than 50% of what YOUR body requires per day for an EXTENDED period of time (meaning weeks and/or months). Your daily required caloric intake is based on your sex, weight, height, age, and level of physical activity. This is a far cry from skipping a few meals or reducing calories.
Research shows that at NO POINT does the body stop burning body fat during low calorie diets, or even fasting, until the research subject hits a rate of approximately 5% body fat. (Keep in mind that those with 5% body fat are typically professional body builders) So, if you have body fat to burn, you WILL continue to burn body fat for fuel!
It’s also a complete myth that a lowered metabolism will equal weight gain. Your metabolism will only slow down after several weeks or months of maintaining less than 50% of your required caloric intake but, only by 10% at the most. So, you will still have a 40% daily deficit! You are still so far under the amount of your required calories that you will continue losing weight. A slowed metabolism does NOT equal weight gain.
Studies also show that intermittent fasting, like the Military Diet, actually increases the metabolic rate. When you are fasting or reducing calories, you burn fat as fuel and decrease the need for protein breakdown. You WON’T be burning muscle as many claim. When fasting, your muscles make a switch to start oxidizing fatty acids from your body fat to use as fuel. In essence your muscles turn into FAT BURNING MACHINES. The act of burning body fat actually preserves muscle mass.
While a low calorie diet like the Military Diet may take a little getting used to at first, you can rest assured that you are not starving your body. Starvation Mode, as we have come to know it, is a complete myth.