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Can Your Diet Be Making You Fatter

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Bodybuilding and Fitness Newsletter 9/4/2019

Why Extreme Diet Could Be Making You Weigh More

If you’re trying to drop weight, then at some point you’re going to have to adjust the way you eat so that you’re taking in fewer calories than you burn each day. But did you know that if you diet too hard you can actually cause you to get fatter?

It’s one of the frustrating paradoxes of getting in shape, but it’s true: you can’t just stop eating if you want to lose fat.

Here are the reasons that extreme diet could be making you gain weight.

Muscle Loss

For bodybuilders and other strength athletes, the most serious negative consequence of stringent diet is that it can cause you to lose muscle. There are a couple of reasons why:

Lack of Training Intensity

When you drop your calories drastically — below 1500-2000 a day, depending on your weight and stature — your energy will drop right along with them. When you’re tired, hungry, and light-headed from diet, you will not be able to hit the weights as hard as you need to in order to build or maintain muscle mass.

Partitioning of Nutrients

As your calories and nutrient levels drop, your body will do everything it can to survive, and that includes storing fat for future “emergencies.” It also means that anything deemed expensive will be expendable, and that includes muscle mass, which requires energy even at rest.

And because muscle burns calories all the time, losing lean mass means you’ll be burning less over time — a sure route to fat gain.


Body composition and appetite, on the other hand, are controlled largely by two hormones, ghrelin and leptin.

Leptin is a hormone that helps regulate appetite and burn fat for energy and is stored in your fat cells. Research has found, though, that leptin levels fall quickly when you begin to diet.

Ghrelin, on the other hand, stimulates your appetite AND the release of growth hormone, which can cause you to gain weight. Ghrelin levels rise during periods of restricted caloric intake, making you hungrier, and maybe fatter.

Studies show that about three days of diet will lead to leptin and ghrelin levels so out of control that they make sticking to your program and losing weight pretty difficult.

With prolonged, severe diet, ghrelin and leptin definitely become foes to your fat-loss efforts.

Moderation Is Key

To avoid the dangers of an extreme diet, you need to avoid the temptation of quick-fix weight-loss schemes. If you’re dropping much more than a couple pounds a week, you’re probably at danger of running into some of the problems discussed here, as well as possibly malnutrition.

Above all, you need to keep your energy levels high enough that you can train hard in the gym to maintain your muscle mass and an optimal hormone level.

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