No topic may be more popular in the fitness industry than metabolic adaptation and reverse dieting. At the same time, no topic may have more misconceptions.

Can a metabolism get damaged to a point where an individual cannot lose weight?
Is a reverse diet a good way to lose weight?

The purpose of these articles are to address these and other misconceptions about metabolic adaptation and reverse dieting through a combination of science and experience.


Components of Metabolism

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of metabolic adaptation research, let’s first define several terms related to metabolic rate:

  • Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) – The number of calories burned at rest to keep an individual alive.
  • Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (EAT) – The number of calories expended during exercise.
  • Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) – The number of calories required to digest and absorb the food we eat (~10% of calories consumed).
  • Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) – The number of calories burned through movement during daily life (e.g. doing housework, fidgeting while sitting, shopping, etc.)
  • Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) – The total number of calories an individual burns daily. This is the sum of BMR, EAT, TEF and NEAT.
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