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Metabolic Confusion – Everything You Need To Know
The concept of metabolic confusion refers to making dietary changes to trick your body to work harder and prevent the stagnation or slowdown of resting metabolic rate (RMR).
The reason behind the invention of this diet is the diversity seen between individuals when it comes to metabolism, weight loss, and the response of the body to dietary changes and physical activity.
Unfortunately, these parameters are subject to several factors that are beyond our control, including age, gender, body type, genetics, and past habits.
In this article, we will comprehensively cover all the basics of metabolism, and how you can work to confuse your body to burn more calories and accelerate the resting metabolic rate.
What is the relationship between metabolism and weight loss?
The speed of our metabolism plays a major role in determining how much weight we can lose and the rate at which we can do so.
For instance, most people have that one friend who never gains weight regardless of how much food he/she eats.
On the other hand, some people only eat salads and can’t seem to lose weight in a timely manner. In a sense, they seem like they’re stuck at that number on the scale!
Another example would be the people who worked hard to lose weight over the course of months, and when they stopped dieting, they gained it back in a few weeks.
All of these phenomena can be explained by understanding how your metabolism works and its relationship with weight loss.
What is Metabolism?
Metabolism is a term used to describe the various biochemical reactions that occur in the body to store the major macronutrients or transform them into basic forms of energy (e.g., adenosine triphosphate) to keep your organs functioning
This parameter incorporates two major subcategories:
- Anabolism – the synthesis of macronutrients
- Catabolism – the degradation of macronutrients
Generally speaking, metabolism is a universal process that occurs in all living organisms. However, the rate of metabolism varies significantly between people, as its subject to multiple factors, including age, gender, body type, and composition (e.g., percentage of lean muscle mass), degree of physical activity, diet, and genetics.
Metabolic rate will determine your body weight, as well as the speed of gaining or losing that weight.
To lose weight efficiently, you need to comprehend the role of metabolism in that process and how to confuse it to accelerate lipolysis (fat breakdown).
The Major Factors That Influence Metabolic Rate
As mentioned above, there are several factors that control the resting metabolic rate, including:
Aging is an important factor that determines the rate of RMR. As we get older, the efficiency of our muscles decreases due to the sedentary lifestyle, dietary habits, and the aging of our cells.
This explains why older individuals are prone to weight gain.
Being male means that your body consumes more calories per day, which explains the higher metabolic rate in men relative to women.
This is one of the non-modifiable factors that can easily be compensated with other healthy habits.
The percentage of lean muscle mass is a key factor in metabolic rate since muscles require a substantial number of calories to stay functional.
In simpler terms, the bigger your muscles are, the more calories you’re expected to burn.
Degree of Physical Activity
This factor is indirectly interconnected with body composition.
As you stay more active, your cells will get used to burning more calories per day, which eventually boosts RMR and allows you to burn calories during your sleep.
Diet is a major factor that can either accelerate or slow down your metabolic rate, depending on the ratio of macronutrients you’re consuming, as well as the nutritional value of your food.
This comprises the main element that we can use to create a state of metabolic confusion.
Our genetic material decides who we are, how we look, how old we’re going to live, and more. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that genes will also determine how fast your metabolism is.
Similar to gender, this parameter cannot be changed, but other factors (e.g., diet) can compensate for genetically slow metabolism.
Aside from the factors listed above, there are some less discussed lifestyle habits that control our metabolism.
Fast Weight Loss
Despite the intelligence of our brains, they can still be tricked by some lifestyle habits, such as fast weight loss to modify our metabolism.
As you lose weight at a fast rate, your body will think that you’re in a state of starvation while stuck in a cave with one exit blocked by a hungry bear.
Regardless of the visuals from this analogy, it is the perfect way to explain how your body reacts when you lose substantial weight in a short period of time.
As a result, it will try to slow down RMR to maintain your energy for as long as possible until the bear leaves.
Unfortunately for us, this means that any attempt to lose weight rapidly will be blocked by our own survival contingency plans.
Some neuroendocrine disorders may alter the rate of your metabolism by slowing down the activation of different biochemical cascades.
For instance, Cushing’s syndrome and hypothyroidism are two famous endocrine conditions associated with substantial weight gain due to lipogenesis (lipid storage) and decreased metabolic rate.
This one is straightforward.
If you live in a cold environment, your body has to increase energy expenditure to maintain the core temperature and prevent hypothermia.
What is the Metabolic Confusion Diet?
To understand the metabolic confusion diet, we first need to tackle the basics of a caloric deficit.
There are two elements that make up the equation of caloric deficit:
This is a number that you can measure by calculating your macronutrient ratio, as well as the amount of food you consume per day.
Each macronutrient has a different number of calories, which boils down to the following calorie intake figures:
- Carbohydrates (sugars) – 1 gram contains 4 calories
- Protein – 1 gram contains 4 calories
- Lipids (fats) – 1 gram contains 9 calories
This concept translates to how much energy (called calories) your body burns per day.
Generally, the number of calories you burn ranges between 1500-3000, depending on the factors listed above.
Now that you’re familiar with what controls the two major elements of our equation, it is very simple to apply: burn more calories than you consume and weight loss is inevitable.
A 25-year-old male with these physical characteristics:
- Bodyweight – 200 lb. (90 kg)
- Height – 6 ft. (1.85 cm)
When measuring the energy expenditure of our example using an online calculator, we’ll find that this person burns around 2,324 calories per day.
If this individual wants to lose weight, he must consume fewer daily calories than the number mentioned above to force the body to burn the stored macronutrients (e.g., glycogen, fatty acids).
Note that if you manage to burn an extra 7000 calories, you will lose 1 kg (2 pounds) of weight.
How is the Metabolic Confusion Diet Different?
Instead of maintaining a low caloric intake for a prolonged period of time to lose weight, the metabolic confusion diet focuses on fluctuating your caloric intake on a daily or weekly basis.
In other words, if you consume 2,324 calories on Monday, you will have to lower that number on the next day to confuse your metabolism.
In one study, researchers found that participants who kept their normal caloric intake for three days a week, while practicing caloric restriction for the rest of the week reported significant weight loss compared to the control group who followed a continuous calorie-restricted diet.
The positive aspect of these findings is that you do not have to starve yourself to lose weight. Rather, you just need to keep in mind that eating junk food is never a good idea. They contain synthetic macronutrients (e.g., refined carbs, hydrogenated fats) that are difficult to metabolize.
The Underlying Mechanism Behind the Metabolic Confusion Diet
The main principle behind the metabolic confusion diet is to prevent the slowdown of RMR that occurs when you start a calorie-restricted diet.
By switching from a low-calorie day to a high-calorie day, your metabolism will get confused (hence the nomenclature), which boosts its rate and accelerates weight loss.
The Main Benefits of the Metabolic Confusion Diet
There are many benefits to adopting the metabolic confusion diet, including:
The primary goal of choosing the metabolic confusion diet is to seamlessly lose weight without having to starve yourself or eat salads every day.
As explained above, this pattern of eating stimulates metabolism to burn more calories per day, which means you will lose adipose tissue without having to do anything.
Prevention of the Rebound Effect
Most people who lose weight rapidly regain it after a short period of time.
By preventing the slowdown of your metabolic rate, you will ensure that calories will keep getting burnt even after you’re no longer on the diet.
In the worst-case scenario, your RMR gets back to baseline, which is not a bad thing relative to the substantial drop with other caloric deficit diets.
Reduction in Oxidative Stress and Inflammation
The metabolic confusion diet reduces the number of circulating reactive oxygen species in the bloodstream, which reduces the risk of several medical conditions and improves the signs and symptoms of present maladies.
The underlying mechanism involves getting rid of adipose tissues since they are actively producing pro-inflammatory cytokines, placing the body in a constant state of inflammation.
Prevention of Toxins Buildup
The accelerated RMR will not only involve energy-producing processes, as other metabolic pathways will also be turbocharged.
Consequently, the liver and kidneys will become more efficient at discharging toxins and harmful substances.
Metabolic Confusion and Carbohydrates
Many people who are just starting the metabolic confusion diet ask about whether it’s okay to consume a high-carbohydrate diet or not.
The answer to this question is not straightforward since eating sugars within your daily caloric limit may not contribute to weight gain but will damage your body in the long run, especially if the source of those carbs is unhealthy.
Refined sugars and artificial sweeteners can be extremely harmful to your body, and therefore, should be avoided.
These substances are not found in natural foods as they get artificially manufactured, which means that your body is not equipped with the enzymatic machinery to metabolism them.
As a result, they will alter the cell’s integrity, mess up hepatic metabolism, and increase the number of reactive oxygen species.
Moreover, refined carbs are associated with massive spikes in sugar levels, increasing the risk of cellular resistance to insulin, which is the hallmark of type 2 diabetes.
Over time, insulin will no longer be effective, leading to a chronically high blood sugar levels that create the classic symptoms of diabetes:
- Polyphagia (excessive hunger)
- Polydipsia (excessive thirst)
- Polyuria (excessive urination)
Eventually, diabetes leads to some serious complications that could all be avoided if you make healthy dietary choices and stick to natural carbs.
To cover your daily requirements of carbs, you should opt for fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while maintaining decent levels of protein and fat intake.
The metabolic confusion diet plan is a great way to jumpstart your weight-losing journey without having to starve yourself or suffer from a rebound effect. Obtaining metabolic adaptation is the ultimate goal coupled with long term body changes.
Many scientific papers and nutrition experts support the positive effects of this diet on our health, and how it leads to considerable fat burning and weight loss.
Hopefully, this article helped you appreciate the importance of your metabolism and the ways you can trick it to your favor.
If you still have any questions about the metabolic confusion diet, please do not hesitate to ask us in the comment section below.