Hi Charlotte, What is a metabolic reset and when should you perform one?
We want things quickly and we want things to be easy. When it comes to what we eat, temporary diets tick the first box and then try to make the rest of the time outside of dieting easier.
The metabolic reset entered the mainstream via professional athletes. An important note is this was not endorsed by the nutrition professionals they work with. Metabolism is one of those elusive words that you kind of understand but if someone asked you to define it you’d be left scrambling. Our metabolism is all the reactions in the body that allow us to live; the reactions that allow us to convert energy from the food we eat, to grow, and to remove waste from the body.
There are several variations of the metabolic reset floating around but they all last up to 2 months and restrict calorie intake by reducing carbs and increasing protein. It’s also marketed and repackaged as a detox or cleanse. The point of the diet is to ‘boost’ your metabolism to increase weight loss.
But there is no evidence that we need to reset our metabolism, no evidence that this diet works by boosting your metabolism, and no evidence that this diet works for the long term. The reason this diet results in weight loss is by restricting calorie intake. Could this diet result in any other benefits that aren’t related to weight loss? Possibly, but again there’s nothing special about a metabolic reset diet.
I’m not discounting people’s positive experiences with whatever metabolic reset diet they’ve followed, but I think it’s important to look at the likely reasons for these experiences. If you have symptoms that are caused by your diet such as tiredness, bloating and digestive issues, the causes can be really hard to pin down. By restricting the foods that you eat you are probably eliminating the foods that are causing these symptoms.
However, what is equally important is reintroducing as many foods as possible back into the diet and determining which foods are causing these issues. This second stage rarely happens and it’s the key stage that Registered Dietitians are paid the big (metaphorically speaking) bucks for. This stage is so important because a varied diet is a pillar of a healthy diet. Cut out all carbs and you’re going to struggle to get enough fiber in your diet, drastically reduce your red meat intake and how are you going to get enough vitamin B12?
So really, like any other fad diet, there is no good time to undertake a metabolic reset. If you feel you have issues related to your diet, speak to a Registered Dietitian.
A metabolic reset is a diet that claims to boost your metabolism by resetting it, we’re not a boiler though. The human body is far more complex than that, although I have to admit I understand how boilers work far less. Oh, and the “when”... is never.
Written by: Dan Clarke, RNutr
Reviewed by: Charlotte Marie Werner, MS, RD, CDN
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