Study Details Four-Day, 11-Pound Weight Loss in Overweight Men

Sarah LeBoeuf

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Apr 28, 2011
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Study Details Four-Day, 11-Pound Weight Loss in Overweight Men



By severely cutting calories and working out for four days, 15 overweight men were able to see lasting results.

Anyone who's ever spent time tracking calories likely knows the basic method to weight loss: take in less calories, burn more calories. Because that's so obvious, it probably doesn't come as a surprise that 15 overweight men who were restricted to 360 daily calories were able to see drastic weight loss results, considering healthy adults typically eat 1,200 to 2,000 calories in a day. What's surprising is how dramatic the loss was--11 pounds in just four days--and that they were able to keep the weight off for months, well after they went back to their regular eating habits.

The study was published in March, appearing in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, and tracked 15 healthy but overweight men from Spain and Sweden. By cutting about 1,800 calories out of their daily diets and getting a full day of exercise--45 minutes of upper body, eight hours of strolling the countryside--each lost about 11 pounds, with nearly half of that coming from body fat.

While those four days sound grueling and impossible to those of us who like to, you know, eat and generally not be active, the participants reported that it wasn't as hard as it sounds. According to José Calbet, a professor at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain, they "were surprised that it was easier than they thought it would be," with common issues being joint pain and blisters (as opposed to an inescapable craving for mac & cheese).

A month later, long after the subjects returned to their normal lives, their bodies didn't; most had lost two more pounds of fat. Even a year later, the subjects were generally five pounds lighter than when they started. Since most dieters end up regaining whatever weight they've lost, this is the part of the study that's perhaps the most interesting. It's not entirely clear what caused the sustained fat loss; Dr. Calbet theorized that the men may have been motivated to eat less and move more by their four days in the study. He hopes to perform a similar study with women next.

Source: The New York Times [http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/sms.12194/abstract]

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Adam Jensen_v1legacy

I never asked for this
Sep 8, 2011
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I have a better one. It worked for me anyway. Try to lead a healthy life style without all the junk food and exercise regularly because it feels good and makes your brain work better.
 

evilnancyreagan

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May 1, 2014
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yeah, 360 calories, 45-minutes of upper body and 8 hours of walking a day? isn't that called anorexia? or in this case manorexia!
 

Ninmecu

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May 31, 2011
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I sincerely hope that no one looks at this and thinks "This is a good idea, I'm going to do it." You don't run before you can walk, you don't go lift heavy before you can lift light. You don't starve your body in an attempt to lose weight. 11 lbs in 4 days isn't impressive our bodies fluctuate between weight a large amount throughout the day, saying they were on average 5lbs lighter isn't impressive either.
 

Jumwa

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Jun 21, 2010
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But weight loss is impossible! The Fat Acceptance movement told me so!

Speaking as someone who took off 80lbs by cutting out junk and exercising, this comes as no surprise.
 

Brian Tams

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Dear. Fucking. God.

No. Don't do this. This isn't weight loss, this is starvation.
each lost about 11 pounds, with nearly half of that coming from body fat.
This bit is rather telling. That means over half of that was only water weight and muscle mass, not body fat.

Do this instead. Consume 1500 calories a day. Burn 500 calories a day doing cardio. That's a caloric deficit of 1000 calories a day.
One pound of fat=3500 calories. 1000x7=7000 calories. Which is equivalent to 2 pounds. That means you should lose 2 pounds of fat a week.
Do that for a year, and you'll lose over 100 pounds.

Don't be dumb and eat 360 calories a day, AND lift weights. Don't. There's no way you can consume enough protein on 360 calories a day in order for you body to fix the damage done to your muscles.
 

LavaLampBamboo

King of Okay
Jun 27, 2008
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I'm sorry, 360 calories a day? What were they eating, nothing but lettuce and rice cakes?

This is a bit of an odd one though, given how much weight they were able keep off afterwards. Maybe because the diet was SO intense?
 

evilnancyreagan

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May 1, 2014
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Brian Tams said:
Dear. Fucking. God.

No. Don't do this. This isn't weight loss, this is starvation.
each lost about 11 pounds, with nearly half of that coming from body fat.
This bit is rather telling. That means over half of that was only water weight and muscle mass, not body fat.

Do this instead. Consume 1500 calories a day. Burn 500 calories a day doing cardio. That's a caloric deficit of 1000 calories a day.
One pound of fat=3500 calories. 1000x7=7000 calories. Which is equivalent to 2 pounds. That means you should lose 2 pounds of fat a week.
Do that for a year, and you'll lose of 100 pounds.

Don't be dumb and eat 360 calories a day, AND lift weights. Don't. There's no way you can consume enough protein on 360 calories a day in order for you body to fix the damage done to your muscles.
Well said

Listen to the B-man, he's nailed this. Aint no one looking out for your nutrition but your damned self, it's your responsibility. I wish there were like buttons so, I wouldn't have to show my support for an idea with banal lip-service.
 

Hagi

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Apr 10, 2011
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Brian Tams said:
Dear. Fucking. God.

No. Don't do this. This isn't weight loss, this is starvation.
each lost about 11 pounds, with nearly half of that coming from body fat.
This bit is rather telling. That means over half of that was only water weight and muscle mass, not body fat.

Do this instead. Consume 1500 calories a day. Burn 500 calories a day doing cardio. That's a caloric deficit of 1000 calories a day.
One pound of fat=3500 calories. 1000x7=7000 calories. Which is equivalent to 2 pounds. That means you should lose 2 pounds of fat a week.
Do that for a year, and you'll lose over 100 pounds.

Don't be dumb and eat 360 calories a day, AND lift weights. Don't. There's no way you can consume enough protein on 360 calories a day in order for you body to fix the damage done to your muscles.
For four days I don't see anything wrong with it.

The body is perfectly adjusted to deal with short periods of starvation and heavy exercise. You can't keep doing it of course, but considering this was an actual study on long-term effects as opposed to "one little trick found by reading the bible backwards to lose weight" I trust the men have been well enough advised.

What's odd though is that the weight stayed off, usually with this sort of thing it comes right back.
 
Mar 19, 2010
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If i do not eat candy and unhealthy food i can easily lose 3 or more pounds of fat in a week the problem is that it rarely happens that i can go two days without satisfying my craving for chocolate and steak.
 

weirdee

Swamp Weather Balloon Gas
Apr 11, 2011
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Eh....you don't have to stop eating unhealthy food, just start eating healthy food too...

also get outside every so often
 

zelda2fanboy

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Oct 6, 2009
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I wonder what the results would be for women. I've heard my whole life that women have it much harder when it comes to weight loss (and I believe it's true), but I would like to see tested under controlled conditions like these.
 

lacktheknack

Je suis joined jewels.
Jan 19, 2009
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Three days ago, I constructed spreadsheets and diaries in a definitive attempt to lose weight.

If I tried what they were trying, I'd be running a freaking 5860 calorie (apprx) daily deficit.

There is no universe in which that's healthy.

The fact that only half the lost weight is fat is even more damning.
 

NeoAC

Zombie Nation #LetsRise
Jun 9, 2008
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This holds a lot of weight (bad pun is bad), and I can offer further evidence. I started a new job in October that required me to move a lot more then I used to, and due to a lack of money, I was eating a lot less then I used to (6 hours of walking opposed to 10 hours of me sitting on my ass). The end result is that I have lost over 20 pounds since that time, a noticeable chunk. Hell I didn't even really notice until my friends were pointing it out to me. So yeah, nice to know that this is a lasting effect. Gives me some hope for the future.
 

Someone Depressing

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Jan 16, 2011
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Oddly enough, fat people tend to be pretty healthy because they carry around all that extra weight. And people who were skinny when they were younger who get fat still tend to be healthy.

Even so, the damage done to these mens' muscles and nerves are completely irreversible, unless they were having protien literally supplied into their bloodstream.
 

NuclearKangaroo

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Feb 7, 2014
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Adam Jensen said:
I have a better one. It worked for me anyway. Try to lead a healthy life style without all the junk food and exercise regularly because it feels good and makes your brain work better.
my brain cant work properly unless my blood is caramelized
 

Weaver

Overcaffeinated
Apr 28, 2008
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Hagi said:
Brian Tams said:
Dear. Fucking. God.

No. Don't do this. This isn't weight loss, this is starvation.
each lost about 11 pounds, with nearly half of that coming from body fat.
This bit is rather telling. That means over half of that was only water weight and muscle mass, not body fat.

Do this instead. Consume 1500 calories a day. Burn 500 calories a day doing cardio. That's a caloric deficit of 1000 calories a day.
One pound of fat=3500 calories. 1000x7=7000 calories. Which is equivalent to 2 pounds. That means you should lose 2 pounds of fat a week.
Do that for a year, and you'll lose over 100 pounds.

Don't be dumb and eat 360 calories a day, AND lift weights. Don't. There's no way you can consume enough protein on 360 calories a day in order for you body to fix the damage done to your muscles.
For four days I don't see anything wrong with it.

The body is perfectly adjusted to deal with short periods of starvation and heavy exercise. You can't keep doing it of course, but considering this was an actual study on long-term effects as opposed to "one little trick found by reading the bible backwards to lose weight" I trust the men have been well enough advised.

What's odd though is that the weight stayed off, usually with this sort of thing it comes right back.
I'm inclined to agree that for actually obese people this 4 day super blitz might be a viable kickstart to a healthy lifestyle. If you're 20 - 50 pounds overweight this sounds like a horrible idea. If you're 200 pounds overweight that's another story.
 

Veldel

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As someone who is fat but loosing weight i can saftly say this is dumb and over doing it.


Iv lost major weight just eating better not killing my entire food intake and I exercise 2-3 hours a day 5-6 days a week and I feel amazing.


I hope none look at this study and thing gosh je willikers this is amazing way to loose weight...
 

WarHamster40K

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Dec 2, 2009
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After my gallbladder had to be removed late last year, I was put on a post-surgery diet. For the first week or so, I couldn't eat anything but beans, rice, applesauce, and toast. When I was finally cleared to eat "normal" food again, I took out many of the obvious suspects (daily TV dinners, weekly pizza, and sodas) and swapped then for other foods (cooking at least 5 meals a week, sticking with 40 grams of fat or less per day, and remembering how to prepare foods without a microwave). I was 235-240lbs in late September, and now I'm nearly 160. I used to have a size 42 waist, and now it's size 34-36. I'd like to know more about how thesubjects managed to maintain that weight loss after a crash diet, but the more detailed information is behind a paywall.

Still, there are times I wish I could go back and take out the plaque that I imagine are still lingering in the arteries. Anyone got a really tiny roto-rooter? =P
 

The Hungry Samurai

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Apr 1, 2004
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That just sounds nuts. I've lost about 120 lbs over the past year and a half using the calorie limits set for my by myfitnesspal, supplemented by a new found love of jogging (Zombies Run! ftw!)

They never let the total go below 1200 a day and if I don't exercise to get my daily calorie intake above 1500 I start to crash. Hard.