It seems like every fad diet in the world tries to convince us that calories don’t matter. They point to successes of their dieters as proof and ignore the overwhelming evidence presented by doctors, scientists, nutritionists, and trainers who prove (beyond all shadow of a doubt) that a person cannot burn fat unless they eat fewer calories than their body requires: a caloric deficit.
There are no shortcuts to this problem. There are no pills that can solve this problem. And there is NO legitimate science that indicates otherwise.
Here’s what is actually happening when one of these crazy diets actually works for someone:
Any diet (all diets) require restriction of some sort (“eat this, but not that;” “eat more of this, and less of that;” etc.). In doing so, studies prove that people unconsciously end up restricting calories in addition to whatever other plan they’re following.
Case in point, when people decide to try a low-carb, high-fat diet (Atkins, for example) the first thing they do on day 1, is start paying attention to their food intake. Put simply: eating fewer carbs usually means they’re eating fewer calories without realizing it. The same applies to other diets. As soon as you restrict, watch, or manage your food in any way, the odds are good that your calorie consumption will go down, as a natural byproduct of, you know, actually paying attention to what you eat. (This is why study after study shows that people who simply log their food have a much higher chance of losing weight than people who don’t).
This is why so many “fad” diets work (at least in the short term), despite their bizarre nature. The all-juice diet, the all-carb diet, the all-fat diet, the all-fruit diet, the all-vegetable diet: they all succeed. Again, this is all short term. This is because when the body doesn’t get enough calories, itresorts to burning fat instead. Note that this also applies to all those trendy “cleanse” diets. When you deprive your body of the calories it needs (which the cleanse-diets do), you lose weight.
One group of people even created (tongue in cheek, I hope) the concept of a Taco Cleanse (I swear I’m not making this up). Real people who’ve tried it even report that it works! The plan is simple: eat nothing but tacos and lose weight. Whats the catch? According to the plan, no, you can’t eat as many tacos as you want. And if you do the math, you’ll end up eating a relatively small number of calories. Voila! The taco diet is proven to cause weight loss (and hunger.. you’d be very, very hungry).
The point? Burning fat isn’t a magic formula. Any diet that claims to have found some workaround for this formula is full of it. Sorry trendy-dieters. Theres no way around the science, you need that caloric deficit.
This chart shows where your priorities should be in determining your own weight loss plan: