With so many diets and different opinions surrounding weight loss floating around out there – – CONFUSED is a word many dieters find themselves using pretty often.
If you are one of our clients/customers, we hope that we’ve been able to clear up some of that for you with our free body type quiz and easy-to-follow programs, and recipe-based meal plans.
If you are new around here, you can find out more information about our dieting approach at the end of this article.
Today we hope to clear up any confusion you may have about a term being used a lot in the diet and fitness space — Metabolic Confusion.
Don’t worry. It’s really not confusing at all.
The term “confusion” comes from what this eating style has the potential to do for helping create a healthier metabolism, which is essential for burning more calories and promoting fat loss.
Some studies show that metabolic confusion can help your metabolism work harder, possibly leading you to lose weight easier or bust past a weight loss plateau.
While metabolic confusion is technically a type of “diet,” — it’s really more of an eating style where you alternate your daily calorie intake instead of aiming to eat the same number of calories each day.
The best part is that you can use this approach with whatever diet is best for you, your body type, and your goals.
Maybe you’ve heard of it, or perhaps this is the first time you’ve seen it mentioned. Either way, it’s a topic worth educating yourself on!
Let’s dive into what metabolic confusion is and if it’s something you might want to consider, as well as two different ways to easily incorporate it into your healthy lifestyle, especially if your goal is fat loss!
WHAT IS METABOLIC CONFUSION
As the name suggests, metabolic confusion is when a person attempts to “confuse” (and hopefully improve) their metabolism.
Eating too few calories (dieting) for an extended time can cause a major decrease in your metabolism. Basically, your body learns to “adapt” to fewer calories. If this happens, your weight loss may slow or stop.
To break this plateau, some experts believe you need to adjust your diet or exercise routine to start losing weight again.
Metabolic confusion is one way you could potentially do this.
The theory behind a metabolic confusion diet is that by varying your calorie intake from day to day instead of eating the same amount of calories daily, you’ll trick your metabolism, so it doesn’t get used to the calorie deficit you are in while dieting, leading to an increased basal metabolic rate (the number of calories your body needs to survive.)
Metabolic confusion does not restrict food groups and can be achieved by using several different eating approaches that mix high and low-calorie days, also known as “calorie shifting.”
We will dive into three different methods you can use a little further down in this article. First, let’s talk a little bit about why it may be an approach you want to consider and what the experts have to say about it.
WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO CONSIDER METABOLIC CONFUSION
Anyone can incorporate this eating style, but if fat loss and a healthier metabolism are your goals, incorporating metabolic confusion is certainly something to consider.
Or maybe you’ve tried different styles of dieting, from keto to intermittent fasting or even a flexible dieting approach, and still find it hard to lose weight — then a metabolic confusion diet is no doubt worth trying out!
You can adopt this eating style anytime you wish; however, we think it’s a great idea to incorporate it BEFORE a plateau occurs.
Our favorite method of metabolic confusion is carb cycling, but there are numerous approaches you can take, which we will dive into in just a second!
But first, we want to tell you what science says so you can better decide if it’s an approach you want to consider.
WHAT DOES THE SCIENCE SAY ABOUT METABOLIC CONFUSION
To date, there isn’t a ton of research that supports whether or not calorie cycling has a significant impact on your resting metabolism.
There have been studies done that show using a metabolic confusion dieting approach does positively affect a person’s resting metabolic rate, as well as body weight — compared to eating the same number of deficit calories every day.
The theory is that on a typical low-calorie diet, where you stick to a set calorie deficit (the same calories/macros) every day over a specific period, your metabolism will adjust to these low calories at some point, and your weight loss may slow or stop.
They have concluded that to break this plateau, confusing your metabolism can help you start losing weight again, or even better, prevent plateaus from happening.
Despite little scientific backing, many nutrition experts swear by it, and at V Shred, we believe in using this dieting method because we’ve seen it work for hundreds of thousands of our clients and customers.
DIFFERENT EATING STYLES TO ACHIEVE METABOLIC CONFUSION
There isn’t one set way to incorporate metabolic confusion into your diet, and it isn’t something you need to do forever.
Most people incorporate this type of eating a few times a year – anywhere from a month to several months at a time.
Here are the two most common methods used for creating a metabolic confusion diet.
One approach to metabolic confusion is simply varying your calorie intake by splitting your week into high and low-calorie days.
Unlike carb cycling (which we will touch on next) – these calories can come from any macro (protein, carbs, or fats.)
However, we don’t suggest you take calories away from your protein macros. It’s best to set your protein intake and leave it alone and only adjust your calories from fat and carbs.
How would you go about this?
For instance, let’s say your daily calorie value to lose weight is 1500 calories per day. This is just an example. You would need to use your own personal calories.
1500 calories per day = 10,500 calories per week.
When you are on a “normal” diet, you would eat 1500 calories every day, and by the end of the week, you would have consumed 10,500 calories.
With calorie cycling, you would still get in 10,500 calories for the week, but you wouldn’t eat 1500 calories every day. Some days you might eat 1200 calories, and some days you might eat 2000.
This can be achieved in many different ways. The most popular method is to have two back-to-back high-calorie days followed by 5 days at the low-calorie number.
Monday-Friday: 1350 calories each day.
Saturday & Sunday: 1875 calories each day.
Total calories: 10,500
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday: 1200 calories each day.
Wednesday & Thursday: 1350 calories each day.
Friday & Saturday: 2100 calories each day.
Total calories: 10,500
The combinations for calorie intake are limitless as long as you stay within your target weekly calorie range. It is also not suggested that you do more than two high days in a row.
Instead of calorie cycling, some dieters opt to cycle carb intake. You keep your protein and fat intake the same 7 days a week, and your carb intake is the only thing that changes.
This is the metabolic conditioning eating style we prefer here at V Shred because solid research backs this strategy to be optimal for leptin – the hormone in your body that affects your metabolic rate.
The theory is that the extra calories from carbs on high carb days will temporarily boost leptin levels – leading to a boost in metabolism, more satiety when you go back to a low carb day, and increased fat burn.
For this metabolic confusion strategy, you would eat low to moderate carbs some days and high carbs on other days.
An example of a typical carb cycling eating plan is one day of moderate carb intake, followed by four days of low carb intake, followed by one day of high carb intake.
If you typically eat 200 carbs every day, by the end of the week, you would have consumed 1400 carbs.
On a carb cycling plan, you may do this instead:
Sunday: 250 carbs (moderate carb day)
Monday – Thursday: 100 carbs (low carb days)
Friday & Saturday: 375 carbs (high carb days)
Monday-Wednesday: 100 carbs (low carb days)
Thursday: 250 carbs (moderate carb day)
Friday: 100 carbs (low carb days)
Saturday & Sunday: 375 carbs (high carb days)
Using either example above, your total carb count for the week would still equal 1400 by the end of the week.
Just like with calorie cycling, the number of carbs consumed and cycle length varies by person.
But in general, most days should be low carb days, and it is best if you don’t have more than two consecutive high carb days. If you have a high carb day, the next day should be a low carb day, or at the least, a moderate carb day.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON METABOLIC CONFUSION
While you can’t really “trick” your metabolism, incorporating a metabolic confusion eating style may help prevent your metabolism from slowing down, which can make it harder to lose weight.
It is still a diet where you are restricting calories, but most people like calorie/carb shifting because it allows for more flexibility and mimics a more “normal” eating style of eating more some days than others.
There are also certain body types that may benefit from metabolic confusion more than others. For example, some studies claim that creating metabolic confusion through carb cycling is the best way to help endomorphs lose weight. While mesomorphs and ectomorphs might need to take a different approach.
If you don’t know your body type, below you will find a link to a free quiz you can take to find out in minutes!
The biggest perk of adopting metabolic confusion into your nutrition plan is that it gives you a mental break from the daily grind of dieting without using methods such as “cheat meals” or “cheat days,” which can create a negative relationship with food for some dieters.
If all of this seems too complicated, or it would be a headache to vary your calories or carbs day-to-day, it might be best to stick to the same calories daily and incorporate a weekly free meal instead or have more frequent diet breaks if you are restricting calories for a long time.
If you would like to know if metabolic confusion is an eating style that would work for you and your unique body type…
We have a BODY TYPE QUIZ anyone can take FOR FREE!
It’s only a few questions; you get your results instantly and are given suggestions for the diet and exercise regime that can help you get results faster and easier!
And if you still have questions or want someone to do the groundwork for you, we have a team of expert coaches here at V Shred that would be happy to create a CUSTOM diet and exercise plan for you that is best for your lifestyle, goals, and genetics.