You just know I’m about to rip this to shreds, right?
I kept hearing about this in the form of having the tv on,and hearing “after the break, we look a new diet that makes you lose weight while you sleep”. And I’d be like “oh for fuck’s sake… actually you know what? I’m just going to turn the tv off this is only going to make me angry”.
After a few days though I got sent a link to a news story about it and couldn’t avoid it any longer. Cool your jets though, because there’s actually some good and true information in the article I read… I mean… there’s also a load of complete bollocks as well, but I’ll start with the good information.
On other diets, when the body detects a significant drop in food intake, it immediately looks to muscle mass for extra energy. You get thinner, but you also get weaker and eventually the metabolic rate slows down and you stop losing weight.
This is actually true and it is why I hate diets so much, especially the “very low calorie” variety. Uhh… I’m trying to find the other “good” information I thought was in the article, but I can’t. There’s some that’s only half terrible though so I’ll show you that next.
The key is to preserve and build up valuable muscle mass, which helps in speeding up the metabolism. The leaner the muscles, the faster the metabolism and the more calories you burn.
This is like… OK the secret IS to build and preserve muscle mass to produce a lean and attractive figure, but could they possibly have described any more bro-sciencey? ALL muscles are lean, for starts. Muscle is made up of muscle. You can’t have “leaner muscles” than the next guy, you can only have “a higher percentage of lean mass” (and therefore a lower percentage of body fat). I suppose it does take more calories to maintain a lean and muscular (or “toned”, if you prefer) physique than a flabbier body at the same weight… but (and maybe I’m being overly pedantic) I don’t like the way they’ve described this. I’m over hearing about burning more calories and “speeding up the metabolism”. What is important is that you are getting the right amount of calories for your goal body type,
Ok from here it goes to shit. Let’s continue.
Apovian says her diet is twofold. “On the first day of the week, you are going to power up and drink nutrient-rich smoothies all day and avoid carbohydrates, and that night you are going to lose up to 2 pounds,” she said.
By not eating carbohydrates, the pancreas secretes less insulin, which is what retains salt and water.
The rest of the week is a diet of high-protein foods, such as a 14-ounce steak, leafy green veggies and fruit. “You don’t have to lift a single barbell,” she says.
OK let’s go through this. It sounds a lot like the same logic behind Calorie Confusion and The Fast Diet, which I’ve already ripped the shit out of on this blog. Basically you have one ultra low calorie day, you end up below maintenance calories on average for the week, and you lose weight. It’s a lot like how I had a stomach bug the Saturday before last and lost 2kg due to hardly eating that day.
Look at the next paragraph there though. They actually give the game away themselves with the part about “what retains salt and water”. Yeah, they’re bragging about losing up to 2lb but they just admitted that it is simply from reduced water retention and not fat loss! Exactly the same as what happened to me through illness!
Now… the last line that quoted section… look at it. They’re talking about preserving muscle mass being so important… but “you don’t have to lift a single barbell”. Really? What stimulus is there to encourage the body to preserve muscle mass then, since you’re not actually using them?
So… lose weight while you sleep, you don’t have to exercise, just don’t eat one day a week… all the things I hate in a fad diet. Are we actually saying that obese people are so lazy that the only way we can get them interested in their health is to say “you don’t even have to do anything, it happens while you sleep!”? I don’t think that is true at all, and it’s certainly not a helpful message. Tell people the truth god dammit; if you want to get into shape… it’s not terribly complicated or difficult but you do have to make the effort to exercise for about an hour a day.
But can you actually lose weight while you sleep though?
Well, what do YOU think?
Of course you fucking CAN lose weight in your sleep. Why would you not? We’re not talking about fucking Signourney Weaver going into a stasis pod after killing a bunch of Aliens, waking up 3 years later and half a galaxy away without having aged a day.
Sleep doesn’t work like that. You body is still doing stuff. Maybe digesting food that’s still in your stomach, storing energy in your liver and muscles, regenerating cells, repairing bone mass and muscle tissue. Your heart is still beating, your brain and nervous system are still functioning, your hair and finger nails are growing… none of this stops just because you are asleep. If you’re in calorie deficit you lose weight… full stop. What do they think on a normal diet you lose weight between 9am and 5pm and then your metabolism clocks off for the day or something?
So look… I’d like to think they have good intentions with this diet, and I’m not saying it won’t work. I’m saying I don’t like the bullshit and bro-science they are selling it with, and I’m saying you’re better off just eating to support your goal weight and training strategically to produce your goal body type at that weight.