Dr. Traci Mann, who is a professor at the University of Minnesota, wrote an article about the factors that cause dieters to regain the weight they lose. She notes: “When dieters regain weight, is it because they are too weak-willed to continue restricting their food intake, or is it because their body physiologically defends a genetically-based set weight? The answer is somewhere in between those explanations and is easily misunderstood: In brief, calorie deprivation leads to changes in hormones, metabolism, and cognitive/attentional functions that make it difficult to enact the behaviors needed to keep weight off.”
Dr. Mann describes the role of calorie deprivation and willpower in weight gain, and she addresses the misconception that “if people regain the weight, it must be due to their poor self-control.” After reviewing the evidence that suggests calorie deprivation can have long term effects that work against dieters, she discusses her lab’s recent work on “increasing vegetable consumption and decreasing certain unhealthy foods without monitoring calories.”
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