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Metabolic Adaptation Part I: The Size of the Calorie Deficit

Metabolic adaptation is the abnormal slowing of the metabolism while in a calorie deficit for weight loss.  The metabolism is directly influenced by one's body weight.  As weight loss occurs, it is expected for the metabolism to slow down.  It is widely accepted that metabolic adaptation occurs if the metabolism falls below 15 percent the predicted value when adjusted for body composition (1).  Metabolic adaptation occurs if the metabolism falls greater than that during weight loss.  A number of factors contribute to metabolic adaptation, but the two that seem to be most influential are the size of the calorie deficit and preservation or loss of lean mass during weight loss.

Weight loss does not always mean fat loss.  The faster weight loss occurs, the more likely it is to include lean mass.  Unfortunately it is expected that up to 25% of weight loss will come from lean body mass in people who are overweight or obese (2).   Lean mass is...

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