Aggressive vs. Moderate Dieting: The Surprising Truth Revealed

When it comes to trimming down, people often explore different approaches. Typically, there are three primary methods: an immediate drastic calorie reduction, a moderate reduction close to maintenance levels, or a gradual reduction over time to achieve a more aggressive caloric deficit. Each approach offers its own advantages and trade-offs: the first might promise faster fat loss but could be very challenging to sustain, the second offers a more comfortable experience but may take longer to see significant results, while the third lies somewhere in between.

In a study aimed at determining the most effective approach, researchers took 14 weight-lifting women and divided them into two groups: one following an aggressive caloric deficit and the other a moderate one. The aggressive group immediately reduced their daily calorie intake to a low level (25 kcals per kg of fat-free mass) and maintained this for 8 weeks, termed as “constant” dieting. On the other hand, the moderate group started with a modest calorie drop (40 kcals per kg of FFM), decreased calories every two weeks, and concluded the last two weeks similarly to the aggressive group.

Contrary to expectations, the study revealed that the moderate dieting group, which underwent the progressive reduction in calories, lost a slightly higher amount of fat (-3.75 pounds) compared to the aggressive dieters (-2.6 pounds). Surprisingly, the aggressive dieters ended up consuming more overall calories than their moderate counterparts because they struggled to adhere to the strict prescribed calorie intake consistently.

The findings underscored the significance of sustainability in dieting. The moderate approach, with its gradual reduction and relatively higher initial caloric intake, proved to be more manageable and ultimately led to slightly better fat loss. The study’s conclusion emphasized the importance of choosing a calorie deficit plan that one can sustain consistently, typically around a 300-500 calorie deficit with a focus on high protein intake. Additionally, emerging research on non-linear diet strategies, such as cycling between low-calorie days and maintenance days, shows promise for faster fat loss while maintaining muscle mass and metabolic rate.

Related posts

What are Electrolytes? Why are They Actually Important?


The Real Effects of a High Protein Diet


Is Poor Digestion Wreaking Havoc on Your Gains?