Can you trick your metabolism into boosting weight loss?

In the quest for a quick and easy weight management solution, the metabolic confusion diet is yet another contender to enter the ring. But does it work?

As the name suggests, the metabolic confusion diet is an approach to eating that is intended to “confuse” your metabolism.

The idea is by keeping your metabolism guessing, it remains active and thereby can help people shed unwanted kilos.

How the metabolic confusion diet works

Similar to intermittent fasting, metabolic confusion switches between periods of eating fewer calories and then eating a normal number of calories.

Some people eat a lower-calorie diet one day, a normal number of calories the next day, fewer calories the following day and so on.

In an article for The Conversation, University of Surrey nutritionist Dr Adam Collins writes that typically in metabolic confusion diets, people eat about 1200 calories one day and about 2000 calories the next.

This differs to intermittent fasting, like the 5:2 diet, where people either fast or eat around 500 calories for two days and then eat normally on the other five days of the week.

“The idea is that by eating less on some days and more on the other, you confuse your metabolism and keep it active, burn more calories and that leads to weight loss,” says dietitian Felicity Curtain, of Dietitians Australia.

“But as yet, there’s no evidence to show this style of eating does confuse our metabolism.”

The pros and cons of a metabolic confusion diet

Dr Collins says while there’s no evidence the metabolic confusion diet is an effective weight loss strategy, it may have other health benefits.

“Intermittent fasting-type diets can improve your ability to manage fuels in the body – known as metabolic flexibility,” Dr Collins writes.

“Metabolic flexibility means you’re better at burning and storing carbohydrates when you need to, and equally better at managing the storage and release of fat from fat stores.

“This improves insulin sensitivity, which reduces overall risk from disease, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. All of this is independent of weight or weight loss.”

Felicity says a drawback of the metabolic confusion diet is the focus on quantity, not quality.

“There is a risk that people get caught up in counting the number of calories they eat without considering the nutritional quality of their food,” she says.

“This kind of diet is also inappropriate for anyone who has been a chronic dieter, or who has had an eating disorder, because they can get caught up in the focus on numbers.

“I think the metabolic confusion diet is one to skim over.”

Written by Sarah Marinos.