Reduced calorie diets may make it more difficult to maintain or lose weight. Cutting calories in the diet can increase levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol can lead to additional abdominal fat.
“For the first time in humans, we are finding out that cutting your calories increases cortisol,” says Janet Tomiyama, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, and lead author of a new Psychosomatic Medicine study examining diet and weight gain.
"We think this may be one reason dieters tend to have a hard time keeping weight off in the long-term," she says. Counting calories and reducing calories in the diet leads to the weight retention caused by increased levels of cortisol.
"No matter how you cut calories, whether that's doing it on your own, or doing something like Nutrisystem or Jenny Craig, it doesn't matter, it's still going to increase your cortisol level," she said.
Nearly 65 percent of people gain back more weight than they lost while dieting and nearly 50 percent of U.S. adults are currently dieting.
The study examined four groups of women, some assigned to calorie-tracking and reducing their calories. At the start and end of three weeks, cortisol and stress levels were measured. When calories were restricted, cortisol levels increased and calorie-tracking caused higher levels of stress.
Burning more calories than you consume is the only way your body loses weight. The most effective way to lose weight is to modify lifestyle habits to incorporate regular physical activity and a healthy diet.
Lose weight by:
• Eating well and being active.
• Joining weight loss support groups.
• Avoiding diet pills and diet fads.
• Reducing stress with relaxation techniques.
Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for weight loss as well as a wide range of other health conditions. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director.