What is the Reverse Diet?

What is the Reverse Diet?

The reverse diet is a nutritional strategy based on progressively increasing calorie consumption, which accelerates the metabolism and makes it possible maintain a healthy body weight after having finished some type of calorie restrictive diet to lose weight, thus avoiding the feared rebound effect.

The reverse diet is a great option after undergoing a calorie deficit diet, as it involves controlled calorie intake, which our body needs to maintain the right weight.

Why do the Reverse Diet?

Through the Reverse Diet we avoid the feared rebound effect, as it’s about increasing calorie consumption as well as energy expenditure gradually, which limits body fat gain and weight gain, counteracting the metabolic increase.

What’s involved in the reverse diet?

The reverse diet is a nutritional strategy based on progressively increasing calorie consumption, which accelerates the metabolism and makes it possible maintain a healthy body weight after having finished some type of calorie restrictive diet to lose weight.

When a caloric deficit occurs, the basal metabolic rate is usually reduced.

What is a Reverse Diet?

This occurs because the body receives fewer calories and, consequently, its energy expenditure also decreases.

Such a situation leads to the body adapting to metabolic variants related to:

  • the “hunger hormone” (increases);
  • satiety (decreases); and
  • insulin sensitivity in adipocytes.
The reverse diet helps to reverse all the metabolic disturbances that have occurred to a sustainable normality.

How do you do the Reverse Diet?

In order to obtain effective results, the reverse diet should be done with a strict calorie control.

Here are some general steps to follow:

1. Calculate the calories you currently consume and set the new goal

You need to know exactly how many calories you’re taking in to maintain your body weight.

From this reference, you’ll set a new value.

You can use different methods, including trial and error, by monitoring dietary intake and weight evolution, and calculation of the physical activity factor, among others.

2. Increase your calorie intake

The recommendation is to gradually increase from 50 calories to 100 calories per week, following strict daily calorie control until you reach the required amount, for about 4 or 10 weeks.

3. Adjust according to progress

Depending on the progress made on the diet, you’ll be able to assess the changes in the medium term to make the necessary adjustments.

Not every reacts the same, so adapt your weekly calorie increase over time to your requirements. It’s a very subjective approach and the important thing is that you feel good.

During the first weeks you may still be in a deficit, but by the end you’ll have progressively adjusted your calorie intake to meet your energy needs.

Reverse diet and Training

It’s also very important to keep up your exercise: If you’ve been training to gain muscle mass, lose weight or seek definition, you can continue to do so.

Who is this diet aimed at?

The reverse diet is excellent for people who want to resume normocaloric eating following a low-calorie diet.

It’s also recommended when we’re on a diet to lose fat tissue but stagnate and stop losing weight, even with a calorie deficit.

In this case, the reverse diet can restore metabolic activity and lead to the loss of body fat.

Who is the reverse diet aimed at?

Likewise, at the end of a muscle definition phase, the reverse diet is ideal for return to eating habits without gaining fat.

After a competition, athletes can use it as a recovery diet to avoid gaining weight. That said, it’s something that can’t be generalised, as each professional has their own strategy and each person their own needs.

What to eat and what not to eat

During the first few days of calorie increase, it’s a good idea to increase your protein intake.

Among the most protein-rich foods are: eggs, some dairy products, serrano ham, red meat, turkey, chicken, tuna, salmon, trout, cod, and hake, among others.

Afterwards, we should move on to increasing carbohydrates.

For this, some of the most carbohydrate-rich foods are: potatoes, rice or pasta.

Foods with a low glycaemic index are also recommended, which include natural yoghurt, green lentils, carrots, rye bread, apples and cashews.

Then you’ll need to increase your fat intake, incorporating foods such as: oily fish, nuts, vegetable seeds, avocados and olive oil.

Under no circumstances should the calorie increase include ultra-processed foods or pastries, although you can eat them occasionally.

Is it a healthy diet?

There’s still no scientific evidence to support the health benefits of the reverse diet.

However, it’s undeniable that after following a slimming diet it would be counterproductive to go back to eating as before all at once, as you’d be more likely to regain the weight lost. The slimming process should have been a learning process and a real re-education.

In this sense, the reverse diet helps progressive readaptation and allows the creation of healthy habits that can be maintained over time.

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About María José García
María José García
María José has been linked to sport since she was a child when she entered and even competed in various sporting disciplines, such as skating, swimming and gymnastics.
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