Nutrition

Does the Metabolic Diet work?

Does the Metabolic Diet work?

by in Nutrition

last updated: November 05, 2015

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The Metabolic Diet was created and developed by Dr. Mauro G. Di Pasquale, a Canadian doctor. The diet for those who have difficulty losing weight with traditional diets and need to speed up their metabolism and encourage weight loss. Principles and organisation of the Metabolic Diet.

Losing weight can be difficult because of our metabolism, the set of processes that transform nutrients into energy.

In some people this activity is slower than normal, and sugars and fats are processed and disposed of at a delayed rate.

But there are some foods that can affect this mechanism positively when included in a low-calorie diet. These include certain protein foods such as meat, fish, eggs, some fruits and vegetables and coffee.

What is the metabolism?

The metabolism is the set of chemical and physical processes that convert food into the energy needed for the body to function. It can be considered the architect of body weight: we you lose weight if it speeds up, we put on weight if it slows down.
The thyroid gland (located in the lower part of the neck) is what produces the hormones that regulate the intensity of metabolism, that is the manner and the speed at which the body uses the substances acquired to produce energy. Because of this, when we come up against unjustified and significant changes in weight we should check how it is functioning with a simple blood test called dosage of thyroid hormones.
The metabolic process comprises two opposite phases that follow one another and overlap continuously: the anabolic phase during which complex substances are formed from simpler substances, for storing reserve energy; the catabolic phase, which separates the reserve materials into simpler substances to produce energy, eliminating waste in this process through the kidneys, intestines, skin and lungs.

Normal, fast, slow metabolism

The metabolism can be divided into three categories: normal, fast and slow. In the first case, the person does not suffer from particular ailments. Their biochemical processes are balanced, and their weight is normal. In the second case, however, the energy reactions take place too rapidly, so sugars and fats are burned very quickly. This is case among people who are excessively lean and twitchy, who are often also restless and nervous.
Those with a slow metabolism burn sugars and fats slower than normal. They therefore gain a few extra kilos and tend to bloat, so they experience a feeling of exhaustion during the day and have a slow heart and breathing rate.
For further confirmation of how your own metabolism works, you can take various tests at state hospitals. One of these is the test that measures the basal metabolism, which expresses the amount of energy required for the body to operate when resting (thus allowing it to breathe and keep all other vital functions active). Those with a fast metabolism will use more energy or rest, conversely those with a slow metabolism will have below-standard values.

It is useful to check the functionality of the thyroid (T3 and T4) and adrenal hormones (glucocorticoids and cortisol), as these significantly affect the metabolism. Even in this case, if the values ??are lower than normal, it means metabolism is slow and higher values mean it is fast.

Reducing calories too much does not help

Often, when we realise that we aren't losing weigh despite eating very little, we further decrease our intake of calories. This solution is not only unhealthy, it is not useful either.

When the human body receives little food, it reacts like that of a hibernating animal. It slows down physiological processes and decreases calorie consumption by slowing the metabolism.

This occurs during drastic diets, which only provide 700-800 calories a day and end up causing a metabolic slowdown of as much as 20 percent. This is why reducing calories excessively produces the opposite effect to what we want to achieve and we tend to gain weight more easily.
The number of meals eaten during the day is also important to making our metabolisms active and efficient, and the higher the number the greater the accelerator effect. In fact, it has been observed that if the daily intake of calories is divided into 4 or 5 meals instead of 2 or 3, this leads to an increase in the level of calorie combustion equal to 1-1.5% of energy consumption.

Which foods are suitable?

In order to boost a slow metabolism, foods must be introduced into the body that can facilitate the performance of these chemical reactions, while avoiding those that hinder them.

Say yes to fruits and vegetables, which ensure a proper intake of vitamins and mineral salts. Vitamins in particular are very useful in facilitating metabolic processes.

Which foods are suitable?

Say yes to protein, which is contained in meat, fish and eggs, and foods that improve calorie consumption by the body.

This is why many weight loss diets are high-protein. Yes, even coffee: it has been shown that 5 cups a day accelerate calorie consumption by 5%. Don't go too far, however. Nervous people and those with hypertension in particular should not drink more than 1-2 cups a day.

Say no to some of the family of cruciferous vegetables such as kale, cabbage, broccoli and radishes, as in some people they can slow down thyroid function and thus the metabolism.
Say no to fats and sugar: sweets, which are rich in simple sugars, and fatty foods in general, require long and laborious digestion and can interfere with metabolic activities. Say no to alcoholic beverages and sweetened soft drinks, which are high in calories and slow down the metabolism when they are being digested.

The metabolic diet

Eating at regular times is good for the metabolism. Dinner in particular should not be eaten after 21:00 (metabolic activities are slower after a certain point in the day).

Metabolic diet meal times
Foods must be cooked by being grilled, steamed, microwaved or baked. The flavour remains unchanged and there is no need to add fatty condiments.

As for condiments, 3 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil are recommended per day. To add flavour to foods, you can use lemon juice, spices and herbs according to your own taste.
Drink a litre and a half of mineral water a day to eliminate the waste produced by metabolic processes. Do not use common sugar. Replace it with a calorie-free sweetener.

The weekly metabolic diet

Below is an example of a weekly schedule for the metabolic diet:

Monday

|||UNTRANSLATED_CONTENT_START|||Colazione: tè o caffè non zuccherati; 3 fette biscottate integrali o 4 biscotti secchi tipo gallette;
un bicchiere di latte scremato o uno yogurt magro
Spuntino: un frutto fresco o una spremuta di arancia non zuccherato
Pranzo: 50 g di pasta integrale al pomodoro con una spruzzata di grana grattugiato; insalata mista di ortaggi crudi; un caffè senza zucchero
Merenda: una tazza di tè o un caffè; una mela
Cena: antipasto di verdura cruda o frutta fresca intera o in macedonia; minestrone o passato di verdura senza pasta o riso; 200 g di pesce cotto ai ferri o al forno; insalata mista; mezzo panino integrale(30g)|||UNTRANSLATED_CONTENT_END|||

Tuesday

Breakfast: unsweetened tea or coffee; 3 whole wheat rusks or 4 dry biscuits, such as crackers; a glass of skimmed milk or low-fat yogurt
Snack: fresh fruit or unsweetened grapefruit juice
Lunch: 160g of ricotta with half a wholemeal sandwich (30g); mixed raw vegetable salad; coffee
without sugar Snack: a cup of tea or coffee; a pear
Dinner: raw vegetable appetiser and fresh fruit, whole or in salad; minestrone or vegetable soup with no pasta or rice; baked mushrooms; mixed salad; half a wholemeal bun (30g)

Wednesday

Breakfast: unsweetened tea or coffee; 3 whole wheat rusks or 4 dry biscuits, such as crackers; a glass of skimmed milk or low-fat yogurt
Snack: fresh fruit or unsweetened grapefruit juice
Lunch: bean salad; mixed salad of raw vegetables; coffee without sugar
Snack: a cup of tea or coffee; a kiwi
Dinner: raw vegetable appetiser or fresh fruits, whole or in salad; minestrone or vegetable soup with no pasta or rice; 2 boiled or hard-boiled eggs; mixed salad; half a wholemeal bun (30g)

Thursday

Breakfast: unsweetened tea or coffee; 3 whole wheat rusks or 4 dry biscuits, such as crackers; a glass of skimmed milk or low-fat yogurt
Snack: fresh fruit or unsweetened orange juice
Lunch: 50g of brown rice with vegetables; mixed salad of raw vegetables; coffee
without sugar Snack: a cup of tea or coffee; an Apple
Dinner: raw vegetable appetiser and fresh fruit, whole or in salad; minestrone or vegetable soup with no pasta or rice; fish soup*; mixed salad; half a wholemeal bun (30g)

Friday

Breakfast: unsweetened tea or coffee; 3 whole wheat rusks or 4 dry biscuits, such as crackers; a glass of skimmed milk or low-fat yogurt
Snack: fresh fruit or unsweetened orange juice
Lunch: spaghetti with clams*; Mixed salad of raw vegetables; coffee
without sugarSnack: a cup of tea or coffee; a kiwi
Dinner : raw vegetable appetiser and fresh fruit, whole or in salad; minestrone or vegetable soup with no pasta or rice; 150g of grilled meat; mixed salad; half a wholemeal bun (30g)

Saturday

Breakfast: unsweetened tea or coffee; 3 whole wheat rusks or 4 dry biscuits, such as crackers; a glass of skimmed milk or low-fat yogurt
Snack: fresh fruit or unsweetened grapefruit
juiceLunch: 160g of light cheese with half a wholemeal sandwich (30g); mixed salad of raw vegetables; coffee
without sugarSnack: a cup of tea or coffee; a pear
Dinner: raw vegetable appetiser and fresh fruit, whole or in salad; minestrone or vegetable soup with no pasta or rice; 50g of raw or cooked ham with the fat removed; mixed salad; half a wholemeal bun (30g)

Sunday

Breakfast: unsweetened tea or coffee; 3 whole wheat rusks or 4 dry biscuits, such as crackers; a glass of skimmed milk or low-fat
yogurtSnack: fresh fruit or unsweetened orange
juiceLunch: 50g of brown rice with artichokes; mixed salad; coffee
without sugar Snack: a cup of tea or coffee; a peach
Dinner: raw vegetables appetiser and fresh fruit, whole or in salad; minestrone or vegetable soup with no pasta or rice; 150g of grilled turkey breast; mixed salad; half a wholemeal bun (30g)

Up-keep

Below is a food table to help maintain the results achieved. The general guidelines (foods to be avoided or preferred) should also apply once your ideal weight has
been reached. As soon as you wake up, drink a glass of water at room temperature with half a lemon squeezed into it.
Avoid fatty and fermented cheeses, alcohol and sausage type salami, mortadella, coppa and sweets, and always drink in moderation.
Except for potatoes, you can eat all the vegetables you want, preferably leeks, carrots, beets, courgettes, celery and salad greens, including chicory. Continue to avoid kale, cabbage, broccoli and radishes, which can slow down the metabolism. For seasoning, only use extra virgin olive oil, preferably raw, with a total measurement of 3 spoons per day.

Breakfast: a cup of skimmed milk 2 natural low-fat yogurt or an unsweetened hot drink. Optional: seasonal fruit (even a shake or freshly squeezed juice with no added sugar); 3 whole wheat rusks or 2 tablespoons (20g) of cereal flakes, or 4 dry wholemeal biscuits.Snack
: one seasonal fresh fruit or two small ones (200g)
Lunch: 70g of whole wheat pasta or rice with sauces made from tomatoes or vegetables, or with small amounts of fish; alternatively: 100g of whole wheat bread; raw vegetables with vinaigrette or salad dressed with olive oil, a little salt and lemon juice; coffee
without sugarSnack: a cup of tea without sugarDinner
: choose one of the suggestions below, to be eaten with a wholemeal bun (60g) and a side of vegetables. 2 boiled eggs, poached or hard-boiled eggs (2 times per week)
220g fish, such as hake, sole, bream or cod (2 times per week)
150g of lean meat (2 times per week)
80g of cheese: Robiola, scamorza, primosale, mozzarella, fresh tomino or 180g of cow's milk ricotta or low-fat cheese (once a week).

How to start the metabolic diet

The purpose of the Metabolic Diet is to find that "magic" amount of carbohydrates that allow our bodies to reach the peak of physical and mental efficiency by always using fats as the main energy source. In this article I will refer to a "rigid approach," because I consider it the best, quickest strategy for determining the ideal amount of glucose for each of us. The metabolic diet is divided into two phases:

1- An assessment phase (which usually lasts 4 weeks)
2- The actual diet The purpose of the assessment phase is to discover the amount of glucose most suited to us, after several attempts. This value will be the amount that we will later use for the whole duration of the diet.

Assessment phase

During this stage you determine how your body reacts being deprived of carbohydrates, evaluating how efficient you at using carbohydrates as an energy source.

Those who oxidise fat efficiently will cope very well with this stage. Others may struggle, and will do better in the following weeks when the glucose quota is increased. During this period, the metabolic diet is structured as follows:

  1. few carbohydrates during the week
  2. high levels of carbohydrates at the weekend (recharge)

The only exception is the first two weeks, during which we will eat few carbohydrates for 12 days followed by 2 days of recharging (12+2). This step is important, do not be tempted to move onto a 5+2 plan right away.

These 12 days are critical for transforming your body from a "carbohydrate burning" machine into a "fat burning" machine, and also so you can find out whether you are suited to low levels of glucose. In these two weeks (or 12 days, to be precise) your calorie intake will be divided as follows:

  • 50-60% fat
  • 30-50% protein
  • 30 grams of carbohydrates

After 12 days, very high carbohydrates for 2 days, and more precisely:

  • 35-55% carbohydrates
  • 25-40% fat
  • 15-30% protein

In these two days, the insulin will rise dramatically and your body will respond by filling the muscles with glycogen and firming up. At this stage, your body weight may increase significantly. Don't worry, this is due to water retention brought on by the intake of carbohydrates.

If all goes well and you feel strong and vigorous, without any physical or mental drop, then carry out another 12 + 2 cycle before moving on to a definitive 5 + 2 diet. However, it is possible that this low dose of carbohydrates will create problems.

The metabolic diet will become similar to a ketogenic diet for 90% of people (which maximises fat consumption and toning, transforming your physique for the better). Your increase in carbohydrates must be really necessary. Minimal or moderate fatigue is a certainty in the first week of dieting. Like all diets, the first few days are the hardest and most difficult. It will all get easier once these days are over. Get this into your heads: most diets fail because people do not have the patience for them and want results without making an effort.
The boost of carbohydrates is extremely important and determines the success of cyclical ketogenic diets over chronic ketogenic diets (which don't include a boost). The problem of these latter diets is that, in addition to being very difficult to follow), they entail a long-term loss of lean body mass.

CKDs take advantage of the highly anabolic hormone of insulin to tone the body and replenish glycogen stores, which will allow you to sustain intense efforts during the week. This phase has a maximum duration of two days, but one day may be enough for some people. It depends on you. The first few times, keep an eye on your body, and as soon as you feel that you are starting to gain weight, stop the boost and go back to eat a low amount of carbohydrates.

Do not be fooled by the scale, however. At this stage your body weight may increase significantly. Don't panic, this is due to water retention caused by the intake of carbohydrates. During these two days you will be allowed to have a pizza and a beer, or eat foods that are usually forbidden. The important thing is that once the boost is over you must go back to your normal eating routine.

Continue the diet with the right calories

Now that you have determined your carbohydrate set-point, the right boost time and (most importantly) you have shifted your metabolism towards burning fat for energy, you can continue to follow the metabolic diet day to day with the aim of getting rid of fat and toning muscles. The first month you will have had a similar intake of calories to your old diet, but now you have to modify it according to your goals. The amount of calories you need to take will vary from person to person based on several factors.

Weigh yourself regularly under the same conditions (on Friday morning before breakfast, for example) and keep a note of your progress. If you are losing weight, do not change anything and continue to consume the same amount of calories. You should try to lose about 500-900 grams per week. If you lose more than 1kg in a week that means you are also losing muscle mass, so increase your calories. If you lose less than 500 grams, consume 200-300 kcal less the following week.

You will realise something with the metabolic diet: with the metabolic diet you may find yourself consuming substantially more calories than you would on another diet and but still losing weight (or staying the same). This is probably due to the fact that the transformation of fat into glucose is not 100% efficient.

Progress

The scales are not a sign of progress. Muscle mass weighs more than fat mass. Here you may find yourself in the same weight situation as before, but you will have lost 2 kg of fat while increasing your muscles. You'll end up looking better even if the scale does not signal any progress.

In addition to weighing yourself, you should pay attention to the mirror and try keep track of body fat using special tools (such as skinfold calipers).

Rules for the Metabolic Diet

  1. Start well with a good breakfast in the morning. This is a fundamental rule, as the body needs energy to tackle an intense day. It is a mistake to skip meals, because you will be even hungrier for the next meal. As such, an ideal breakfast could consist of: yogurt, juice, tea with lemon or coffee without sugar/with a sweetener, accompanied by egg white.
  2. You need to vary your foods, and over the course of a week the body needs to absorb equal amounts of vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, low-fat cheeses and eggs. At lunch, for example, it is recommended that you eat a single dish (meat, fish, pasta or eggs) with a plate of steamed vegetables.
  3. Condiments should be used in moderation. Totally avoiding fats is wrong, and oil should be used raw in quantities of 4 to 6 teaspoons.
  4. It is good advice to only have the food and drinks allowed by the diet in your house .
  5. If you have little time to spend on cooking, stock up on frozen vegetables, stews and soups, which are quick to prepare and light.
  6. Use non-stick pans, pressure cookers and steamers, which are the best ways for limiting the use of condiments. Only use a little oil on vegetables, but be generous with the lemon juice, spices, herbs and balsamic vinegar.
  7. Yogurt is an excellent snack. Low fat is best, but it can be plain or with fruit. Other foods permitted between meals include fruit, juice, smoothies or fresh vegetables. Crackers and sweets have a concentration of fats and do not fill you up.
  8. Salt should be used with extreme moderation, and you can use herbs instead.

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