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Starvation mode?

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Starvation mode?

Postby SarahC » Fri Jul 11, 2008 1:13 pm

Ok, so we know that if our calorie intake drops to low, then the body goes into starvation mode, etc, etc.

My question is.... can too much excercise cause a starvation response??

Is it the low food intake that causes it? Or is it the calorie deficit that causes it??

Hope this makes sense!!! :oops:
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Re: Starvation mode?

Postby Strawberry » Fri Jul 11, 2008 1:45 pm

not sure! it'd be interesting 2 find out!
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Re: Starvation mode?

Postby EvilWombatQueen » Fri Jul 11, 2008 3:23 pm

While it's mainly calories consumed that determines if you go into starvation mode, I think it's safe to say that too big a calorie deficit due to exercise can also put you into this state. There is a lot of debate in the weight loss community about this, mind you. And I cannot find any peer reviewed journal papers that answer this question (I've only looked briefly though). But I think logic strongly suggests that whether the lack of calories comes from diet or exercise it's still going to cause the same effect on the body.

I guess the question is does the body know where its calories are coming from? I'd say no. A calorie is a calorie and whether you create a deficit through not eating that calorie or through burning it through exercise doesn't matter. If you create a dangerous deficit it leaves the body with too few calories to keep its metabolism at a healthy rate regardless of what caused the deficit in the first place. As an extreme example of the maths involved, if you eat 1500 calories per day then somehow burn 1500 calories per day through exercise after a month or so your body isn't going to care that you are regularly eating a healthy number of calories in the first place, its just going to notice rather fatally that you have no calories left over to allow the organs to function!

The amount of calories needed before you go into starvation mode varies from person to person because everyone's metabolism varies and this can be dependent on what weight you are at the moment. It's best to use a resource like Calorie King to find out what your recommended daily calories are for your height and weight.
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Re: Starvation mode?

Postby SarahC » Sun Jul 13, 2008 10:51 pm

Thanks Ali, that's kind of what I was thinking. But then I was also thinking... doesn't excercise increase your metabolic rate? :? So, even if you had a very aggressive calorie deficit, the excercise would be helping to keep your metabolism up. That's the bit that confuses me.
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Re: Starvation mode?

Postby EvilWombatQueen » Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:13 am

Yes... and no. Cardio will definitely increase your metabolism while you are exercising and for a short time afterwards. However your resting metabolism would still be screwed up by starvation mode and by a lessening of your muscle bulk. (Starvation mode flicks a switch with your metabolism in order to conserve fat. So it starts consuming muscle as an energy source at a much faster rate than it would do normally.) During additional exercise you'd be consuming muscle even more than while resting. So while you would still burn calories and most likely still lose weight you would be consuming more muscle than fat. And the irony is your metabolism would be faster if you were eating a healthy diet rather than starving yourself, so you'd burn less calories than normal in this hypothetical situation.

A good example is the Minnesota Starvation Experiment. Not only did they restrict the subjects' calories for the duration of the experiment, they also made them do daily exercise. They kept losing weight but towards the end of the experiment a great deal of that weight was muscle instead of just fat and the rate of weight loss was much slower, even when they had their calories dropped again. Two participants stopped losing weight altogether and were suspected of cheating and eating extra food, but it was most likely that their metabolism was completely screwed up or they were retaining a hell of a lot of water because their system was under such stress.

So the idea that you stop losing weight while in starvation mode is largely incorrect. However it's important to remember that starvation mode will actually make you lose weight at a slower rate than if you ate more and had a calorie deficit of only 500 to 1000 calories below your recommended maintenance level (the number of calories needed to maintain your current weight).
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Re: Starvation mode?

Postby PenM » Thu Jul 24, 2008 7:00 pm

SarahC wrote:Ok, so we know that if our calorie intake drops to low, then the body goes into starvation mode, etc, etc.

My question is.... can too much excercise cause a starvation response??

Is it the low food intake that causes it? Or is it the calorie deficit that causes it??

Hope this makes sense!!! :oops:

Carb deficit might affect it but exercise only affect your sense to drink water.
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Re: Starvation mode?

Postby sunshine » Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:13 pm

Umm, since I love food, I don't think I have ever been in starvation mode :mrgreen:
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Re: Starvation mode?

Postby SarahC » Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:16 pm

I love food too, and I eat and eat and eat waaaaaayyyyyy tooo much of it. Damn food :evil:

What I'm trying to say is that my deficit (and potential starvation mode) has been created by excessive excercise, as I can burn through anywhere up to 1500 cals a day :shock: . Well on a good day that is, not today, I'm stuffed!!!
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Re: Starvation mode?

Postby Strawberry » Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:45 pm

SarahC wrote:I love food too, and I eat and eat and eat waaaaaayyyyyy tooo much of it. Damn food :evil:

What I'm trying to say is that my deficit (and potential starvation mode) has been created by excessive excercise, as I can burn through anywhere up to 1500 cals a day :shock: . Well on a good day that is, not today, I'm stuffed!!!

that's a lot of calories 2 b burning.
i've read with exercise u should burn 500 cals & make up the other 500 cal deficit with food.
how many cals do u eat? if u eat 1500 & burn 1500 there is nothing there 4 ur body 2 work with i would assume that's why its holding onto whatever fat stores u have.
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