“There are always different diet fads,” pointed out Atlanta-based Melissa Majumdar, licensed dietician nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Media spokeswoman, “and reverse dieting is just one on social media right now.”
Sciencealert.com in late August explained the overall philosophy of reverse dieting: “In simple terms, it’s a controlled and gradual way of increasing from a low-calorie weight-loss eating plan back to your more ‘normal’ pre-diet way of eating. The idea with reverse dieting is that gradually increasing calorie intake following a deficit will allow your body and your metabolism to ‘adjust’ so that you can avoid weight regain while eating more.”
However, Majumdar said — and the sciencealert.com report concurs — no scientific evidence exists that reverse dieting assists in weight loss.
“People want to find the next best diet,” she said, “but for those people trying to lose weight, this isn’t it.”
Majumdar expressed that reverse dieting may help some people feel better because if carbohydrates, for example, are lacking in an individual’s diet, adding them may result in the benefit of increased energy.
“People think dieting is all about restrict, restrict, restrict, but everybody is different and some people need to look closely at what their individual body might need,” she said. “Carbs, for example, are a preferred source of fuel. So someone might need to be in tune to their energy level and determine where their calories are coming from and what their energy level needs are.”
In general, Majumdar and many dieticians and nutritionists recommend the American Heart Association’s foundational diet which, like the popular Mediterranean diet, limits saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, red meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages, and encourages a range of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, as well as skinless poultry and fish.
“When trying to lose weight, it’s not always about the latest fad or about calories in and calories out,” added Majumdar. “People who struggle with weight loss may need a specialist to help them adjust their thinking and lifestyle, because things like stress, sleep, medications and exercise sometimes factor in as much as food.”