For a long time, dieting was all about cutting out specific macronutrients: go low-fat and lose weight, or cut out the carbs and you’ll lose weight faster! Those types of diet plans still exist, along with several plans that restrict the consumption of grains, legumes, or other types of foods. Recently, there have been a few diet plans that claim to work smarter instead of harder. These plans let you eat anything you want so long as you fall inside the other guidelines. For intermittent fasting, that means you can only eat during certain time periods. Metabolic confusion meal plans, on the other hand, don’t care what time of day it is, but they do specify how many calories you can consume on any given day.
If you haven’t heard of metabolic confusion plans, you might be wondering if they work or not. We took a look at how they work to see if it could be a good plan for you!
What is Metabolic Confusion?
Metabolic confusion–also called calorie confusion, calorie shifting, or calorie cycling–is a diet that shifts between high-calorie and low-calorie days. So, instead of consuming 1400 calories every day to lose weight, you would vary your calorie intake each day to “confuse” your metabolism and promote increased fat burn.
Most metabolic confusion meal plans are based around a 1200-calorie low days and a 2000 calorie high days. Some plans go even further by specifying certain days as high-carb, protein, or fat days. The idea is that, if your body’s metabolism isn’t working properly, cycling your calories and macronutrients will reset it, forcing you through a weight-loss plateau.
How Do Metabolic Confusion Meal Plans Work?
Every body is different, and consulting a nutritionist is the best way to identify your body’s specific needs. Here are a few examples of cycling schedules:
- The weekend cycle: 5 weekdays of low-calorie intake followed by the 2 weekend days of high-calorie intake.
- The 2-week cycle: 11 days of low-calorie intake followed by 3 days of high-calorie intake.
- The 1-month cycle: 3 weeks of low-calorie intake followed by 1 week of high-calorie intake.
- The day-by-day cycle: Low-calorie intake on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday and high-calorie intake on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.Should You Exercise During Metabolic Confusion Meal Plans?
The bottom line, metabolic confusion does appear to work in the short term as with most diets. However, in order to keep the weight off, it’s important to continue eating a healthy diet for life. If old eating habits are resumed, the weight will inevitably return.
Should You Exercise During Metabolic Confusion Meal Plans?
It’s always a good idea to pair a workout plan or set of exercise routines with any weight-loss plan. After all, losing weight is all about calories in, calories out, and exercise burns calories! That being said, you cannot use exercise to increase calorie intake on low-calorie days.
For metabolic confusion meal plans, it makes sense to pair intense activities with your high-calorie days. These can be HIIT routines or Tabata style workouts that burn fat quickly. On low-calorie days, we recommend lower intensity activities, like walking, yoga, or stretching routines with low-calorie days.