Why Fasting for Weight Loss May Work Against Your Brain


A popular diet trend is to start a diet off with a fast or some sort of cleanse. One of the more popular features of the SlimXpress diet is that dieters begin treatment, not with a fast, but with two days of “loading” (eg. eating to your heart’s content) before starting the low calorie diet. While we’ve witnessed the benefits of this system of dieting first hand, it turns out there is some neuroscience to back this up, according to a University of Illinois study. 

“When obese persons reduce their food intake too drastically, their bodies appear to resist their weight loss efforts. They may have to work harder and go slower in order to outsmart their brain chemistry,” said Gregory G. Freund, a professor in the U of I College of Medicine and a member of U of I’s Division of Nutritional Sciences.

He particularly cautions against beginning a diet with a fast or cleansing day, which appears to trigger significant alterations in the immune system that work against weight loss. “Take smaller steps to start your weight loss and keep it going,” he said.

The researches also studied differences in the mice’s behavior and came to the conclusion that the sudden change in diet could adversely affect their mood.

“The obese mice simply didn’t move as much as the other mice. Not only was there reduced locomotion generally, they didn’t burrow in the way that mice normally do, and that’s associated with depression and anxiety,”

Freund also noted that beginning a weight-loss program in a depressed frame of mind and with decreased motivation doesn’t bode well for the diet’s success.


To Read More, See: Obese dieters’ brain chemistry works against their weight-loss efforts | EurekaAlert!

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