This week we’re going back in time with more of a narrative than actual recommendations. But, for a very good reason as we’re looking at some invaluable history of dieting from one landmark study that answered so many questions;
During World War II, 36 willing men of a healthy bodyweight participated in a study to gain insight into the physiological and psychological effects of starvation and the implications of refeeding to better help those who had been starved during the war.
Knowing that they were making a huge contribution and laying down potential recommendations for many starved civilians during their postwar rehabilitation, they got cracking. Once given the go ahead, the 12 month study was broken down into 3 phases;
I.e. fully grown healthy men were weighing in at 45-55kg to resemble the famine victims. Pretty small! During this period, they experienced;
In addition to this, 2 participants struggled to the extent of needing to steal food and eating from garbage cans. This stress bordered on psychoses; violence and hysteria.
They also saw that their; BMR reduced by ~40%., heart rate reducing from 55-35 BPM with a reduction in cardiac output.
3 months after recovery, participants felt like they still hadn’t recovered even when consuming up to 4,158kcal/day. Fat gain was rapid where muscle gain was far slower with a large and continued desire to eat when stuffed.
After the 3 month period, they were finally allowed to freely eat, meaning that their average calorie intake shot up further to 5,212kcal/day. After 8 solid weeks following an eat-sleep-eat cycle, they returned to ‘normal’. Albeit much fatter than when they first started.
And this my friends, is not how you diet.
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