How Dieting Evolved To Make Us Fatter

Standing face-to-face with an unrelenting obesity epidemic, in a world filled with the promise of a one-size-cures-all diet, only now are we beginning to ask whether dieting for weight loss is the answer. We are all familiar with the concept of “calories in calories out,” that weight loss is a simple matter of tipping the equation toward a calorie deficit. This idea appeals to us because it’s so simple. But for too long now, this traditional, short-sighted, calorie restricting approach to dieting has been blindly accepted as the most effective. Strangely enough, no one talks about what it actually means to spend your life in a state of caloric deficit. Why would you when calories are an omnipresent evil, hidden in every single bite of everything you wish to eat?

Weight Loss & Fat-Overshooting

Losing weight can be explained very simply, as it follows the laws of physics that govern our world (and our bodies). The longer you remain in a state of caloric deficit, the more weight you will lose. Your body can only create energy from the fuel that you put into it or from the fuel sources that it has stored away. However, as we dive deeper into the physiology of dieting, we start approaching the idea that weight is not the problem.

An Evolutionary Explanation of Fat-Overshooting

After prolonged calorie restriction, your body’s memory of its fat stores and lean mass drives signalling for hunger and appetite. When you inevitably give in, the process of fat-overshooting begins.

Is Dieting Really Worth It?

Before starting any sort of calorie restricting intervention, people need to be fully informed about the lack of long-term dieting success and the potentially demoralising effects of fat-overshooting. With so many promises of “rapid weight loss” and “getting the body you want overnight,” the multi-billion dollar dieting industry should always be viewed in a skeptical light. At the heart of the obesity epidemic is a lack of education about how our body responds to dieting, a failure to let go of the battle with body weight, and an unforgiving dieting industry that may never truly appreciate ‘Health At Every Size.’


[1] Weight Science: Evaluating the Evidence for a Paradigm Shift.

Using my experience in research and science communication, I aim to help people make better informed health decisions.

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