The Fast Metabolism Diet: Should You Try It?
When people want to lose weight, they are often tempted by diets that promise quick results. For this reason, if you stick the word “fast” in the name of the diet, it’s bound to get the attention of folks. This brings us to the so-called Fast Metabolism Diet.
Although it’s actually been around for almost a decade, the Fast Metabolism Diet gained widespread attention in the summer of 2018 when actress Angela Bassett praised it for helping her slim down. The diet was first published in 2013 by celebrity wellness guru Haylie Pomroy.
It’s yet another one of those diets that makes you go through various eating phases. In this particular case, you work on a 28-day plan in which you rotate through three multi-day phases — one that is high-protein, another that is high complex carbs, and the third that is high-fat.
Throughout the 28-day diet, there are certain things that are never on the table, namely: caffeine, alcohol, soy, corn, fruit juice, refined sugar, dairy, nitrates (like the ones found in processed meats), wheat, and dried fruit.
The diet calls for eating five mini meals per day — the first within 30 minutes of waking up and then the rest every 3 to 4 hours. You also need to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water per day, thus if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink around 75 ounces, or slightly more than 9 cups. Of course, you can also buy these “metabolism boosting” supplements because they are going to want to make as much money off of you as possible.
As for those three phases, here are the details:
This is the complex carbs phase, meaning you’ll eat legumes, whole grains, and high-glycemic fruits such as pineapples and bananas. Pomroy claims this phase of the diet relieves stress because of course she does.
You’ll also get your fill of proteins during this phase, although you will avoid all fats. Finally, your exercises should be cardio-based, with the energy coming from those sugary fruits.
On to the second phase, in which you will supposedly “unlock stored fat” by including more proteins and fewer carbs. Leafy greens will also be introduced. According to Pomroy, the extra veggies help balance out meat consumption.
In regards to physical activities, these will be the days in which you do strength training through lifting weights.
Now we’ve reached the third phase. Here, Pomroy says you’ll kick your metabolism into high gear by adding healthy fats along with a moderate amount of carbs and proteins.
Your fitness routine during this phase can include meditation and/or yoga.
If you’re looking for short-term results, you will probably lose weight. But according to Abby Langer, an actual licensed dietitian based in Toronto, it’s not because this diet contains magical properties — the change in eating habits means you’re consuming fewer calories, which is going to have an effect.
Rotating through these three phases probably won’t make a difference. Claims that the diet “surprises the metabolism” and “keeps it guessing” as if it were sentient has no scientific foundation.
You should also pass on those supplements. The truth is, if you’re eating a balanced diet anyway, you are already getting nutrients like Vitamin B which boost metabolism.
One final red flag is the claim that this diet will help you lose 20 pounds in 28 days. First, according to the CDC, people who lose weight gradually and steadily (around one or two pounds a week) are more likely to maintain a healthy weight. In other words, losing weight quickly is neither a good idea nor will it result in long-term success.
Langer concedes that the Fast Metabolism Diet isn’t necessarily dangerous by itself, but has the potential to cause other issues such as making people develop an irrational fear of food or other eating disorders. So it’s probably best to discuss dietary options with a doctor or actual dietitian rather than trust a fad diet.