Resistance to slimming: adaptation or illusion?

Lancet. 1975 Apr 5;1(7910):773-5. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(75)92437-x.


Twenty-nine women who claimed that they could not lose weight on prescribed diets were isolated in a country house and fed 1500 kcal. per day for 3 weeks. Nine women maintained weight within plus or minus 1 kg. and were characterised by low basal (B.M.R.) and daily metabolic rates and by a long previous history of dieting. The remaining women did lose weight, but there was much individual variation. B.M.R. is a good indicator of probable weight loss as a result of dieting. In the group as a whole it was more closely related to body fat than to lean body mass. It was also related to fat-cell number as determined by biopsy, but not to fat-cell size. These findings suggest that among a group of would-be slimmers who claim to be unable to lose weight there will be some who have become metabolically adapted to a low-energy diet and others whose inability to lose weight is illusory.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Adipose Tissue / pathology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Basal Metabolism
  • Biopsy
  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Diet, Reducing*
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Physical Exertion
  • Rest
  • Skinfold Thickness
  • Time Factors