Want to drop up to two, four or even five pounds a week? Advocates of the 2468 Diet–a diet sensationalized by pro-anorexia websites–claim it’s possible by following their diet. Health experts warn dieters that the 2468 Diet doesn’t work for long-term weight loss, however, and may damage your metabolism.
How does the 2468 Diet Work?
Here’s how the 2468 Diet works: by altering your caloric intake by 200 calories each day, you can supposedly ‘trick’ your body into increasing your metabolism, resulting in dramatic weight loss. The 2468 stands for the amount of calories you consume each day, starting at 200 calories and ending at 800 calories.
They recommend repeating the process until you achieve your desired weight, and it’s not uncommon to see dieters following the 2468 diet for up to six months.
Proponents of the 2468 Diet say that varying the calories you consume increases your metabolism, which in turn helps burn off more fat and weight. Health experts say this actually can decrease your metabolism, however, contributing to fat gain.
Why the 2468 Diet Doesn’t Work
There’s a reason why nutritionists don’t recommend the 2468 Diet–it’s a starvation diet. According to Mary Hartley, R.D., a nutritionist for About.com, starvation can “burn your muscles for energy, reduce your calorie requirements, and develop nutritional deficiencies that produce bone loss, amenorrhea (no period), constipation or diarrhea, rashes, and other medical problems.”
Starvation can also cause sudden emotional disturbances, including insomnia, depression, sudden changes in mood and irritability.
Putting your body into starvation mode, defined as eating 1000 calories or less, also decreases your metabolism. According to a study reported in The Biology of Human Starvation, men who followed a starvation diet for nearly six months showed a BMR (basal metabolic rate) decrease by 40 percent.
A man who maintained his weight with 1700 calories, for example, would have to eat nearly 700 less calories to maintain his weight. For some men, it took anywhere from six months to two years for their BMR to normalize.
Numerous studies show that long-term starvation also causes the body to hold onto fat stores–an energy source–as long as people continues to diet. They also gained weight more rapidly after eating normally, which did not normalize for months after cessation of the diet.
Bottom line: The 2468 Diet doesn’t work because it won’t help you lose body fat in the long run. It may actually contribute to fat and weight gain.
Mary Hartley, R.D., “What are the negative effects of starvation?” (About.com)
“Starvation and behavior” (JoyProject.org)