Layne Norton’s Metabolic Damage? I don’t believe in it. There is zero logic behind the metabolic damage theory.

What is “metabolic damage” according to Dr. Layne Norton?

According to the video log of Dr. Layne Norton, he believes that low-calorie diets can slow down your metabolism to the point where you are actually gaining weight on diets under 1000 calories.

Cool, but in what universe?

Nature says it’s not possible.

There are natural laws which appear to be 100% unchangeable by us, the mortals. Can you stop the Sun from rising? Can you stop the rain? Can you live without eating? No. It’s impossible.


There is a system of interconnected natural laws that could qualify as cold and ruthless Gods on Earth. One of those laws says that nothing in nature can be lost. Material things may change their state, but they don’t just disappear into the nothingness. This is one of the few things that I remember from balancing chemical equations in school.

The most popular example of how matter changes its state without actually disappearing would be the cycle of water.

In the video above, Dr. Layne Norton says that fat loss is not a mathematical equation. In my experience, however, it’s exactly that – a mathematical equation. You have to consume fewer calories than you burn if you want to lose weight.

Regardless of who you are, the only way to lose fat is to create a caloric deficit. You can’t cheat nature.

Extreme dieting is unhealthy, but concluding that the human metabolism shuts down to the point where 800-900 calories cause weight gain, sometimes even with additional cardio, seems a little insulting to the population over 10 years of age. It’s impossible not to lose fat on a similar regime.

Even if you wanted to, you can’t gain weight in the form of fat when you are only eating 800-900 calories a day unless you are a house cat. Even small women will lose weight on 800 calories.

There’s enough evidence showing that people on low calories lose weight. There has been a sufficient amount of examples throughout the history of the human race which reveal exactly that. Unfortunately, this trend continues to this very day.

For example, prisoners of war would shrink down to 95lbs as a result of extreme calorie deprivation. If Norton’s theory is correct, those guys should eventually start gaining weight by eating a small bowl of rice a day.

You can’t turn nothing into something. The energy responsible for the weight gain must come from somewhere. When you are eating 800 calories, you will be in a caloric deficit until you become very light.

Lyle McDonald says it’s water weight

According to Lyle McDonald, the extra weight gained on a super low-calorie diet is water weight that the body holds in an attempt to compensate. I am not a scientist, but this certainly makes much more sense than gaining fat when you are barely eating and doing tons of cardio.

In addition, there are reports showing that people who have been on starvation diets tend to lose weight overnight after consumption of a high-calorie meal. The lost weight is, of course, water.

My experience with low-calorie diets

I have followed my fair share of low-calorie diets. Actually, I spent the last 8 weeks dieting, which is what shifted my attention to Layne Norton’s video. I lost about 9 kilos or 19lbs in those 8 weeks.

The mathematical equation worked for me. I simply reduced my meals to 1-2 and started dropping weight every week. My calorie intake was pretty low – less than 1500 calories most of the time. I didn’t gain weight while I was in a deficit.

I don’t believe in reverse dieting or metabolic damage. The hardest part after a diet is learning to live with your lower caloric requirements. You don’t need less because your metabolism is slow. You need less because you are smaller.

It’s just no practical…

Dr. Layne Norton suggests that one could repair a damaged metabolism by slowly adding as little as a few carbs to the regular diet every week. I am sorry, but that’s just insane.

Can you explain to me why anyone would monitor every single bite to the point where a few weekly carbs can be tracked? Oh, wait. Don’t explain anything. Save it for your doctors in the mad house.

In conclusion

I don’t see how the metabolic damage theory can be true. I don’t think there are naturals laws that would allow the extreme form described by Dr. Layne Norton to exist.

2 comments

  1. Sa92

    You mentioned in your post that you’re not a scientist. Leave science to scientists. There are plenty of processes that your body carries out on a daily basis which can and will become less calorie consumptive in times of need. To keep it very basic for you, we’ll use heart rates as an example. In cases of severe calorie restriction (what the body perceives as starvation) the heart rate drops (bradycardia is the science term for you), as this happens less calories are expended in pumping the heart. This can happen with most body processes, calories are in short apply so the metabolism adjusts so that you can survive. You may continue to lose or maintain weight whilst on low calories, but as soon as you bump them up to a slightly sub-normal level, you will put on weight because your body continues to think it’s in a deficit. Increasing your calories slowly will allow the body to adapt to the increase and those metabolic processes will increase over time. Please don’t feel the need to write any more blog posts, ignorant people shouldn’t attempt to inspire the blind.

    1. garry

      Yeah calorie restriction does cause a decrease in BMR. But it can’t get that low that you gain weight on 1000 calorie diet. I have followed low calorie diets myself with fasting 16 – 18 hours and my metabolism never slowed down. You don’t need to be a scientist to understand basic science.

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