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Obesity and Weight Management

Starvation mode?

01/19/2007

Question:

at what point does my body go into starvation mode?

Answer:

When you are consuming very little to no calories, you body goes into starvation mode. There is really no clear cut answer as to exactly when the body goes into "starvation mode", since this is a gradual process, and it varies from person to person due to differences in metabolism.

Stored glycogen, the storage form of carbohydrate in our body, is the primary fuel source in early starvation, and is depleted in about 24 hours. Your body then begins to use lean tissue or muscle to keep it functioning. This directly leads to a loss of muscle, which in turn lowers metabolic rate so that the body needs fewer calories and weight loss slows down.

It is important when dieting to eat an adequate amount of calories to prevent your body from entering into starvation mode, so that your body is burning fat and not muscle.

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Response by:

Jaime  Ackerman Foster, MPH, RD, LD Jaime Ackerman Foster, MPH, RD, LD
Formerly,
Extension Nutrition Associate
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University