Sportvasten? Don’t believe the hype!

By Bryan Wolters

Recently hyped in the Netherlands is sportvasten, a short-burst method that presumably teaches the body to use fat instead of sugar as fuel by introducing a period of combined fasting and exercise. In a total period of only ten days, one will go through reducing food intake, fasting, and subsequently rebuilding caloric intake. This method results in rapid weight loss and presumably also in long term positive adaptations of the body. Is this true? Is it as good as the creators say it is?

 

Time for diet slimming weight loss. Health care healthy lifestyle. Fit fitness woman with a lot of colorful measure tapes. Girl showing stop hand sign gesture.

Reports claim a ten day average weight loss of four to six kilos in men, and two to four kilos in women. Who wouldn’t want that, right? Sign us up! Hold on… Although such an amount of weight loss might seem impressive at first sight, the make-up of this weight loss should be considered. Of course you will burn some fat, like when doing any diet that restricts your caloric intake, but how much of this weight loss is truly comprised of fat? Due to extreme caloric restriction during the fasting period, the body is deprived of glycogen – an energy source that binds a lot of water. So what happens is that your body disposes of many of its storages. Not only will you lose weight by plain emptying your stomach and intestines, but your muscles also deplete together with your water storage, an effect that can easily account for over two kilos of body weight loss by itself. What does the rest of the weight loss comprise of? Well, due to the extreme restriction in calories (and protein), the body is bound to break down muscle tissue in order to supply energy needs. What you end up doing in this process is losing muscle, losing a little bit of fat and losing a lot of water – which you will suck back up quicker than a dehydrated SpongeBob as soon as you return to a normal lifestyle.

 

What about the reported performance increases? These are highly debatable due to the experimental design, because a learning effect is to be expected. What basically happens in studies of this nature is that participants perform better during the second measurement because they simply have more experience at performing the test. Another issue is that the reported improvements in performance are measured in maximum oxygen uptake – a value that is casino online normalized for bodyweight. Due to the acute weight loss of the participants, it is obvious that this value would be temporarily heightened, but it should be clear that this doesn’t mean the participants were cycling any faster. Add these findings up to the loss of muscle mass, and what you have is a guaranteed performance decrease, highly unwanted for anyone who is interested in increasing athletic performance or who the way their body looks.

 

What can you expect when engaging in a sportvasten program? Acute weight loss and a firm rebound afterwards. Some success stories can be found on the internet, but they.

Portrait sad young woman tired of diet restrictions craving sweets chocolate isolated on gray wall background. Human face expression emotion. Nutrition concept. Feelings of guilt

mostly consider untrained individuals, and they forget to mention the heavy sugar cravings that people get after completing the cycle. What about the research? There is none, or at least none to be taken serious. The study that is used to validate the method is not peer reviewed, which means that any form of objectivity or transparency is absent. This basically means that the writers could have written anything they want!
Our verdict? 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