Metabolic Damage Myth And Why You Gain Weight

There are a lot of nutritional myths out there and one of them is metabolic damage.

During my 6-year journey as a high-carb raw vegan and a health coach, I’ve assisted people who have actually gained weight on a low-fat raw vegan or raw till 4 diet.

Here is my video about it:

Some promoters in this niche will try to convince other people that it is due to “metabolic damage”. But is this true and is there any science to back up this claim?

What exactly is metabolic damage?

Let’s say you went through a period of severely restricting your calories or you suffered from bulimia or anorexia in the past.

Now you are “packing in” lots of calories … and you are beginning to gain weight.

So according to some people, this is because your metabolism was damaged and your body will naturally gain weight for a period of time, after which it will eventually release it once your metabolism has healed.

However, what can happen in reality is that you might gain extra weight (if you eat more than you need) and then keep it on.

And it’s nothing to do with damaged metabolism. In fact, there is no such thing as metabolic damage.

A study done in 1997 showed that hospitalized anorexic patients BMR’s increased significantly within just the first 2 weeks of re-feeding, which of course should not happen according to the metabolic damage theory. (1)

If it is not damaged metabolism that leads to weight gain, then what does?

The answer is very simple – eating more calories than your body needs.

This video debunks the metabolic damage myth and explains how to get slim on a high-fruit raw or high raw lifestyle.

What are your thoughts and experiences regarding the so called metabolic damage? Please post your comments below!




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34 thoughts on “Metabolic Damage Myth And Why You Gain Weight


    disagree? you’re banned!

  •   Aistė Krištopaitytė  |   

    How we can know how many calories do we need?If I do listen my body I am
    eating too little.Or we need to listen our body?:)thank you

  •   Elisabetta Fruiggivoria  |   

    I do best on 1800 to 2000 calories a day. You are the one who made me feel
    ok with that. Thank you!

  •   Cooked Vegan Fitness  |   

    I agree with Freelee on many things but there is no metabolic damage. I
    switched from junk food vegan who was calorie restricting to plant based in
    Febuary 2015 and I did not experience any weight gain. I have steadily been
    losing weight. Calories in, calories out is an accurate summation of how
    weight gain works, but carbs are better for weight loss than fatty foods,
    as carbs are better utilized to power the body than fats. Fats are more
    easily deposited into adipose tissue and stored away. So, bottom line is,
    keep the fat low and the plant based carbs high and you will see good
    results in about a month or so. Don’t over eat; eat till satiation. And
    most importantly, exercise at least 5 days a week for an hour.

  •   Northern Star  |   

    Thisgirlaudra is saying the following: “if you’ve restricted and/or
    over-exercised you’re set up for metabolic issues. You need to refeed your
    body and let your body heal. The last thing you need to be doing is trying
    to lose weight again, bc that’s just going to lead right back to where you
    just came from. It takes TIME. If you haven’t had restrictive, purging,
    over-exercise issues and you were just “normal” before yet now you’re
    following a bunch of rules and gaining weight, you’re most likely eating
    too much. Simple as that. Going from 1800 to 2700 overnight = weight gain
    (if not off set by exercise). I hope that clears it up. Again, it is an
    INDIVIDUAL thing..”

    So the point is: If you come from an eating disorder or severe restriction,
    you have to gain weight and it takes time because your body doesn’t trust
    you anymore. But eventually, it’ll come off. You didn’t point this out.
    Coming from anorexia, you HAVE to stuff yourself with thousands of calories
    to repair all the damage done (e.g. the hormones, organ tissues, muscles
    etc.) and your body will hold onto anything because it fears the next
    famine. I experienced it myself.

  •   Ana-Maria Georgieva  |   

    Well, I am a dancer and exercise a lot. However, I come from calorie
    restriction and ever since I started hclf -still not exceeding 2000, 25000
    I gained 10 pounds. I don`t know what is it but I never overfeed myself.

  •   Charlotte Watson  |   

    I gained weight on 800 calories when recovering from a restrictive eating
    disorder. It wasn’t because I was ‘eating too much’, it was because my body
    was clinging onto everything it had to survive. I continued to increase my
    intake and now I maintain on 2500 calories as a 5 foot 1 woman. Metabolic
    damage DOES exist!

  •   Charise S.  |   

    AWESOME video Yulia! You look so happy to be home! One love from So Cal! <3

  •   Ernie Blenkinsop  |   

    Eating unnatural rubbish damages you and leads to the many chronic
    illnesses which are plaguing the western world. So you can’t say metabolic
    damage doesn’t exist and doesn’t need to be healed, that is not true.
    Whether it helps to overfeed while healing (and learning to find your
    balance) is debatable, but it is better than underfeeding that is for sure.

  •   ObamaoZedong  |   

    It may only take two weeks like the study says to gain the weight back, but
    that doesn’t mean their metabolism is healed at that two week period. It’s
    just the beginning of their road to recovery. Your method works for people
    who want immediate results, and are willing to pay the price of stagnation.
    If you want to constantly push your fitness boundaries, then you need to
    keep stuffing in the carbs and wait for your body to catch up. Taking the
    easy road doesn’t make you a bad person. You just need to be aware of the

  •   Catherine Hebert  |   

    Metabolic damage does exist. Jean Antonello, who is a nurse, has studied
    disordered eating extensively, and she is also a clinician. When people
    diet to lose weight, their metabolic rate does decrease. She has documented
    this. The solution is to get off the feast-famine cycle. (The famine is the
    dieting and the feast is the make-up eating you do because you let yourself
    get too hungry.) The way to do this is to eat enough when you are hungry.
    This is the last “feast,” and until the body is sure that it is going to
    consistently get enough calories, it will store food as fat, which very
    well may result in (temporary) weight gain. What Jean Antonello describes
    in her books is the same as what Freelee describes. Jean Antonello’s books
    are “How to Become Naturally Thin by Eating More,” “Breaking Out of Food
    Jail” and “Naturally Thin Kids.”

  •   Michele Renee  |   

    Timely video. I often hear this term when reading about diabetes and often
    they recommend high protein and fats with plenty of exercise and no sugar
    to recover.

  •   Mike On Raw  |   

    Please understand that part of the claim of Metabolic Damage is adaptive
    thermogenisis. This is something that for some people will cause their
    body to want to store fat more than someone that doesn’t have adaptive
    thermogenisis. Even working harder to store carbs as fat than normal. This
    happens to everyone starving themselves. And this stays with some people
    as they re-feed, and doesn’t stay with others as the re-feed.
    This study from 2010 explains this generally and discusses why the other
    studies that say adaptive thermogenisis stops immediate after re-feeding,
    and they may be wrong.

  •   MsFancypants9  |   

    It’s nice to hear another vegan’s point of view on this 🙂 Spasibo!

  •   TitusLivy777  |   

    So sensible! It would be wonderful if we could eat without limit on a
    high carb, vegan diet…but it is a scientific fact that calories really
    do count. Thanks for saying so!

  •   Brooke Fraser  |   

    Sorry but its rude telling people that their experiences are a “myth.” I
    gained 10 kg from eating under 2000 calories per day after recovering from
    an eating disorder. Metabolic damage is real and has plenty of scientific
    backing, our bodies have developed a response to starvation to protect
    ourselves during times of famine. It is an evolutionary trait which
    developed to help us survive and is not a “myth.”

  •   Benedetta Gozzi  |   

    Loved it! soooo true!!! I love your videos Yulia and you all look so

  •   Mike On Raw  |   

    Also, I assume you are aware, though I didn’t hear it said. There are a
    number of people, particularly those with eating disorders that are not in
    mental position to be able to sense what their body needs because they are
    already making incorrect decisions.

  •   Treestandsafety  |   

    Too vague..what, you think all calories are equally gonna make you gain
    weight? Pleas be more specific, more analytical, stop feeding the calorie
    restricters the wrong info?

  •   Bode Brooks  |   

    Great video

  •   LadyWoodoak  |   

    I fell for the metobolic damage lie even though I had never dieted or
    restricted calories in the past but was lead to believe that my body needed
    healing. After 3 years eating 2500-3000 calories on a plant based diet I
    had put on so much weight that I was considered 30lb over healthy weight.
    So I decided to switch to 1800-2000 calories a day and the weight came off
    easily, I felt satisfied with my calorie consumption and it even improved
    my sleep 🙂

  •   Valentina Borisenko  |   

    Thank you for this video! My experience is… when i fasted or
    coconut-water-fasted i lost weight, BUT… after that i gained so much
    weight… from 43 kg to 55 kg. I was bigger than ever… So it seems like
    it’s real metabolic damage. And i need a time to understand if i can heal
    it by eating a lot of carbs. I always want to eat fats, that’s why i can’t
    do “carbohydrates thing” for long enough…

  •   lindsay berman  |   

    i totally agree! i found cramming in the carbs causes weight gain… raw or
    cooked. over eating causing weight gain. i experienced it. i can eat more
    calories in raw than cooked though. so i believe in eating to your bodys
    needs as well. and sometimes we dont digest all calories equal.

  •   Tallie Allen  |   

    I also heard about Met. Damage from doing various forms of fasting.

  •   Rosa Mart  |   

    Hi.your channel is very useful.Where are you originally from?

  •   Jillian Walmsley  |   

    Great video, Yulia! More and more I’ve been watching videos about eating
    according to my body’s needs, which was the direction I’ve been tending.
    At first, I thought I was wrong, and was leaning toward calorie
    restriction, but the more I find out, the more I believe I’m on the right

  •   Kwame Lawson  |   

    Hi Yulia! This is Aimee in Washington DC! Greetings! I really appreciate
    you speaking about the issue of weight gain eating high carb vegan! This
    has been very helpful to me. Among the variety of YouTube “broadcasters” I
    really do relate best to you and Paul because you are clearly kind,
    cheerful, well-intentioned people. I find it very questionable when other
    promoters of this lifestyle are forever swearing and focussing upon
    sensationalist images and conversations. I also have followed your
    childbirth and mothering experience and as a mum of three young ones I am
    so pleased about you promoting attachment parenting and raw veganism for
    pregnant women and young children! yay!! I became a vegan several years ago
    because I simply felt poorly and had low energy following the birth of my
    second and third child (14 mos. apart). I lost weight and was so happy
    about that. I educated myself about super foods and supplements and cleaned
    up my diet quite a bit, leaving behind gluten, alcohol and of course meat
    and dairy. This was a low- carb diet, but I was not aware of that at the
    time…I was just aiming for clean and vegan foods. Well, I was exhausted
    and was plagued with candida that would not go away or normalize. After
    catching wind quite by chance of the 80-10-10 lifestyle I ignored my
    naturopathic doctors advice to avoid fruit, and cured my candida by cutting
    out fat and going to LOTs of FRUIT!!! I felt instantly revived and my
    candida has not returned since. I currently follow raw til 4, but did spend
    last summer challenging myself to be all raw. All during the year since
    last summer I have put on loads of weight, about 15-20 lbs!! At 145lbs and
    5’7” I do feel so discouraged about how I managed to heal my low energy,
    candida and also low thyroid and adrenal fatigue, but now I am not enjoying
    the slender figure I had on my low carb vegan “exhaustion” diet!! I was
    very much tempted to believe in the idea that I had metabolic damage from
    perhaps under eating since being vegan and that my body was going to take
    ages to slim down. I do exercise moderately but often do not have private
    time for myself given that I am caring for a large family. I plan to eat
    more intuitively, stop when I am satiated and kick up my exercise levels
    and see how it goes! Thanks again! I would love to be in touch with you
    all! Aimee

  •   Vegirous Deema  |   

    Metabolic damage is real but it’s nowhere near what Freelee says it is.
    It’s also easily reversible but it does take some time and effort (not
    years though). Some people do gain weight but they don’t need to gain so
    much weight to heal their metabolism. Doctors like Alan Goldhamer have
    stated that insignificant weight gain on a healthy diet is possible. Eating
    so much can cause dangerous side effects like raised cholesterol and
    triglyceride levels. If you’re eating until you’re satiated no matter how
    many calories that amounts to then you’re doing what’s right for you.
    Damaging your metabolism will occur when you eat 40% less of your daily
    caloric needs. There is no point in eating so many calories when you’re not
    going to burn them off and you’re just stuffing yourself. Force-feeding
    yourself is both physically and emotionally damaging. So break free from
    all the dogma and do your won research, people.

  •   Lee Sybrant  |   

    Thank u Yulia! Love u guys 🙂

  •   Samara V Hamilton  |   

    It’s true that, basically, calories in/calories out is the basic
    computation for weight loss or gain, however: 1. exercise both burns
    calories and raises metabolism, 2. raw foods require more energy to be
    expended to digest, and 3. a high fat diet puts stress on the liver, which
    is the organ that converts nutrients for use, converts fat into energy, and
    converts T4 to T3, which is the active form of thyroid hormone. There are
    lots of factors (even more than those listed above), and the amount of
    nutrients in the foods we eat is a huge factor on how well we can utilize
    them. So there is something to eating low fat, high carb, and being able to
    pretty much what you want if it’s a good percentage of raw food especially,
    and you incorporate regular exercise.

  •   linda estep  |   

    Very good video -thank you!!

  •   miknter26  |   

    Very useful thank you

  •   Katherine Hewitt  |   

    i like how you didnt feel the need to mention WHO is spreading the lies.
    its a peaceful approach. HOWEVER i dont condone those who do call them out,
    as i also think people should know where the lies are coming from….

  •   goatstaog  |   

    You are not 100% Raw . Do you claim this?

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