Unlike diets that involve food restriction, proponents describe IIFYM as a flexible diet that can help people lose weight without drastically changing their eating habits.
Little research has investigated the diet, so its effectiveness has not been scientifically established.
In general, many people can lose weight by eating smaller portions, choosing less energy-dense foods, and increasing their physical activity. This does not have to occur as part of a dietary fad.
In this article, we describe how to follow the IIFYM diet and include potential benefits and risks.
What is the IIFYM diet?
The IIFYM diet hinges on the idea that eating fewer calories than the body requires — while still consuming enough protein, carbs, and fats — results in weight loss at a steady and predictable rate.
People following the IIFYM diet keep track of these three macronutrients:
The diet groups fiber with carbohydrates.
A person can consume these macronutrients in varying combinations, as long as the amounts do not exceed the body’s macronutrient needs for the day. This means that, if the calculation balances out, a person can eat any type of food, while still meeting their health or weight loss goals.
The IIFYM website promises “no more dieting” and “no more restrictions.” It is advertised as a more flexible dieting stylebecause it incorporates more foods than many other diets.
It encourages people to eat diverse foods, as long as they do not exceed their macro targets.
The aim of the IIFYM diet is to make meals more enjoyable, and meal planning less stressful, which may increase the likelihood of sticking to the diet.
A person usually loses weight if they burn more calories than they take in. This often involves cutting around 500–750 calories each day. People may achieve this by following the IIFYM diet.
Similarly, increasing calorie consumption leads to weight gain. People looking to gain weight may also be able to meet their goals with IIFYM.
May benefit those unable to exercise
Because IIFYM takes physical activity levels into account when calculating macros, a person who gets limited or no exercise may find the diet useful.
Negatives of IIFYM
The IIFYM diet may have the following drawbacks:
No focus on micronutrients
Micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, are as important as macronutrients for health and development, but the IIFYM diet does not account for their intake.
The body does not produce micronutrients, so a person must obtain them from their diet. A person following the IIFYM diet may not be getting enough of these vital nutrients.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2 billion people worldwide have micronutrient deficiencies.
Macro calculations are not flexible
People may have difficulties adjusting their macro requirements to account for changes such as illness, recovering from injury, and breastfeeding.
For instance, research indicates that following an illness, the body needs more calories and protein, namely 1.5–2.0 g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, to make up for the loss of lean body mass and to promote recovery.
Proponents advertise the IIFYM diet as a flexible method of weight loss. It involves counting macronutrients — proteins, carbohydrates, and fats — instead of calories.
However, little scientific research has looked into its effectiveness.
People following the diet must be sure to consume enough micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals.
If a person uses more calories than they consume, they are likely to lose weight. An individual can do this by following a healthful diet, reducing portion sizes, and getting more physical activity.
For best results, and to ensure that their dieting plan is healthful, a person may wish to consult a healthcare professional.
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