Set Point versus Settling Point.

Set point is a theory that claims we each possess a genetically determined level of body fat and that any attempt to alter this level will cause metabolic adjustments designed to regain the previous ‘Set point’.  This theory often relates to the typical ‘Yo Yo’ diet.  Set point theory implies that any change in the body that is not in line with genetics will in time be reversed.

Settling point however is another more recent theory that suggests the human body is influenced by many environmental factors. The body will respond to these factors and find a point at which to ‘settle’. These factors may include genetics, weather, eating habits, exercise and daily lifestyle. Settling point theory implies that we can each effect our own individual long term body composition by altering the environmental factors associated with weight gain.

There are clearly groups of dieters and athletes who, through various behavioural means (generally involving dietary choice and activity) can clearly maintain bodyweight and body fat levels that are below a biological ‘set point’.

If you take the average human being and put them in a country, where tasty inexpensive food is readily available and very little activity is required on a daily basis, their body weight will ‘settle’ at a certain point that may be high.  Now change their diet, and enforce a large amount of exercise that is maintained and their body weight will settle at a lower point (regardless of the set point).

Take that same person and put them in a third world country where massive amounts of food are not available and high amounts of activity have to be done daily, I imagine that their bodyweight would settle again at the lowest level.  I think that this is what would occur absolutely regardless of any biological set point.

My votes for Settling and continuing to Settle.


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