Summermatter Cycle

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The Summermatter cycle is a physiological concept describing the complex relationship between physical activity and energy conservation.[1]

The concept explains why dieting fails in the majority of cases and results in a yo-yo effect (Yo-yo effect). A central element of the Summermatter Cycle is that reductions in energy intake, occurring with dieting or starvation, induce weight and adipose tissue loss. The reduced food availability then prompts ambulatory activity, which accelerates body and fat mass loss and depletes ATP, glycogen and intramyocellular lipids in skeletal muscle. The scarcity of energy activates a thrifty program in muscle to conserve energy. As soon as energy becomes available again, the thrifty program supports the replenishment of energy stores and weight regain. Fat deposition is the most efficient way for the body to store energy . This phenomenon is driven by a hyperinsulinemic state and is referred to as preferential catch-up fat.[2] Satiety signals during the period of food availability automatically lead to rest, which further supports adipose tissue regain and the restoration of glycogen and IMCL pools in the muscle. Exercise can counteract the energy conservation in skeletal muscle and prevent weight regain. In addition, regular exercise promotes the turnover of ATP, glycogen and IMCLs.[1]

The hypothesis was put forward in 2012[1] and Benton et al named the cycle in 2017 after his inventor, the Swiss biochemist, nutritionist and exercise physiologist Dr. Serge Summermatter.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Summermatter, S.; Handschin, C. (November 2012). "PGC-1α and exercise in the control of body weight". International Journal of Obesity (2005). 36 (11): 1428–1435. doi:10.1038/ijo.2012.12. ISSN 1476-5497. PMID 22290535.
  2. Dulloo, A. G. (2006). "Regulation of fat storage via suppressed thermogenesis: a thrifty phenotype that predisposes individuals with catch-up growth to insulin resistance and obesity". Hormone Research. 65 Suppl 3 (3): 90–97. doi:10.1159/000091512. ISSN 0301-0163. PMID 16612120.
  3. Benton, David; Young, Hayley A. (September 2017). "Reducing Calorie Intake May Not Help You Lose Body Weight". Perspectives on Psychological Science. 12 (5): 703–714. doi:10.1177/1745691617690878. ISSN 1745-6916. PMC 5639963. PMID 28657838.

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