Back to energy balance
The reason that a bad diet - using the energy balance definition - cannot be out trained is that energy expenditure must be considered before labelling the diet good or bad in the first place.
When fat loss is the focus, the goal is to create an energy deficit, as opposed to eating a certain amount of food.
The target energy intake is calculated by subtracting the required energy deficit from energy expenditure.
The target energy intake will then vary depending on the size of the energy deficit.
Let’s say the energy expenditure is 2300kcal and we aim for a 400kcal deficit, then we have the target energy intake of 1900kcal.
There’s nothing magical about eating 1900kcal, it simply creates the deficit we aim to implement for that individual in those circumstances.
It’s common to see the association between dieting/weight loss with specific energy intakes.
1200kcal has often been the go-to target for weight loss, although there is now a trend towards sub-1000kcal diets (mostly with meal replacement shakes).
These diets are popular in books, magazines, TV or anything created for a large audience.
It’s hard to show everyone how to create a 500kcal deficit from their current intake, but it’s easy to create a generic template of 1200kcal which will create a 500kcal deficit (likely much more than 500kcal) for the majority of people who follow it.
Large-scale diets work on the premise that the diet succeeds if you stick to it, but you failed if you don’t stick to it (the diet is still good though).