What is a low calorie diet?

We all want to lose some weight and stay in shape. However, 80% of people eventually regain the lost weight.

No slimming diet works in the long term. This is the reason why every year, new diets surface, and a large number of people try several diets as an escape route. But, in truth, there would be as many diets as individuals, and it is challenging to want to apply a diet to the letter without knowing our real needs.

Why? Because our body naturally puts in place biological mechanisms to recover what it has been deprived of. This yo-yo effect is not without health consequences. People then end up with a deranged metabolism, added to digestive disorders, kidney and heart problems, or eating disorders.

which diet to follow to lose weight

There are so many weight-loss diets, it is also possible to innovate and find new ways of adopting “the right diet”, but it is also proof of the limit of some of these diets of which are in controversy.

Today, there are more than sixty weight-loss diets, including the ketogenic diet keto diet, intermittent fasting, the Atkins diet, the Dukan diet, the Montignac method, the Jacques Fricker diet, the Weight Watchers diet, the F-Factor Diet, the DASH diet or the low-calorie diet also called “calorie restriction”.

The sole purpose of a diet is to reach a healthy weight, rebalance your body, and improve your state of health. And to get there, the way is to adopt new eating habits while respecting our needs.

what is calorie restriction

For people who have tried a low-calorie diet before, the idea of ​​reducing daily calories is a usual practice. Most weight-loss diets involve cutting calories in some way. For example, some diets introduce foods that make people feel full faster but contain fewer calories, such as fresh vegetables and fruits, instead of processed foods.

Caloric dieting or calorie restriction limits food energy intake in the hope that it will improve health and delay aging. The scientific literature has demonstrated that a low-calorie diet lowers human subjects’ cholesterol, fasting blood sugar, and blood pressure.

In this multi-effect diet, energy intake is minimized, but sufficient amounts of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients should be consumed. Other diets limit the options, which becomes repetitive and less attractive, and generally pushes to consume “less”. Also, some diets combine both strategies. But new research shows that low-calorie diets can help some people with weight issues and other conditions.

what is the limit for low calorie diet

A low-calorie diet limits energy intake to 1200 to 1600 calories per day for men and 1000 to 1200 calories daily for women. Some people follow a deficient calorie diet to lose weight quickly, often consuming only 800 calories daily.

Less extreme diets are easier to follow since they interrupt normal daily activities less and are less risky to health. Also, gallstones have been reported in people on a highly low-calorie diet of 800 calories or less per day.

This diet usually includes special foods such as meal replacements, energy bars, vitamin supplements and soups to replace meals. However, these diets are not without danger for your health. Therefore, it is imperative to consult a general practitioner or a dietitian-nutritionist before upsetting your body and its nutritional balance.

when this diet works

Also, keep in mind that most diets only work when you make healthy lifestyle choices at the same time. Indeed, by increasing the level of daily physical activity, the quality of sleep, and reducing sedentary time throughout the day, a healthy person can benefit from certain potentially “reliable” diets, like the low-calorie diet.

The good reasons to try a low-calorie diet are mainly to help lose weight. In addition, some studies on caloric restriction in a healthy lifestyle show, for example, that the majority of people significantly increase their longevity, lower their blood pressure or have less age-related brain degeneration.

What happens when you restrict calorie intake?

If a person is overweight or obese, the choice may be easier with the help of a healthcare professional. Weight loss is an important lifestyle choice for improving overall health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, cancer, or premature joint disease.

According to available studies on this diet, when people restrict their calories, the impact of caloric restriction on quality of life appears to be positive overall.

Indeed, most people who follow a diet followed with calorie restriction reveal having a better mood, less daily tension, and an improvement in the duration and quality of sleep.

However, reducing the risk of contracting these diseases is only part of the potential benefits of calorie reduction. Many other benefits of calorie restriction can improve quality of life and daily life without necessarily being overweight or obese.

One of the easiest ways to cut calories is to increase the intake of whole fresh vegetables and fruits, which a person finds more filling fullness and lower in calories. Note that to consider making these diet changes, the support of a health professional is essential to improve the chances of success.

what are the negative effects of a low-calorie diet

Generally speaking, eating more calories than your body needs will cause you to gain weight, mainly in the form of body fat. But, conversely, eating fewer calories than your body needs lead to weight loss. This concept of calorie balance is why people who want to lose weight often try to restrict their calorie intake.

People trying to lose weight often limit the number of calories they eat, which is the basic principle of the low-calorie diet. However, this calorie restriction should be given your full attention. If too severe, it can lead to various health problems. Patience and discipline are essential for long-term weight loss. It’s best to avoid diets that force you to limit your calories drastically. Instead, opt for diets that focus on food quality and encourage you to make lasting lifestyle changes.

The body needs calories to function and uses them to support three main processes: basal metabolic rate BMR is the number of calories required to cover your essential functions, the digestion or thermic effect of food. The body uses a certain number of calories to digest and metabolize food; physical activity number of calories needed to fuel your daily chores and activities.

However, remember that restricting calories excessively can harm your health in several ways. In fact, according to available scientific studies, excessive caloric restriction can: decrease your metabolism and cause you to lose muscle mass, cause fatigue, reduce fertility, especially in women, or cause weakness in bone and an increased risk of fractures.

Does low-calorie diet affect men and women differently?

Low-calorie diets affect the bodies of men and women differently. Men lose significantly more body-weight than the women. Both sexes sees a decrease in inflammatory biomarkers, which led to improved blood flow.

But men have more significant reductions in the metabolic syndrome score coexistence of several health disorders of lipid, carbohydrate or vascular origin associated with excess weight, an indicator of diabetes, fat mass and the frequency cardiac.

On the other hand, women had some adverse effects in addition to weight loss. There was a decrease in good cholesterol HDL, lean body mass, and bone mineral content, none suitable for long-term health.

This does not mean that women should not adhere to a low-calorie diet, but it does give essential indications and recommendations for health professionals.

It is essential to have a varied diet with seafood, dairy products, etc. and be more balanced after this type of rapid weight loss and work with health professionals to monitor health in general.

How low-calorie diet helps to lose weight

The number of calories you need per day depends on your desire to maintain, lose or gain weight, and other factors, such as your gender, age, height, current weight, activity levels, and physical and metabolic health.

It is now known that a healthy middle-aged woman needs to eat about 2,000 calories a day to maintain weight and roughly 1,500 calories a day to lose weight. During this time, man needs about 2500 calories to sustain himself and 2000 to lose weight.

How many calories you have to restrict to lose weight?

Cutting calories doesn’t have to mean starving! A few simple diet and lifestyle changes, including exercise, staying hydrated, increasing protein, and reducing carb intake, can help you lose weight and feel satisfied.

How many pounds will you lose per week?

According to many experts, when on a low-calorie diet, a loss of around 450 g to 1 kg per week is a healthy amount and without negative health consequences. However, losing more than that is considered too fast and could lead to many health issues, including muscle loss, gallstones, nutritional deficiencies and a slower metabolism.

what is a High protein and low-calorie diet

Protein is an essential macronutrient in our diet. However, not all foods provide the same amount of protein to your body. Despite what we all think, not everyone needs protein in the exact amounts. Proteins are necessary in large quantities in the diet of people who want, for example, to develop lean muscles to support their athletic capacity or their endurance in sport. Proteins are enzymes that fuel many chemical reactions and hemoglobin that carries oxygen in our blood.

Protein-rich, low-calorie foods are in great demand these days. This phenomenon is mainly due to the number of people who want to lose weight and build lean muscle. Proteins are made from over twenty building blocks, which are known amino acids – they are either made inside our body from scratch or after modifying some other amino acids.

Our food must contain nine essential amino acids tryptophan, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, valine, leucine, isoleucine and histidine. In addition, a commonly cited recommended daily allowance for dietary protein states that one should consume 0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight.

Thus, the number of calories consumed daily differs from person to person. Depending on your weight loss or weight gain goal and your current activity level, it is essential to determine a healthy calorie level.

You can determine how much weight you can lose without putting your health at risk through consultation with a healthcare professional. Regardless of your calorie intake, it helps to know some healthy, low-calorie, high-protein foods that you can add to your diet to speed up the weight loss process.

What foods should I eat on a low-calorie diet?

Top calorie-restricted foods include, for example, water, tea, lettuce, broth, mushrooms, strawberries, vegetable soup, whole-grain bread, cod, eggs, or cottage cheese low in fat.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of 6 foods readily available whatever the season and valuable for a low-calorie diet:


Rich in fiber and protein, oats work to reduce hunger, increase feelings of fullness and improve appetite control.

Legumes, beans

 rich in protein and fiber, they are associated with reduced appetite and hunger and an increased feeling of satiety.

Chia Seeds

 High in soluble fiber, which keeps you feeling full throughout the day.


Eggs are packed with protein and are a great low-calorie breakfast choice.

Seafood fish

high in protein, increasing feelings of fullness and reducing appetite and hunger.

Dairy products

cottage cheese or from age blanc, Greek yogurt: even low in fat. They are high in protein, which can reduce appetite and facilitate the feeling of satiety.

Should you give up bread for low calorie diet?

If you’re a bread fanatic and want to go on a low-calorie diet, you will have to change your habits. According to specialists, people on a low-calorie diet should focus on whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread, and exclude refined cereals.

Whole grains provide more vitamins, minerals and fiber than refined grains. But if you overdo your intake and reduce your portion sizes. Whole wheat bread can also add weight. So factor that into your daily calorie count.

When choosing your bread, buy only breads whose first ingredient is whole grains, whole wheat, whole oats, etc. and organic bread. Note that commercial multi-grain breads are not necessarily made entirely of whole grains.

Is 1200 calories a day a good goal to set?

The advice and recommendations of a health professional are always essential and the starting point before venturing into crazy and unsuitable diets. This restrictive diet requires a person to reduce their daily energy intake to 1200 calories. For some people, 1200 calories are too low and can lead to malnutrition.

Thus, consuming 1200 calories a day may significantly reduce daily calories or represent a slight reduction, depending on a person’s usual calorie intake. The number of calories each day depends on several factors, including age, gender, activity level, and height. For example, the average active adult may need 1600 to 3000 calories per day to maintain body weight.

Larger people, men, active people, breastfeeding or pregnant women, or those with certain medical conditions generally need more calories each day than others. Therefore, a 1200 calorie diet is generally safe and potentially effective for those who need fewer calories.

Most people need far more than 1200 calories per day. Therefore, people who reduce their daily energy intake to this level can expect to lose weight quickly.

So when a person consumes fewer calories than they need, the body begins to lose weight, first by burning fat and then eventually other tissues like muscle. Research suggests that a low-calorie diet provides additional health benefits, such as a 1200 calorie diet. But this diet should ideally be supervised by a doctor or a dietitian-nutritionist.

Does low-calorie diet affect sportsmen

Several scientific studies regularly look at low-calorie diets, meal replacements, and how athletes’ body composition and physical performance are affected. There’s a possible impact of a daily diet on nutritional deficiencies in micronutrients and essential fatty acids.

The researchers find that caloric restriction reduced the specific daily intake of micronutrients to values ​​below 90% of the recommended dietary intakes. “No effects were observed on blood parameters related to iron metabolism and tissue damage, glucose levels, lipid profiles or erythrocyte fatty acid composition. In addition, markers of oxidative damage decreased after the nutritional intervention”.

Typical calorie restriction menus in sports can significantly reduce body weight and the weight of the torso, arms and legs. It would also cause a decrease in fat mass and lean mass, the rate of energy expenditure during a maximal exercise test, the energy cost to run one meter at various exercise intensities, and improve the onset of the “anaerobic” phase anaerobic lactic metabolism of exercise.


They find that a low-calorie diet accompanied by follow-up by a health professional in private practice or a health establishment improves athletes’ performance and energy efficiency but reduces passing daily micronutrient intake. Micronutrient supplementation should therefore be considered.

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