Some people follow 1,200-calorie diet plans to encourage fat loss and achieve their ideal weight as quickly as feasible.
While it’s true that cutting calories might help you lose weight, studies show that doing so too drastically can be hazardous to your health and weight loss over time.
This article will look at what 1,200-calorie diets are and the benefits and cons of eating so few calories.
What does it mean to eat a 1,200-calorie diet?
A 1,200-calorie diet is a way of eating that limits your daily calorie intake to 1,200. This diet is characterised as a low-calorie diet since it provides far fewer calories than most regular persons require to maintain their weight.
Many healthcare professionals, including doctors and nutritionists, promote low-calorie diets as a weight-loss technique.
A calorie restriction of 500–750 calories per day is a common weight-loss prescription. This equates to a low-calorie diet of 1,200–1,500 calories per day for adult women and 1,500–1,800 calories per day for adult men.
It’s worth mentioning that 1,200 calories are on the low end of the low-calorie diet spectrum for women.
According to some experts, low-calorie diets supply between 800 and 1,200 calories per day, while very-low-calorie diets provide less than 800 calories per day.
These diets are usually followed for a few weeks to months to lose weight quickly.
Low-calorie and very-low-calorie diets are common in medically supervised therapeutic settings, such as weight loss centres, but they are also popular among the general public.
Many weight-loss specialists, personal trainers, and prominent diet websites offer 1,200-calorie meal plans, claiming that sticking to one can help you “slim down fast.”
To help keep calorie consumption low, these diets frequently urge dieters to eat “low calorie,” “fat-free,” and “reduced-fat” foods and they also incorporate calorie monitoring to ensure dieters stay under their daily calorie limit.
While a 1,200-calorie diet may be sufficient in some circumstances in the short term, it is far too low for most adults.
Furthermore, while severely reducing your calorie intake may result in rapid weight loss at first, studies show that low-calorie diets are rarely successful for long-term weight loss.
Keep in mind that a 1,200-calorie diet is considered low-calorie. Doctors sometimes recommend Low-calorie diets to help people lose weight quickly.
Is it feasible to use it to reduce weight?
You must develop a calorie deficit to lose weight. To promote weight loss, several health specialists advocate lowering calories by 500–750 calories per day, at least in the short term.
Low-calorie diets, such as 1,200-calorie diets, have been shown to aid weight loss in numerous trials.
A 12-month medically supervised 1,200-calorie meal replacement diet resulted in an average fat loss of 4.7 percent in a trial of 2,093 obese people.
In a separate study, adults consumed 500, 1,200–1,500, or 1,500–1800 calories per day in a commercial weight-loss programme.
After a year, the 1,200–1,500 calorie diet resulted in an average weight decrease of 15 pounds (6.8 kg). However, of the 4,588 people who followed the 1,200-calorie diet, 23% dropped out.
While weight loss on low-calorie diets, such as 1,200-calorie diets, is generally swift and substantial, studies have shown that weight recovery is more prevalent when compared to diets with only moderate calorie restriction.
The researchers discovered that rapid weight loss in the first three months was connected to greater weight return throughout the nine-month weight-loss maintenance phase in all three diet groups in the commercial weight-reduction study.
Another study of 57 overweight or obese people revealed that after following a very low 500-calorie diet for 5 weeks or a very low 1,250-calorie diet for 12 weeks, study participants regained 50% of the weight they lost over 10 months.
Low-calorie diets cause metabolic changes that store energy and prevent weight loss, such as increased appetite, loss of lean body mass, and lower calorie expenditure, making long-term weight management challenging.
As a result, many health practitioners now recommend eating patterns that use moderate calorie reductions to achieve weight loss while minimising the metabolic adaptations that low-calorie diets cause.
The bottom line is that while a low-calorie 1,200-calorie diet will help you lose weight, being consistent is slim.
The benefits of eating a 1,200-calorie diet
Although eating a 1,200-calorie diet has some health benefits, it’s important to understand that these benefits apply to calorie restriction, not just 1,200-calorie meal plans.
Consuming more calories than your body requires regularly can lead to weight gain, increased heart disease risk factors, and diabetes, among other issues.
To maintain good overall health, it is vital to give your body the right calories.
Calorie restriction has been shown to promote overall health by promoting weight loss, lowering heart disease risk factors like LDL (bad) cholesterol, and lowering blood sugar levels and inflammation.
There’s no arguing that losing weight is beneficial to your health and that staying within your calorie needs is the best thing you can do for your body.
However, the methods used to aid weight loss are crucial and using very low-calorie, restrictive dieting regimens has been related to a higher risk of weight gain over time.
While losing excess body weight might benefit your overall health, focusing on healthy, long-term weight loss strategies is more important than more extreme eating habits.
According to some studies, people with obesity or morbid obesity who follow low-calorie or extremely low-calorie diets under medical supervision lose weight, improve their blood sugar and lipid profiles, and improve overall health.
However, these diets are frequently followed for only a short period because of their restrictive nature and are associated with high dropout rates.
If you want to lose weight by following a low-calorie diet, you should get advice from a qualified healthcare professional.
Key Takeaways: Losing excess body weight and fueling your body with the right number of calories is crucial for overall health. Although adopting a 1,200-calorie diet has some health benefits, these benefits are linked to calorie reduction in general.
Consequences that may occur
Calorie needs are highly personal and are influenced by factors such as body size, age, and quantity of exercise. Most individuals, especially women of smaller size, cannot sustain a 1,200-calorie diet.
Though calorie requirements vary from person to person and can only be determined using specialised equipment or computations, the average adult woman requires around 2,000 calories per day to maintain her weight. In comparison, a man requires around 2,500 calories per day.
Again, these are averages that do not consider differences in calorie needs due to age, exercise level, or height. On the other hand, these typical calorie needs estimates to give you an idea of how low 1,200 calories are.
A 1,200-calorie diet is considered too low for most individuals, and it can lead to dizziness, extreme hunger, nausea, vitamin deficiencies, tiredness, headaches, and gallstones.
Furthermore, a 1,200-calorie diet may set you up for failure if your goal is long-term weight loss.
Calorie restriction alters the body’s metabolic processes. Among them include increases in hunger-inducing hormones such as ghrelin and cortisol and a drop in resting metabolic rate (RMR) or the number of calories expended while at rest.
This raises the chances of weight regaining over time and the vicious cycle of weight loss followed by weight gain that so many chronic dieters experience — which often leads to despair.
Dieting and weight cycling regularly are bad for your mental health, and evidence shows that they can stress your heart and increase your risk of eating disorders, type 2 diabetes, and death.
Important Takeaways: Extreme calorie restriction might lead to nutritional deficiency and exhaustion. Low-calorie diets rarely lead to long-term weight loss and can lead to weight cycling, which is bad for one’s health.
Healthcare practitioners and consumers who wish to lose weight frequently choose diets based on how quickly they can achieve the desired results rather than the long-term health repercussions of calorie restriction.
While a low-calorie diet that falls far short of your daily calorie requirements is likely to result in quick weight loss, keep in mind that some of that weight loss will be in the form of muscle mass. Muscle loss and other metabolic changes might affect RMR.
Large calorie deficits induce unwanted changes that make weight reduction more difficult to maintain, but they can also harm your emotional health.
According to most research studies, dieting does not work, and using healthier, less dramatic weight loss methods is a better long-term weight loss and maintenance option.
Instead of lowering your intake to 1,200 calories, which usually means documenting every bite of food that crosses your lips, try a couple of the following evidence-based, healthy weight loss techniques:
- Eat whole foods. Whole foods including vegetables, fruits, legumes, fish, nuts, seeds, and eggs should make up most of your calorie intake. Whole foods are high in fibre, protein, and healthy fats, which are essential for your body to thrive.
- Sugar and fat should be limited in your diet. Reduced fat and added sugar consumption is an effective weight-loss method. Sugary cereals, soda, cakes, ice cream, and sweets are high in sugar and fat.
- It’s a good idea to prepare more meals at home. Make more home-cooked meals instead of relying on takeaway, restaurants, or fast food. People who cook more meals at home lose weight and eat a healthier diet than those who eat more out.
- One of the most effective strategies to support healthy, long-term weight loss is to create a calorie deficit by increasing the number of calories you burn. Increase the amount of physical activity you do daily. Consider going for daily walks in the fresh air, joining a gym, or enrolling in exercise programmes.
- Losing weight can be a scary and stressful experience. Work with a medical expert who has a lot of experience. You can lose weight in a healthy and non-restrictive way with the help of a competent dietician or other skilled healthcare professional.
While losing weight through healthy, long-term dietary habits takes longer, it avoids the unfavourable adaptations of excessive calorie restriction. It can help you keep the weight off in the long run.
Key Takeaways: Using less restrictive weight-loss tactics can help you lose weight in a healthily, long-term approach.
Finally, but certainly not least
A 1,200-calorie diet is a low-calorie eating pattern that typically involves calorie counting and eating low-calorie meals to promote rapid weight loss.
Although a 1,200-calorie diet is expected to cause significant weight loss in the short term, metabolic adaptations caused by calorie restriction make long-term weight loss extremely difficult.
Furthermore, 1,200 calories are much less than the typical quantity of calories needed to sustain most people’s bodies, including petite women.
While diets with 1,200 calories or fewer are popular for weight loss, your overall health should follow a diet that fuels your body properly and encourages moderate long-term weight loss.