1000 calorie diet to lose weight: how does it work?

Some people may be tempted to try crash diets, like the 1000 calorie diet, to lose weight as quickly as possible. While drastically reducing calories can lead to short-term weight loss, research shows that these types of diets are risky. Extreme diets sometimes have undesirable effects and do not lead to lasting weight loss. It is best to achieve a moderate weight gradually through a balanced diet that can be followed over the long term. This article discusses 1000 calorie diets, their safety, and their effectiveness. It also includes some tips for losing weight safely.

What is the 1000 calorie diet?

A 1000 calorie diet is an eating strategy that drastically reduces the number of calories an individual consumes each day. Experts consider this type of diet to be dangerous because it provides far fewer calories than the average adult needs for health and well-being.

One can turn to 1000 calorie diets when one is desperate to lose weight quickly, for example before a vacation. While adults can follow this type of diet relatively safely for a few weeks, doctors do not recommend it for prolonged periods. Lots of research shows that when people don’t eat a balanced diet with enough calories for their needs, it can harm their health and trigger weight regain.

The dangers of crash diets

Diets can have harmful consequences and usually carry more risks than benefits. Research links these diets to long-term weight gain and the possibility of developing eating disorders. When a person has an eating disorder, their eating habits can affect their physical health and their ability to live a normal life. Doctors associate eating disorders, such as binge eating, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia, with various medical problems. These include heart disease and endocrine problems.

Studies also show that prolonged semi-nutrition caused by continuous dieting can lead to severe depression, emotional distress, and irritability.
When individuals revert to a non-dieting state, they may experience a loss of control over their eating habits and develop a strong desire to eat more.
Eating disorders can seriously affect the quality of life of sufferers and their loved ones. Early intervention and treatment greatly improves the chances of recovery.

Calories and calorie needs

The term “calorie” describes the amount of energy contained in food or drink. The human body needs this energy to fuel essential metabolic processes. The number of calories an individual needs each day varies by biological sex, height, weight, activity level and genetics. On average, an average adult woman needs about 1,800 to 2,400 calories per day, while an average adult man needs about 2,400 to 3,200 calories.

Foods to Include on a 1000 Calorie Diet

To safely follow a 1,000 calorie diet, one needs to eat plenty of foods that are low in calories but high in nutrients. This reduces the risk of nutrient deficiencies while reducing the risk of cravings. The key to a healthy and successful diet is to include plenty of fruits and vegetables and to include lean protein sources. These options are rich in nutrients and can help a person feel full. Here are some examples of low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods:

– green leafy vegetables
– eggplant
– broccoli
– carrots
– cauliflower
– peas
– tomato
– courgette
– cucumber
– apples
– berries
– chicken
– turkey
– eggs
– fish
– sea food

Foods to avoid

Some foods are high in calories, and eating too many of these types of foods can mean a person is taking in more calories than they need. High-calorie foods to avoid or limit when trying to achieve a moderate weight include:

– butter
– oil
– the sirup
– cream
– cheese
– pizza
– desserts

Effectiveness of the 1000 calorie diet

A calorie deficit promotes weight loss. A calorie deficit means that you consume more calories than you take in. However, research has not identified the optimal deficit, and it likely depends on the individual. According to a 2018 article, people can often achieve safe and sustainable weight loss by decreasing their daily calorie intake by around 500 calories per day. Although some diet plans may recommend consuming 1,000 calories per day or less as an effective tool for weight loss, it is not safe and an unsustainable way to try to lose weight.

There is some evidence that these diets may promote weight loss. In an older study of 125 women with obesity, participants consumed either 1,000 calories or 1,500 calories per day for one year. People assigned to the 1,000 calorie diet lost more weight than the 1,500 calorie group.

However, other studies show that while consuming 1,000 calories a day can lead to significant weight loss, most people cannot maintain it and often experience significant weight regain. The reasons for this are the recovery of lost muscle mass and increased appetite.

It should also be noted that the human body can adapt. A significant decrease in caloric intake leads to a decrease in the energy burned by the body. In general, when people increase their caloric intake, they gain back the lost weight. They may even gain more weight because they are in a calorie surplus. Which means they eat more calories than their body needs to function. People who want to reduce calorie intake to lose weight should do so in small increments and avoid drastic changes.

The risks of a 1000 calorie diet

An extreme reduction in caloric intake can lead to harmful side effects, such as:

– dizziness
– extreme hunger
– gallstones
– nausea
– fatigue
– headache
– nutrient deficiencies

These diets can also alter specific metabolic pathways in the body. For example, they can alter hormones like ghrelin and cortisol that play a role in feeling hungry. They can also decrease muscle mass and affect the number of calories the body uses each day. This increases the risk of weight regain once the individual no longer maintains their diet.

Tips for losing weight safely

The best way to safely and successfully lose weight is to adopt healthy eating habits. Start by setting modest and realistic goals, then, as these goals become a habit, increase them. For example, get into the habit of starting every dinner with a salad or serving vegetables on the side. Once it becomes a habit, introduce a second goal, like having fruit for breakfast. Also, consider setting exercise goals. A good example is to set a goal to walk for 15 minutes 3 times a week. Once it becomes a routine, increase the duration or number of sessions each week. By setting small goals and increasing them over time, you set yourself up for success. Plus, small goals are easy to implement and maintain. Remember that it takes time to gain weight, so it may take even longer to lose it safely. Rapid weight loss plans have little scientific backing and can lead people to gain back all the weight they lost and more.

What to remember about the 1000 calorie diet

A 1000 calorie diet is a risky strategy for weight loss. Although a person can safely follow this diet for the short term, experts do not recommend that people follow extreme diets for long periods of time, as they can harm a person’s health and cause them to resume the weight she lost and more.
The surest way to lose weight and maintain long-term weight loss is to develop and maintain small healthy habits and lose weight slowly.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace medical advice.

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