Is 1200 calories a day enough We all need food to survive and food contains calories. It is usually recommended for everyone to consume at least 2000 calories per day. But the daily caloric requirements are different for every individual.
The caloric requirements depend on various factors such the person’s weight, height, BMI, physical activity level and gender. While 2000 calories are normally needed by people on a daily basis, some people cut their daily caloric intake to reduce weight.
However, there are some people who need to consume more calories than others since it’s their body’s requirement. These include people with more height, males, pregnant or breastfeeding women or highly active people such as athletes. For those who need fewer calories a 1200 calorie diet is usually safe and effective.
But let’s not forget that every person has their own needs according to their current body condition and health. It also differs from person to person. While 1200 calories could be enough for some people it could also prove to be a little less for others.
What Is a Low-Calorie Diet?
A low-calorie diet is one that reduces your intake to 1,200 to 1,600 calories per day for men, and 1,000 to 1,200 calories per day for women. Some people go on a very low-calorie diet for quick weight loss and consume only 800 calories a day.
This type of diet usually consists of special food items such as shakes, bars, or soups that take the place of meals and give the extra vitamins. Very low-calorie diets can help a person lose up to 3 to 5 pounds every week.
People on a 1,200-calorie diet need to eat nutrient dense food to avoid feeling hungry all the time and not suffer from malnourishment. Lean proteins are usually very rich in nutrients and low in calories. They should avoid carbohydrates such as white bread that contain more calories and fewer nutrients.
For healthy and effective weight loss, most people should try a low-calorie diet rather than a very low-calorie diet. Less extreme diets are easier to follow, they are less likely to interrupt normal daily activities.
They are also less risky if you are aged or have other health problems. Apart from that, people who go on very low caloric diets often end up with gallstones.
Remember that most diets only work when we make healthy lifestyle choices while watching what we eat. This includes increasing daily physical activity and exercise and generally getting rid of the sedentary lifestyle throughout the day.
Good Reasons to Try a Low-Calorie Diet
The most obvious reason to cut calories is to help with weight loss. Why else would anyone want to stop doing something that gives them great pleasure and joy? We have carefully looked up people who have restricted their calories in the past and have seen a lot of positive outcomes in them. We have listed some of them below.
- These people had higher levels of physical activity
- They had lower rates of cancer
- They generally lived a longer life than the rest
- They had an enhanced reproductive performance
They also had reduced signs of age-related degeneration of the brain
Some of these findings may seem a bit odd to anyone who’s tried to restrict their calories and hasn’t had a good experience. Some people experience the early exhaustion, lack of energy, nausea, and stomach pains related with their efforts.
Remember that the studies and observations included steady periods of calorie restriction followed by a healthy diet. In other words, the bodies had time to adjust in a healthy manner to slightly less caloric intake over a long period of time.
The Result of Caloric Restriction
Doctors or dietitians often talk with patients about cutting calories for heart health. While they doing that, they have rarely met anyone who does it to live longer or have a better life. This is because most people think how they’re going to feel the first few days or weeks after they start. They usually don’t take a broader outlook.
A study from 2016 in JAMA Internal Medicine and gave an excellent understanding of the outcomes of calorie restriction. This study included people who were not typically obese.
This is because weight loss in obese people is often used to lower different health related risks. They include diabetes, hypertension and coronary artery disease in addition to improving their quality of life.
The accessors of this study followed around 220 participants for two years. Most of them were middle aged women. When being enrolled, they could have a body mass index (BMI) up to 28 but not lower than 22.
They asked the groups to either continue with their normal diet or contribute in a calorie-restricted diet. The diet contained around 25 percent fewer calories than they had consumed before.
The reason why the researches went for a 25 percent reduction in calories is that they thought it to be the maximum reduction. Participants met in groups and had web-based resources to support with their diet.
Registered dietitians observed their weekly food diaries to fix total calories. They also encouraged the participants to exercise at least five days a week for a minimum of 30 minutes every day.
Also Read: Top 10 Mediterranean Diet Breakfast Recipes
Findings of the Research
The findings were that the group who ate fewer calories lost more weight. On average, people in this group lost around 7 kgs and the other group lost around 1 kg.
An interesting effect of calorie restriction was also seen on the on quality of life. Those who restricted calories had better moods and less daily stress. They ranked their overall health better through the study period.
The calorie-restricted group also said to have improved sleep duration and quality. Lastly, the calorie-restricted group experienced a better sexual drive and arousal, and improved sexual relationships, than the other group.
Is a Low-Calorie Diet Right for You?
If a person is overweight or obese then the decision is very simple. Weight loss is a serious lifestyle choice to improve your general health and lower your risk of various deadly diseases.
But reducing your risk for these diseases is only part of the possible benefit of cutting calories. Other benefits of calorie restriction can improve your quality of life and daily body processes.
If you’re in the normal weight range, there is a potential benefit of calorie restriction if they right way. One just needs to ensure that their BMI doesn’t drop below 22.
If you decide to cut your calories then try aim for a 25 percent reduction. This is the level that gave benefit and was manageable, so it’s possible to keep it up. Here’s how to start:
- You could keep an accurate record of your food intake for at least one to two weeks.
- You can utilize an online calorie counter to help in finding out your daily caloric consumption.
- Plan to limit your caloric intake by 25 percent over the next month.
- Plan out a menu each week that contains a wide variety of foods that you enjoy.
One of the simplest ways to cut calories is to increase your intake of whole fruits and vegetables. One finds them to be more filling and less calorie dense. Also plan making these diet changes with other people, who can provide social support and responsibility. This will definitely help you succeed.
You will soon experience the better quality of life, sleep, and other positive outcomes. These will help support your goals and make the calorie-restricted diet a usual habit. As you feel better, more energetic and you will also have fewer visits to your cardiologist.
Reducing the number of calories consumed by a person o n a daily basis can definitely help lose weight. Low calorie diets can also prove to be beneficial in other ways. They also reduce the risk of certain diseases, and help a person experience weight loss that inspires them to stick with the diet.
Weight is not the only or best measure of health. A person will not really get healthier simply by losing weight. In some cases, weight loss can even make a person less healthy, especially if they eat unhealthy foods or don’t take enough important nutrients.
Also, sticking to a very low-calorie diet can turn out to be difficult, especially for people who go experience strong food cravings. No matter what weight loss plan a person chooses, it is very important to select a diet and exercise program that they can manage for the rest of their life.
A doctor or dietitian can help with planning a custom diet. They can also give a nutrition plan that gives the right balance of treats and nutrient dense food. It is very important for everyone to always consult a dietitian or a doctor for a diet plan as they will suggest you one that has been designed according to your needs.