Calories: How to Know if You Go Too Low

Most people have to reduce their caloric intake to lose weight. However, calorie restriction may backfire if done improperly, making it harder to lose weight and slowing down your metabolism.

Depending on your age, gender, and degree of exercise, you must consume a certain amount of calories daily. If you're young and energetic, you can get away with eating more. And guys can consume more calories per day than women can. For example, the US Department of Agriculture recommends that women between the ages of 19 and 30 consume 2,000 calories per day if they lead a sedentary lifestyle and 2,400 calories /day if they lead an active lifestyle; the corresponding numbers for men are 2,400 and 3,000.

A Brief Explanation of Low-Calorie Diets

If calories are the issue, eating as little as possible should help you lose weight quickly. To maintain good health, the average person needs 1,200 calories per day. Calories matter more for those who work out often or have busy schedules. You may be doing more harm than good to your health if you have lowered your daily calorie intake to less than 1,200 calories.

Though it could be tempting to stick to your low-calorie diet and supplement with vitamins, Spivack warns that doing so would be missing out on certain essential elements that can only obtain from food.

Obese persons may go on very low-calorie diets (800 to 1,000 calories per day) for a short period to meet a weight reduction target, but then they transition to a diet with more calories to reach and maintain their new, healthy weight. To ensure the diet is balanced nutritionally, it is often monitored by a medical professional. The unfortunate reality is that after these calorie-deficit diets are finished, weight is often quickly regained.

Reasons why low-calorie Diets Harm Metabolic Rate

If you're on a low-calorie diet and the scale isn't budging, but your diet buddy is losing weight consistently, it's time to up the ante.

In truth, some individuals do better than others on low-calorie diets. Even if you are overweight and attempting to lose weight, your metabolism may slow down when it feels that food may be scarce as a protective mechanism against the potential of hunger.

Some people's metabolic rates (how quickly the body consumes calories) slow down quite a bit to compensate for the energy gap, whereas, in others, it slows down just a little. Energy restriction causes the metabolic rate to fluctuate, which is a significant contributor to the wide range of results seen in persons trying to lose weight.

Does Your Diet Have Enough Calories?

Here are some warning indications that your calorie intake is too low −

Despite your best intentions, you still need to follow your diet. Extreme calorie restriction diets are challenging to maintain and may negatively affect long-term success. Both hunger and boredom may sabotage your efforts to lose weight.

Are you no longer losing weight? Over six months, researchers evaluated the outcomes of a calorie restriction diet, a diet and exercise program, and a regular diet in 48 overweight persons. It means your weight reduction will be slower than usual.

The daily caloric intake may be monitored with internet programs like My Calorie Counter. With MCC, you can set a daily calorie goal and get daily updates on your progress toward that goal.

Talk to your doctor or a dietitian if you're still interested in a low-calorie diet; they can help you plan out meals and snacks to provide enough nourishment without causing you to feel deprived.

Possible Risks of Low-Calorie Consumption

Starvation Mode

Starvation may result from calorie deficiencies. Appetite lowers metabolism to save energy for breathing and pulse. You may be more likely to become ill. Poor nutrition may cause muscle, bone, and organ deficiencies.

Accumulate Fat

"Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine" stated in March 2006 that significantly reduced calorie consumption may impair metabolism. Calorie restriction causes fat storage. See a doctor before dieting. Depending on your medical history and condition, your doctor may recommend eating less processed food, more greens, and fewer fruits. Diet and exercise burn calories differently.


If you need enough calories in your diet, your vitamin and mineral intake will suffer. Nutritional deficiencies have been linked to various health problems, including anemia, infertility, bone loss, poor dental health, and thyroid malfunction. Vitamins, minerals, fats, and carbohydrates are essential for bodily function. Calorie-free glucose has been linked to low blood sugar and depression.

Deficiencies in Eating

Low-calorie diets may cause anorexia. Anorexia may affect body image. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, some undernourished people think they are overweight. Bulimia is caused by binge eating. Eating problems affect all sexes. This mental disease is characterized by low self-esteem, overeating, overexercising, and weight fixation. Treat anorexia and other eating problems urgently.

5 Signs That You're Not Eating Enough

Low energy Levels

Most individuals burn over 1,000 calories each day at rest. Physical exercise might add 1,000 calories to your daily requirements. Taking less than 1,000 calories a day might decrease your metabolism and make you tired since you need more calories to survive.

Hair Loss

Hair sheds hair every day. If your hairbrush or shower drain has more hair than usual, you may need to eat more. Normal hair development requires several minerals. Hair loss often results from a poor diet.

Constant Hunger

Due to hormone changes that govern hunger and fullness, extreme calorie restriction increases desire and food cravings, according to studies. A decrease in leptin and IGF-1 levels increases hunger signals.

Sleep Issues

Sleep deprivation causes insulin resistance and weight gain in hundreds of trials. Overeating and rigorous dieting may also create sleep issues. According to animal and human studies, starvation-level calorie restriction disrupts sleep and reduces deep sleep.

Feeling Cold all the Time

To generate heat and keep your internal temperature healthy and comfortable, your body needs to burn several calories. It has been found that even moderate calorie restriction may cause a decrease in basal body temperature.

Updated on: 02-Feb-2023


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