Are Low Calorie Diets Safe or Healthy?

example foods to eat when following a low calorie diet

Maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight should be about eating a well-balanced diet and cutting out unhealthy foods. For those who want to lose weight, they will notice that through doing this, they will lose weight slowly and that can mean that they will keep the weight off for good.

 The science behind calories and weight loss or weight gain is simple. If you burn more calories than you put into your body then you will lose weight. If you eat more calories than you burn then you will put weight on.

However, we live in a world where people want quick fixes and with that comes all sorts of diets and fads, many of which are endorsed by celebrities. Despite this, when we look at the simple calories in and calories out, for rapid weight loss, it seems as though a calorie restriction diet can work but is it the safe way to lose weight?

What is a Low-Calorie Diet? 

A low-calorie diet is a diet where you cut the number of calories per day than you consume. In general, most will consume around 800 to 1,500 calories but for those who want rapid weight loss then they might go lower than this.

This will mean that you cut out eating many major food groups in order to consume the right meals during meal times but it can prove difficult to get right. 

Are Low-Calorie Diets Effective? 

If someone has a BMI that is over 30, a doctor might recommend that a low-calorie diet is the best way to begin losing weight and once a certain amount of weight has been lost, they can then move onto a better diet that can help them to sustain weight loss over a longer period. A low-calorie diet could help someone who is considered obese to lose anything from 3-5lbs per week.

Over the course of a longer period, this can help to improve weight-related medical problems which can help your health but that does not mean that they are necessarily safe. In the long-run, low-calorie diets are not as effective as other diets that provide the right foods and calories that give the body what it needs. 

Are They Safe?

The truth is, they are not safe for everyone and that means that it is important to seek medical advice before committing to this kind of diet. However, for obese people, they can prove to be effective in the short-term. Despite this, it is not recommended that a low-calorie diet is followed for long periods and those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid them. 

For many people getting the right kind of energy comes to choosing the right kind of snacks like healthy protein flapjacks or cookies.

What are the Downsides of a Low-Calorie Diet?

It might seem as though it makes sense to consume a low-calorie diet. After all, you are consuming less food, you lose weight and feel and look healthier but there could be more to it than that. The truth is, the body needs calories for a reason and although the body naturally burns calories, it also needs calories to help you undertake daily tasks such as walking or even cleaning the house.

When you follow a low-calorie diet, it is common for people to forget that they are not getting the right nutrients. Our bodies require vitamins, minerals, fibre and nutrients to function and without them, it can cause problems. Take calcium as an example as this is vital to the health of our bones as well as circulation. During the first three decades of life, calcium is stored in bones but after this, bone moss reduces and so, if you are not giving your body the calcium it needs then it will begin to eat into the stored calcium. This increases the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. 

One way to overcome this is to consume low-calorie protein bars which offer a good balance of nutrients without being calorie dense.

Along with this, when you do not give your body the food it needs, it enters a kind of ‘survival mode’ where it begins to break down muscle. This is done so that the glucose stored within it is released and used for energy. As you are not consuming enough calories, it means that you metabolism will slow down as a way of saving energy. This can lead to a feeling of sluggishness and even problems with the stomach or digestion system.

Your Brain Feels Foggy

The brain is an organ and it needs the right energy to run at its very peak. If you starve your body of the calories it needs, it means that the brain will not receive the energy it needs. As a result, you can be left feeling as though you are confused or unable to seek clarity in simple situations. All of this is a result of significantly reducing calories. 

One of the most serious side effects of a low-calorie diet is gallstones. These are especially common when low-calorie diets are followed. It is caused by the body having to deal with the reduction in calories and that means that it breaks down fat for energy. The liver then releases more cholesterol which can combine with bile to form gallstones. 

The Right Diet Leads to a Healthier Body

Low-calorie diets serve a purpose and in certain instances, they can prove effective but they are not the answer. To remain healthy, we have to get the right nutrition while giving our body what it needs to ensure that it functions correctly. Surviving on a low-calorie diet can mean that the body does not have enough energy to carry out its daily functions and that can lead to a wide range of problems.

So, the aim is to ensure that we eat bad foods in moderation and focus on eating the perfect balance of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. If we do this, we can avoid low-calorie diets and the potential problems that come with them.