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The 1200 Calorie Diet

The simplest and fastest way to achieve lasting weight loss is to form habits you can actually stick with for a long time. Long-term weight loss requires that you make healthier food choices on the regular. Some people follow 1,200-calorie diet plans to enhance weight loss and reach their goal weight as quickly as possible.

While cutting calories is an effective way for you to lose weight, research also shows that a drastic reduction in calorie intake is not ideal for long-term health or weight loss. This article reviews how the 1,200-calorie diet can help you lose weight, its benefits, risks and helpful tips to consider when following the diet.

What is meant by a 1200 calorie diet?

A 1,200-calorie diet is a pattern of eating that limits the number of daily calories that you consume to 1,200. It promotes the use of low calorie, fat-free, and reduced-fat foods to help keep calorie intake low. This diet is considered a low-calorie diet because it provides significantly fewer calories than most average adults need to maintain their weight. Many healthcare providers are known to prescribe low calorie diets as an effective strategy for weight loss.

These diets are typically followed for short periods of weeks to months to promote rapid weight loss. It also involves calorie counting; to ensure that dieters do not exceed their daily calorie limit.

Can a 1200 calorie diet help you lose weight?

The number of calories you need everyday depends on several factors, including age, sex, activity level, and body size. Typically, larger people (people who are overweight or obese), males, active individuals, breastfeeding or pregnant women, or people with certain medical conditions usually need more calories each day than other people. Creating a calorie deficit is necessary for weight loss. Cutting calories by 500–750 calories per day, as some health professionals advise, is likely to encourage weight loss, at least in the short term. Many studies have also shown that following low calorie diets, including 1,200 calorie diets, can promote weight loss; a particular study involving 2,093 people with obesity resulted to an average fat loss of 4.7% over 12 months when participants were subjected to a medically supervised 1,200 calorie meal replacement diet.

For those who need fewer calories, a 1,200 calorie diet is usually safe and potentially effective. An average adult requires about 1,600–3,000 calories every day to sustain their body weight. When you consume fewer calories than you normally need, your body tends to shed weight; first by burning fat, and then eventually involving other tissues like your muscles. Since most people need significantly more than 1,200 calories a day, individuals who cut their daily intake to 1,200 calories can therefore expect to lose some weight.

Although the exact amount of weight loss can vary based on your metabolism and nutritional needs, following a nutrient-dense 1,200 calorie diet can make you lose up to 1–2 pounds of weight per week.

Other health benefits of following the 1200 calorie diet

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Some research suggests that a low-calorie diet, such as a 1,200-calorie diet, offers additional health benefits, such as:

  • It may extend longevity: reliable research suggests that decreasing your daily calorie consumption could help slow signs of aging, decrease inflammation and extend longevity. Furthermore, decreasing your calorie consumption may also reduce inflammation and oxidative damage, which are both believed to affect the aging process and disease development.
  • It reduces risk of chronic disease: certain studies have found that following a 1,200-calorie high-protein, low-carb diet may eventually result in a reduction of your risk of developing chronic diseases and improve your overall health. Other studies have also shown that caloric restriction could also protect heart health by decreasing the resting heart rate, blood pressure levels and inflammation, which could potentially reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • It is simple and flexible: the 1,200-calorie diet tends to be more common than other eating plans because it is very flexible and easy to follow. While many other diet plans place restrictions on which foods you can eat, the low-calorie diet allows you to still enjoy your favorite foods by adjusting your other meals and snacks throughout the day. Major emphasis is placed on decreasing your portion sizes or reducing your intake of other high-calorie foods later on in the day.

Possible Risks

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While a 1,200 calorie diet can definitely be beneficial for some people, it may not be perfect for everyone; it all depends on your body weight, activity level and health status. The following are risks that might be associated with this low calorie diet:

  • Decreasing your calorie consumption too much can lead to fatigue, weakness and increased cravings.
  • Without proper planning, a 1,200 calorie diet meal plan could also potentially increase the risk of nutritional deficiencies, which can lead to serious side effects over time.
  • Additionally, although cutting calories as part of a 1,200 calorie high-protein diet will most likely lead to weight loss, it may not be sustainable in the long-run.

It is therefore advised that you pair a balanced diet rich in whole foods with regular physical activity to promote long-lasting weight loss instead of focusing on calorie consumption alone. If you have any underlying conditions like diabetes, it is important to talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet.

Tips on a low calorie diet

  • A 1,200 calorie diet does not necessarily mean that you have to avoid any specific foods entirely; prioritize healthy, whole foods whenever possible to get all the vitamins, minerals and macronutrients that meet your body needs.
  • Allowing an occasional small treat with low calories may make it easier to stick to this restrictive diet; such as small servings of treat foods like a single cookie or five potato chips, flavored whole wheat crackers,etc. You can also try some low calorie fruit snacks such as our nutritious happy belly dried mango and natural goji berries.
  • Since you’re reducing your calorie intake, you need to be sure that every calorie counts; choose foods that are nutrient-dense. Foods with plenty of fiber will also help you feel full.
  • Lean protein sources (such as grilled chicken or fish and low-fat dairy products) eliminate extra calories from fat, while still giving you the protein your body needs.
  • Eat more of fruits and vegetables; as they mostly offer more nutrients and fiber, with less calories.
  • You would need discipline in order for this to work; you should seek help from a registered dietitian or doctor so that you don’t restrict your calories too much or miss out on essential nutrients.
  • In addition to your diet, you can also exercise on a regular basis to better keep fit. For more pleasurable exercise routines, check out our 3 in 1 ababdominal exercise roller set or ab wheel roller set to make exercising easier for you.
  • Note that a low-calorie diet is not a good idea for pregnant or breastfeeding women (who need enough calories to sustain their babies as well as themselves) and athletes (who need the energy from sufficient calories to perform).

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