There are many diets out there that promise to help you reach your ideal weight goal in a jiffy. The 1200 calorie diet is one such diet that guarantees weight loss in a shorter time frame. As the name explains, you need to whittle down your calorie intake to 1200 per day to see results. The diet is based on the simple science of creating a calorie deficit to make the body burn fat.
Should you be doing it?
Dr Anjali Hooda Sangwan, nutritionist and obesity expert, says, “No diet should be only calorie restricted; no one can prove how many calories a person needs for maintaining, or losing weight, or gaining weight. These are just calculations based on many years of research, but practically speaking no one can adhere or count calories.”
If you are wondering why 1200 calories only, then Dr Anjali further explains, “1200 calories plan is the least that a person of average height and weight should follow, so that they don’t go into a major deficit and lose muscle mass too while trying to lose weight.” But she cautions that calorie counting is not practical and can lead to errors and mistakes.
The diet plan will affect your energy levels making you cranky. When’s there’s work to be done or household chores to attend, would you fancy going through the day with an irritable mood? This is something you need to consider before taking a decision.
Moreover, this isn’t a practical, long-term solution. “Especially if someone works out and is active. Overall it’s the macros and the quality of food that matters and not the number of calories. Food is information and not a number. One should concentrate on eating healthy rather than eating unhealthy calories,” says Dr Anjali.
There are many misconceptions around such diets. Some people eat unhealthy calories and then compensate by not eating anything else to justify the unhealthy calorie consumption. “I have seen many people eating burger and fries as a meal and then not eating anything before or after. This means they consume almost 800 calories of no nutritive value. Once in a while it’s ok to binge on something you crave, doing it regularly and then cutting down on other food can lead to fatigue and other illnesses. The body needs optimal nutrition and a balanced calorie diet,” says Dr Anjali.
The final verdict
If you have a certain a goal in mind then you can do this for a short period of time and immediately stop if you feel weak or any experience any other discomfort. “1200 is the estimated number of calories a person should consume to be healthy. Calorie count below that is not advisable, though medically there are very low calorie diets (VLCD) used for therapeutic weight loss for many conditions but these have to be done under strict supervision of a medical professional,” adds Dr Anjali.