If you are the sort of person that can watch your calorie intake carefully on a daily basis, then this type of diet may work really well for you. From Cabbage Soup to Scarsdale, eating less calories than you consume means you're in deficit.
Just one of the many types of diet you could use for losing weight, a low calorie diet is all about watching your daily intake of calories to ensure you stay below the amount your body actually needs to maintain weight. If you eat slightly less than your body needs, your body starts to use fat to generate the energy it requires, meaning you lose fat and therefore weight!
A low calorie diet is one typically around a consumption value of 800 - 900 calories per day. That is about the lowest number you should really be aiming for - coupled with medical advice.
According to NHS Direct (see Further Reading below), an "average man" requires about 2,500 calories in order to maintain his weight and an average woman requires around 2,000 calories a day.
It is essential to consult medical advice prior to embarking upon any type of diet, but moreso with one that means you are eating less calories than you need. The recommended duration of such eating habits should not really exceed three to six months as the consequences may prove to be harmful to your health as opposed to beneficial.
Low calorie diets should only be used by people who are classed as "overweight" or "obese". They can be extremely useful in the quest to lose weight, but they can also be very dangerous as your energy levels may end up very low or even inadequate for your daily requirements.
Short term weight loss results are good but in the long term, dieting alone may not produce the results you're after. Losing significant amounts of weight can reduce various risks to your health including heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.
Dieting alone cannot help you to achieve long term or sustainable weight loss results.
As you will find throughout our site, we advocate strongly a combination of two key factors. The first is a sensible eating plan, the second taking regular exercise. This will enable almost all slimmers to lose weight effectively and efficiently, over a prolonged period of time.
There are some known side effects of a low calorie intake over a prolonged period and you won't be surprised to find they are "deficiency diseases". Insufficient nutrients in the diet can lead to common conditions such as diarrhoea, fatigue, weakness, constipation and sometimes nausea.
Although these are usually only short term side effects, they can pose health problems if this type of restricted calorie consumption continues for longer than about six months.
A dramatic reduction in calorie consumption can have other negative effects in that if you then undertake exercise, this can in itself be dangerous as your energy levels will be so depleted.
Children, pregnant women or those suffering from illnesses should avoid such diets and before embarking upon this or any restricted calorie diet plan, a doctor or medical professional should be consulted to ensure you're eating sensibly and safely.
The problem with any diet plan is that it will not help you to achieve long term, sustainable results unless it is combined with regular physical activity. A very cautious approval for this route. You will lose weight, but this is only to be undertaken with medical guidance due to ease of deficiency diseases and very low energy levels.
Examples of diet plans
NHS Choices - Daily Intake of Calories