There are so many diets that we have to keep track of these days. There is keto, paleo, gluten-free, raw vegan and so many more. Some of these diets are more sustainable but some are merely fad diets. The 1,200 calorie diet can be added to the long list of current fad diets.
Is restricting heavily and cutting out almost 1000 calories from your food intake a healthy weight loss method? Moreover, is this method even sustainable?
Healthy, moderately active men ages 16-30 should consume 2000-3000 calories per day. Now, looking at this fact, dropping caloric intake of around 1000 calories seems quite excessive and quite frankly – scary. Overall, the answer to our headline question is no. No man should not eat a 1200 calorie diet. However, if you are looking to lose weight (healthily) FitTrack is a great supporting tool.
If you have been considering this diet an option, there are some things you need to know about it first.
- The diet lacks structure
Caloric restriction is the only guideline for this diet – this makes it sound a lot easier than it is. According to the USDA recommendations, active men need to eat double the calories of the 1200 diet in order to continue functioning properly in their day-to-day life. The lack of guidelines give with this diet makes it difficult to know whether you are following it ‘properly’ and even safely. There is no structure to what foods you should be eating so you don’t risk nutrient deficiencies.
There are different ways you can track your nutrients. Some use a tracking app and track every meal throughout the day, some people are more obsessed and measure all of their food. Others choose to make or subscribe to meal plans so that they know the specific amount of calories that are being consumed. There are different ways you can do it. However, an issue arises here if the only foods someone chooses to consume are junk food. What would be the effects of this on your health?
- Long-term health consequences
“Consuming too few calories can lead to metabolic, hormonal, and reproductive destruction to the body,” says Ilyse Shapiro. Calorie restriction of this amount can lead to a decrease in bone density and increase the chances of developing hip fractures and osteoporosis in men. There is a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and other similar health issues because the endocrine hormones are being disrupted. These endocrine hormones regulate insulin levels, tissue in the body, and adipose tissues.
In the long run, the body begins to adapt to the number of calories we are eating, this is due to our natural survival instincts. This means that the body will slow down the rate at which you burn calories, your metabolism will slow down. So, someone who only eats 1200 calories will burn fewer calories overall. Weight loss results will vary between people, some people may not lose weight at all or will need to maintain restriction for a longer period of time before seeing small results.
- Extreme hunger
Extreme hunger will begin to occur when your body is trying to communicate to you, telling you that you need to make up for past restrictions. It is very common to experience extreme hunger or loss of control with food when you have been dieting or restricting your food intake. It can be hard to think about anything else when feeling extreme hunger, not until you eat. It is the body’s response and a survival technique to being deprived of food.
As a result, your hunger hormones become out of sync. This becomes a struggle to deal with if you begin to go back to normal eating and not dieting. The process of getting back hunger cues takes months and months of effort and listening to your body. A lot of times this recovery process means eating a lot more calories than the usual amount, this is because your body needs to recover from the lack of nutrients.
Combining everything that has been discussed in this article, the result is that this diet is unsustainable. After a month or two of losing weight on this diet, you may want to go back to eating normally. However, there is a big chance you will experience extreme hunger when deciding to come out of the diet, before you know it you will be binging day and night. This is not something you can control, it is merely something that you have to cave into until it doesn’t control your body anymore. Weight loss does not determine whether your health is good because health comes from a healthy lifestyle. Thus, in the end, the recovery process of trying to go back to a nonrestrictive diet will be much harder and emotionally draining than the diet itself.