Low-calorie Diet plans: Suggestions and Examples

Low-calorie diets have different types of restricted-calorie diet plans such as 500 calories, 800 calories, 1000, calories, and 1200 calories.

Individuals with obesity or overweight may use a low-calorie diet for weight loss. A doctor may suggest this for healthy weight loss. However, they may not suitable for everyone and cause risk.

Keep reading to find out detailed information about low-calorie diet plans.

Daily Calorie Requirements

People on low-calorie meal plans should assure that they are having sufficient nutrients. The calorie requirement depends on age, gender, and physical activity levels.

It also depends on weight, height, and weight loss goals.


Low-Calorie Diets

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Some low-calorie diets restrict calories to a specific number, such as 1200 or 1500 every day. While choosing a low-calorie diet to lose weight, a person must ensure that their food is nutritionally balanced.

There are different meal plans found online. A person should preferably choose a diet that a professional nutritionist has created to assure that the meals consist of important nutrients like minerals, vitamins, and fiber.

Choose unprocessed and healthful food to complete the calorie requirement. For example, a large metal bowl with soda and fries consists of 1,320 calories, but this would not enough to meet the daily key nutrients of a person.


Very Low-Calorie Diets

A very low-calorie diet has lower than 800 calories every day. Some very low calories diets have 500 calories each day. An individual should not begin a very low-calorie diet without medical support, as it could be risky for health.

The physician may consider a very low-calorie diet to be correct for people with obesity, who are not suitable for bariatric surgery and require to lose weight safely and quickly.

The physician may give a liquid type of a very low-calorie diet for a particular time length. The drink will consist of minerals, vitamins, fatty acids, and electrolytes. They may also monitor blood pressure and weight loss and take blood tests to assure that the person is healthy.


500 Calorie Diet Plan

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A 500-calorie diet is an extremely low form of calorie diet. It is also called the VLCD diet. It needs you to drastically lower the foods you regularly eat, commonly a maximum of 800 calories every day.

VLCDs use meal replacements such as shakes, drinks, and prepared food bars in place of meals for at least 2 meals every day. This diet is for very overweight and unable to lose weight after following various diet plans.

This diet can be harmful and need medical supervision.


How Much Are 500 Calories?

You can get thought about how much or how less 500 calories are when you think about the calorie count of popular foods.

The USDA count that some of a slice of pepperoni pizza or peanuts consist of about 250 calories. An apple consists of shorter than 80 calories, while 2 pieces of fried chicken consist of 400 calories.


You Still Want Nutrition

The 500-calorie diet plan does not limit the carbohydrates and diet you consume. A serving of chocolate pound cake and one glass of milk include around 500 calories. However, that so-called meal does not even come near to giving the nutrients you need, even if you are just resting in a meeting.

Despite calorie count, a well-rounded diet has vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins.


Example: 500 Calorie Diet Plan



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A small banana with half a cup cottage cheese (low fat)


1 whole-wheat toast with one hard-boiled egg


Low-fat milk 1 cup with Unsweetened cereal ¾ cup


Skimmed milk or Decaffeinated tea – 230 ml

You may also choose low-calorie fruits like grapes, melon, and oranges. For sweetening milk or tea use stevia or saccharin. Do not forget to drink more water because it keeps you hydrated.



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Eat fish or grilled chicken and mixed greens of 3 cups and 85 gms.


Have 1 cup vegetable soup prepared with broccoli, cabbage, spinach, and other leafy vegetables


Eat turkey rolls with mustard and lettuce with whole-grain crackers (fat-free) up to 2 crackers and 55 gm turkey.


Then eat blueberries with yogurt in one cup.

Drink at least 470 ml water during lunch. Skip oils for salad dressing. Instead, you can use soy sauce, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar.



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Salad of raw vegetables one bowl


Broccoli, tossed in cocktail sauce 1 cup and shrimps 15


One cup Stire fry veggies like carrot, bok choy, celery, beans, and tofu, 2 tablespoon broth combined with one tsp soy sauce


Egg white Omelette – 4 eggs

Mushroom – half cup

Spinach – half cup

Low-fat cheddar cheese 15 gms



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Ketosis is a body state, wherein it is fueled by fat. The 500-calorie diet plan is the perfect diet plan for fast weight loss. It can be called a starvation diet plan. When the body is deprived of many nutrients, it begins using stored fats to generate energy. When these fats start burning, ketosis develops.

The ketosis side effect includes heart palpitations, leg cramps, lethargy, headache, and irritability. The side effect remains minor and can be avoided by enough salt and fluids consumption.


Side Effects of 500 Calorie Diet

Danger Of Deficiencies

The high risk linked with a 500-calorie diet linked to mineral and vitamin deficiencies. Mineral and vitamin deficiencies can cause different health problems. Most people cannot reach their mineral and vitamin needs if they eat lower than 1200 calories every day.


Muscle Loss

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A 500-calorie diet can also cause a risk of muscle loss. Once the body has consumed fat storage, it starts to burn healthy muscle.

Metabolic Changes

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Another health risk to remember that when considering a 500 calorie diet your metabolism will change when you lower the calorie consumption for a long time. Severe calorie restriction for a long time will cause a slower metabolism. This can cause you to burn fewer calories. Also, when you reduce weight, you then require fewer calories to manage new weight than you needed for your original weight.


Suggestion on 500 Calorie Diet

A 500-calorie diet plan is very restrictive and advised only for obese people. It is necessarily important to follow this diet under medical supervision. Because if your body reacts negatively to this diet, then you can immediately take doctor help.

This diet is not for people with diabetes, kidney diseases, heart diseases, Gallstones, thyroid, and Gout.

Only consider a 500-calorie diet only if you are healthy and have obesity and free from other risky diseases.

7 Days 800 Calorie Diet Plan

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The 800 diets is introduced by Dr.Michael Mosley, is a new emphasis of his 5:2 diet. It motivates people to consume 800 calories every day, fast intermittently, and change some meals with nutritious shakes. Dr. Molsey suggests eating 800 calories per day for a reduction of two weeks but can follow the plan for more time.

Day 1

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Eat berry and watermelon salad with buckwheat.

Berries are a beneficial superfood but do not forget watermelon. It provides low calories, with potassium, vitamin C, and pectin, which is a soluble fiber to help in blood cholesterol levels.


Eat healthy zucchini superfood slices. These zucchini slices have kale, quinoa, which make them perfect for lunch.


Eat two wholegrain corn thinly topped with one boiled egg slices and half grated carrot.


Eat Chermoula-grilled-calamari-salad

Add calamari in chermoula and grill it for a tasty addition to this quick low-fat salad that can be cooked in 10 minutes.


Day 2

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Eat Mediterranean omelet wraps


Eat lentil and Broccoli salad with pine nuts and chili


Have Edamame salad with Miso beef skewers for dinner.


Have 100g low-fat Greek-style natural yogurt with strawberries topping.


Day 3

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Caprese toasts


Mediterranean tuna with rice bake


Eat 20 g cheddar cheese with half Lebanese cucumber and 4 cherry tomatoes


Eat roasted mushroom, ricotta, and spinach


Day 4

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Green toad in the hole is a classic breakfast with feta, spinach, and eggs. Every serving has 281 calories.


Have 1 medium banana


Have Spicy bean soup


Japanese chicken with rice and greens


Day 5

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Have Yogurt with couscous fruit pot


For lunch eat beetroot dip, shaved ham, with wholegrain salad wrap.


Eat 20g roasted almonds (unsalted)


Mediterranean fish parcels


Day 6

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Eat Green breakfast smoothie


Have one regular white coffee with low-fat milk


Eat snow pea, chicken, and roasted pumpkin salad


Have grilled tofu with Asian greens, brown rice, and chili sesame dressing.

Day 7

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Eat peas, zucchini, ricotta, and mint


Have chickpea salad and spicy eggplant with paprika yogurt


Eat pork saltimbocca and roasted parsnip salad


Eat 100 g low-fat greek style natural yogurt with one passionfruit topping.


Is The 800 Calorie Diet Safe?

It may not safe for everyone. As a general rule, males and females need about 2500 and 2000 calories, respectively to balance weight. You should remember that this is not a sufficient number as you recommended every day caloric consumption is determined by weight, height, ages, and level of physical activity. When trying to reduce weight, it is advisable to reduce everyday caloric consumption by 500 to 1000 calories per day.

It can help to lower 1-2 pounds a week. However, even with a deficiency of calories, your everyday caloric consumption should not lower than 800 calories a day.

Side Effects of an 800 Calorie Diet?

Increased Risk of Illnesses

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Following 800 calories may cause illness because of low carb, low blood pressure. Following an 800-calorie diet for the long term can cause cardiovascular ailments and cancer.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Low carb eating also causes nutrient deficiencies of iron, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, folates, magnesium, and thiamin.

These nutrient deficiencies can cause muscle weakness, weak immune system, hair loss, more fracture, and bone weakness.

Low protein can also cause fatty liver problems.

Temporary Side Effects

Some temporary but life-threatening side effects of an 800-calorie diet include constipation, fatigue, diarrhea, and nausea.

Gallstones Risk

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A low-calorie diet like 800 may cause a risk of gallstones.

Lower Your Metabolism

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This diet may also cause lower metabolism by lowering energy.

Reduce Fertility

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The luteinizing hormone is the hormone of reproduction in the pituitary gland that impact female and male.

Weaken Your Bones

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Following 800 calories diet may also lower estrogen levels. It also lowers bone mass in a woman who does the workout.

You May Gain Weight

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Very low-calorie diet and crash diet are popular for being unsustainable. Most of us would not able to manage an 800-calorie diet plan for more than one week. As this is a restrictive diet, many will quit it and gain weight.

How Much Weight Do You Lose with An 800-Calorie Diet?

The information on the 800 calories weight loss may differ. Some sources claim that the normal weight loss on a very low-calorie diet is 1-3 pounds in a week. On the other hand, others’ diets promise 3-5 pounds every week. However, these are only estimations. Weight loss does not depend on only diet but other factors like exercise, eating habits, and metabolism.

If you lower an average of 3.5 pounds a week, this would be equal to an 800-calorie diet reduce 14 pounds that are 6 kgs a month. 

Suggestion on 800 Calorie Diet

The 800-calorie diet is a 7 days diet plan. Its claim to reduce 1-2 pounds in a week. You can also continue this diet after completing your weight loss goal.

But people already suffering from health conditions such as nutrient deficiency, illness, metabolic disease, facing fertility problems, have weak bones, suffering from gallstones, or have a history of this disease can not follow this diet. It is not suitable for that individual health and leads to increase risk.

Therefore, try to know your complete health and clear all tests and take your doctor’s advice before considering this diet.

1000 Calorie Diet Plan

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A 1000 calorie diet plan is also one of the low-calorie diets advised for fast weight loss. The reason after the 100-calorie diet plan is that a severe decrease in calorie consumption leads to weight loss without physical activity. In this diet, you are permitted to eat more low-calorie fruit, fewer carbohydrates, lean protein, and vegetable. A low-calorie diet is beneficial for weight loss by an aggregate of 8%, but it is for the short term.

Make sure to talk to your physician before going for this diet because it requires immediate calorie reduction.

1000 Calories Diet Plan

Diet Plan 1

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Early Morning: 6 calories

Drink warm water with Apple cider vinegar

Breakfast: 86

Eat one bowl of fruit with two boiled egg

Pre-Lunch: 154 calories

Eat 100 g of yogurt (low-fat)

Lunch Lettuce taco with yogurt sauce 351

Post-Lunch: 46

Eat one bowl of watermelon

Evening Snack: 142

Eat 2 digestive biscuits with green tea.

Dinner: 221 calories

Eat a vegan salad with fat-free dressing


Diet Plan 2

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1 whole-wheat English muffin (120)

1 cup of fruit (74)

1 pat butter (36)

8 ounces of water (0)

1 tea or coffee (0)



1 huge tossed salad with 2 tablespoon dressing (100)

Eat one serving of low-fat wheat thin crackers (130)

Half cup of tuna or 5 oz lite mayo


Eat 12 ounces of diet drink (0)



Eat one cup of sliced fruit (74)



One small tossed salad with two tablespoons of dressing (61)

Have 4 ounces of grilled chicken breast (skinless) (189)

1 pat butter (36)

1 cup of green beans (44)

12 ounces of water (0)


Diet Plan 3

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Banana Smoothie

  • 1 tsp honey (16)
  • 1/2 cup [8 oz.] low-fat & plain, yogurt (77)
  • 1 tbsp flaxseeds (55)
  • 1/2 banana (50)
  • 1 cup fresh/frozen berries (97)
  • 1/2 cup water (0)


  • 2-cups popcorn (air-popped) (62)


Eat mixed Tuna Salad with walnut topping

  • 3 oz. water-packed tuna, drained (99)
  • 1 chopped apple (94)
  • 2 cups lettuce leaves (10)
  • 1 tbsp low-fat mayonnaise (45)
  • 1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt (36)
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced (0)
  • 4 walnut, chopped (53)


4 oz. very lean ground beef (149)

1 small grated carrot (21)

1 tbsp ketchup (15)

1 egg (72)

1/2 onion (finely chopped) (24)

1/2 cup cucumber (sliced) (8)

2 cups lettuce(shredded) (10)

1 tomato (sliced) (16)

Combine ground beef, egg, grated carrot, ketchup, and onion to make a patty. Dry fry and serve with salad.



Side Effects of 1000 calorie diet

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It lacks important nutrient for energy

A high reduction in calories can help to face difficulty during walking digesting food.

It causes fatigue



Starvation and exhaustion

Reduce metabolism causing rapid weight gain

Internal damage because of energy loss, dehydration, muscle loss, and weaker nails.

1000 Calorie Diet Results are perfect and phenomenal if you have an aim. But, make sure to remember to take advice from the professional for a weight loss diet.

Suggestion on 1000 Calorie Diet

Experts agree that this diet is effective for the short term but not for a long-term diet plan. A restrictive low-calorie diet can have significant weight loss but once you stop you may regain the weight.

These types of diets are not suitable for the long term and difficult to continue. It may also cause unpleasant side effects.

1200 Calorie Diet Plan

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A 1200 calorie diet is a plan of eating limited daily calories that you eat 1200. This diet is considered a reduced-calorie diet because it provides fewer calories than most average adults require to manage their weight.

Different healthcare providers, including dietitians and doctors, recommend low calories diets as a go-to strategy for weight loss. A common suggestion to spark weight loss is to lower calorie consumption by 500 to 50 calories every day. It is commonly translated to a low-calorie diet of 1200 to 1500 calories for adult females and 1500-1800 calories every day for adult males (Source).

This diet is also followed for short time in a month to boost rapid weight loss.

This low-calorie diet is also used in clinical settings under clinical supervision, such as weight loss but they are famous to the general public also.

Possible Benefits of A 1,200-Calorie Diet

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Following a 1200 calorie diet plan may offer good health benefits, but it is not necessary to note that these benefits are linked with calorie restriction, in common, and not particular to 1200 calorie meal plans.

Regularly eating extra calories than your body requires can cause weight gain, heart problem risk, and diabetes.

Feeding your body with the appropriate number of calories is necessary for good health preservation. Different studies have shown that lower calories help to boost weight loss, lower heart problem risk, lower bad cholesterol, and high blood sugar.

Weight reduction provides good health benefits and increases life.

However, the methods used to boost weight loss matter and using less calorie, and restrictive diet method is strongly linked with high chances of weight regain with time.

Therefore, while losing extra body weight can help your complete health, it is essential to choose sustainable and healthy weight loss methods with extreme dietary patterns.

Note: People with obesity should follow a low-calorie diet under supervision to improve blood sugar, lipid profiles, which can increase overall health.

Potential Downsides

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Calorie requirements are highly personalized and depend on different factors, such as age, body size, and activity level. A 1200 calorie diet is not proper for most adults like smaller women.

Though calorie needs differ from person to person and specific needs can only be determined using particular calculations or equipment or calculation, the average female needs 2000 calories every day to manage weight, while a man requires around 2,500 calories.

Again, these numbers are only averaging and do not show the differences in calorie requirement because of age, height, and activity levels. However, these calorie requirement calculations provide an idea of how reduced 1200 calories is.

A diet of 1200 calories for most people causes side effects such as



Extreme hunger


Micronutrient deficiencies



Moreover, a 1200 calorie diet will not help for long-term weight loss.

Low calories lead to changes in metabolism in the body. These include high hormone production like cortisol and ghrelin, which increase hunger, also reduce resting metabolic rate or the calories that you burn during rest.

It leads to a greater risk of weight regain with time, the also different cycle of repeated time of weight loss followed by weight regain that different chronic dieters feel, which commonly cause despair feelings.

Weight cycling is dangerous to mental health, and study has shown that repeated dieting with weight cycling can cause heart difficulties and stress lead to a high consumption disorder, improved mortality, and type 2 diabetes. 

Suggestion on 1200 Calorie Diet

A 1200 calorie diet is healthy for a short-term goal. Healthy people can follow it to lose weight. This diet depends on individuals’ need for calories. Therefore, everyone has different effects of this diet.

People already suffering from nausea, gallstones, migraine, or any other health condition may not suitable for this diet and need physician advice after complete health tests.

Tips for weight loss

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According to experts, weight loss needs to be done safely with the following tips:

Keep the aim of losing 1-2 pounds of weight every week for 6 months.

Try to reduce 500 to 1000 calories every day.

Add 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day.

After 6 months, analyze weight loss and plan your next move.

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