Low-Calorie Diet: Benefits, Drawbacks and Some Practical Aspects

Anyone, who once tried to lose weight with a low-calorie diet, knows that this diet is very effective, but at the beginning only, and, unfortunately, it is practically impossible to keep the results achieved. In many cases the weight returns fast after quitting the diet.

Why it happens?

Daily intake of a man is equal to about 2,500-2,800 calories. With the low-calorie diet we should decrease amount of consumed calories to lose weight. For example, if we decrease our intake to 1,900-2,000, we will create a deficiency of 600 calories. It is logical that our organism, which gets used to receive 2,500-2,800 calories, suffers from that deficiency of calories and will try to compensate it with its own stock, in particular with the body fat. So decrease of the amount of calories inevitably leads to weight loss.

Unfortunately at some moment (individually for each man) the process of further weight loss comes to its end in spite of strict following to the diet. Why it happens? After our organism has began to get only 1,900-2,200 a day, it adapts to that intake and uses it more effectively, as the result your weight becomes stable again. Then things go from bad to worse. We stoically stick to the diet, but our weight is going up. Terrible! We eat less but our weight grows.

What is the reason?

It is quite simple. Limitation in our ration has triggered survival system of our organism. It gets used to decrease in energy supply and balances its consumption with the received energy. Even if we decrease intake for other 300 calories a day, our organism will adapt to it as well. Undernourishment of the organism raises its resistance to the process.

If you ever tried a low-calorie diet, you know perfectly well that any small deviation from it, such as the Thanksgiving Day, can inflict gaining of 4-7 lb in a single day, to lose which you have spent several weeks. If you miss one meal, your organism falls in panic. And you can be sure that next meal it will make up for the missed energy and it makes stock in any case.

The low-calorie diet has three consecutive stages: weight loss, stabilization of the weight and restoration of the weight. While every next attempt to lose weight with the low-calorie diet will be less effective than the previous one. You remember that your weight is recorded in your genes, don’t you?

Michele Montignac, a famous nutritionist, in his books pointed at the above mentioned shortcomings of the low-calorie diets. I am not going to dispute opinion of that prominent international executive for US pharmaceutical industry. The only remark is about his hereditary obesity: he followed his father and suffered from excess weight in his youth. It suggests that he developed his famous method for people suffering from obesity and for them only.

As for me, I have no “bad” heredity and I have experience of my own with a low-calorie diet. It cannot be defined either success or failure. I did not jump to the diet like into the cold river, but decreased the amount of calories gradually. In the first three months I lost 26 lb. It exceeded my expectations, and I raised calories in my meals. The process went slower, practically, the weight remained at the same level. There were days when I gained even 3 lb, but it was nothing, compared with lost 26. So, keeping a reasonable low-calorie diet (without hunger fainting) I kept my weight for almost 2 years. If I exceeded the amount of calories one day, the next one was a fasting day.

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