Curious About Low-Calorie Diets? Here is the Guide

Taking in fewer calories than you burn is an effective way to lose weight, but following low-calorie diet is not as simple as you thought. Successful weight management requires lifestyle modifications that involve setting a realistic calorie goal, a balanced diet and exercise. The following guide provides helpful information on what you need to know to get started on a successful low-calorie diet.

According to the World Health Organization, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world. Type 2 diabetes is one of the fastest growing chronic diseases worldwide. People with metabolic syndrome, which refers to a collection of symptoms like hypertension and obesity, are also increasing at an exponential rate. These preventable diseases all share one common cause — a poor diet. Fortunately, you can drastically reduce your risk by improving your diet and losing weight

What is a Low-Calorie Diet?

A low-calorie diet is one that restricts your calories intake below the standard requirement. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans provides caloric intake levels that men and women need to maintain their respective weights. For men, they range from 2000 to 3000 calories daily based on age and activity levels. The caloric range for women is from 1800-2400 calories a day to maintain weight.

A low-calorie diet is one that is below your weight maintenance goal to promote weight loss. Health professionals usually recommend a 500 calorie deficit to your daily goal to yield a loss of one to two pounds per week. Generally, a low-calorie diet for men should be at least 1500 calories per day and 1300 calories per day for women depending on age and activity levels.

This conservative recommendation is to support an active lifestyle and prevent any negative health effects. As always, you should consult a medical professional or registered dietitian for a personalized weight loss plan.

How To Enjoy Full Flavors on Low-Calorie Diets

Don’t rush to the stores to stock up on low-calorie foods just yet! You will still be able to enjoy most the food without sacrificing taste or flavors. One simple way to start cutting calories is by focusing on small changes such as condiments and beverages. For example, two tablespoons of Ranch dressing has 145 calories and one tablespoon of mayonnaise has 94 calories. These calories add up fast so be mindful of the amount you consume or switch to a healthier alternative like Italian dressing or Greek yogurt. Same principle applies to beverages. Instead of a large cup of Frappacuino which contains at least 500 calories, opt for a smaller size or a lighter version and enjoy every sip of it.

Eat Balanced Meals and Focus on Variety is the Key

Contrary to popular belief, low calorie-diets do not necessarily mean less food. It all depends on where your calories come from. On a 1500 calorie diet for example, you can easily exceed the goal at one meal if you choose high calorie fast food options. Instead, you can build a healthy plate filled with lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables for far fewer calories and feel more satiated. This is the time to add more variety and color to your plate—not take away food from your diet. Most importantly, distribute your calories evenly throughout the day to keep your energy and metabolism up.

Staying Active

By adding regular exercise to your routine, you can expedite the weight loss process and see results faster. It creates a greater calorie deficit in the weight loss equation and helps to keep the weight off long term. The best exercise is the one you enjoy doing and can adhere to. From cardio, high intensity workouts, resistance training to fun group classes, there is always something for everyone. Not quite ready to exercise? A simple stroll around the park or a short walk during your lunch break all count as physical activity. The goal is to be active daily for at least 30 minutes.

Sometimes our busy schedules get in the way and it might be challenging to meet the daily nutrient requirements on low-calorie diets. The Xtend-Life Zupafood Elite supplement is a convenient solution to bridge the nutrient gap and support your overall health. Its proprietary blend of superfoods, medicinal mushrooms as well as spirulina help to boost your energy levels, slow down aging and support a healthy heart, digestion and immunity.

New research findings on low-calorie diets support the benefits of weight loss in prevention of chronic diseases especially for men. By adopting small lifestyle changes, eating balanced meals and staying active, both men and women can enjoy the benefits of low calorie diets without jeopardizing your health.


[1] WHO I The Top 10 Causes of Death. World Health Organization 2018. Accessed May 29, 2019.
[2] WHO | Diabetes. World Health Organization; WHO [Internet]. 2016 Available at: Accessed May 29, 2019.
[3] Christensen, P, Meinert Larsen, T, Westerterp‐Plantenga, M, et al. (2018). Men and women respond differently to rapid weight loss: Metabolic outcomes of a multi‐centre intervention study after a low‐energy diet in 2500 overweight, individuals with pre‐diabetes (PREVIEW). Diabetes Obes Metab. 20, 2840– 2851.
[4] 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Appendix 2. Estimated Calorie Needs per Day, by Age, Sex, and Physical Activity Levels.

2 Responses

Hi Murray,

Nice to hear from you. It’s been a long time since we talked. Hope all is well with you. The article in question and your response has just been brought to my attention and I have to say I totally agree with you. I have been studying this subject quite intensely for the last six months and there is no doubt that the obesity epidemic that we are faced with and all the health issues that flow on from this are as a result of people not being given the ‘full’ story. This article was written by a qualified nutritionist and there is a lot of support and validity for the points raised in the article.

One of the challenges that nutritionists (and Doctors) have is that they are really not taught the underlying principles of the relationship different foods and insulin response. Many of them are still being taught that fat is bad and will make you fat whereas the opposite is true so long as the calorie intake is not silly, and of course it is the right type of fat…natural fats, not processed.

There is no doubt that calorie restriction will cause someone to lose weight (in most cases) but it generally cannot be sustained long term because people get hungry on it, hence the diet yo-yo effect. The only long term solution to sustained healthy weight is understanding the insulin response and thus eating the type of foods that keep it under control whilst at the same time maintaining a sense of fullness and satisfaction.

I plan on doing a series of articles about this very important subject to help better explain it to our readers. Perhaps you may be interested in collaborating with me to do this. Drop me an email if you are interested in that.


Warren Matthews July 05 2019

It is more than 40 years since I did the P.Grad, Dip in Nutrition – and though I never practiced I still have good recall. Your contention about calories in and calories out was disproven then. Subsequrnt research – by significant institutes (Mayo, Harvard, Barts, Karolinska, UC.SD), since 2000, which have all discarded this theory as far too simplistic. Of course there is a link to food intake but, except in extreme cases of over eating (or under-eating as in anorexia), that link is tenuous. To lose weight – after 40+ years it hasn’t changed – you must control the release of the storage hormone insulin.

If you are a Type 1 diabetic – taking corrective insulin invariably puts on weight. If the T1 diabetes is not treated (as in the past), the person faded away – as if anorexic – and eventually died – even though eating appropriate volumes of food. Many diabetics complain of the significant weight gain they experience when taking the replacement hormone – and physisicans try to adjust the dose to prevent this – as much as possible.

Long story short – where we disagree is in “counting calories” – this is unnecessary and not only tedious but depressing. Should you wish to lose weight – simply reduce all sources of refined carbohydrates to a minimum – note, not exclude everything but minimise. So one slice of bread not four, one, small potato not two or more, 1/8 (uncooked) of a cup of rice not a 1/4 cup, no snacking on muffins or biscuits and so on. If it comes in a box – don’t eat it.

Murray July 05 2019

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