Cutting calories is a method people often use to shed extra weight and bump up fat burning.
Calorie-restricted diets are popular because they’re flexible, easy-to-follow, and they let you enjoy your favorite foods — in moderation.
However, some claim that consuming too few calories can be unhealthy, ineffective, and downright dangerous.
This article looks at whether a 1,000-calorie diet can help you lose weight, how to follow it for best results, and why it’s not for everyone.Share on Pinterest
What Is a 1,000-Calorie Diet?
A 1,000-calorie diet focuses on cutting calories to promote weight loss.
Calories are units that represent the amount of energy your body obtains from the foods and drinks that you consume.
Your body needs a certain number of calories to function — to move, breathe, and pump blood through your veins, for example.
Excess calories are stored as either glycogen — a storage form of carbohydrates — in your muscles or as body fat (1).
A 1,000-calorie diet swaps certain foods with lower-calorie alternatives to create a calorie deficit. This forces your body to burn through its energy stores, increasing fat and weight loss ().Summary Your body stores excess calories either as glycogen in your muscles or as body fat. A 1,000-calorie diet reduces calorie intake to promote fat and weight loss.
Does It Work for Weight Loss?
Research has repeatedly proven that creating a calorie deficit by decreasing calorie consumption is vital to weight loss (3, 4, 5).
Therefore, you’ll very likely lose weight by limiting your calorie intake to just 1,000 calories per day.
However, consuming too few calories may decrease your metabolism over time, which can make it harder to lose and keep off weight in the long run (6).
Additionally, not all calories are created equal. The foods you choose to eat can have different effects on your metabolism, hunger, hormone levels, and overall health.
For instance, eating a lot of protein can decrease appetite, temporarily increase metabolism, and reduce levels of ghrelin, the hormone responsible for stimulating hunger (7, 8, 9).
Meanwhile, a diet high in refined carbs is likely to cause fluctuations in blood sugar, which can contribute to increased hunger levels and overeating (10).
For this reason, while calorie counting can be effective for weight loss, it shouldn’t be the only factor to consider.
For example, eating 1,000 calories a day of low-nutrient junk food could potentially lead to weight loss but may also leave you feeling sluggish, deprived, and hungry.Summary Consuming 1,000 calories per day can lead to weight loss, but it may decrease your metabolism over time. While creating a calorie deficit is important, it’s not the only factor worth considering.
People favor calorie-restricted diets for their flexibility and ease.
You can enjoy just about any food or drink on a low-calorie diet, as long as it fits within your daily calorie allotment.
Low-calorie diets have also been linked to other health benefits.
For example, animal studies show that short-term calorie restriction may decrease levels of several markers of inflammation (11, 12).
Sustaining high levels of inflammation over time is thought to contribute to the development of chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer ().
Other research suggests that cutting calories could slow aging and extend longevity (, 15).
It may also improve heart health by reducing cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and triglycerides — all of which increase heart disease risk (16, 17, 18).Summary Calorie-restricted diets are flexible and easy to follow. Low-calorie diets also improve heart health, decrease inflammation, and increase longevity.
Foods to Eat
No foods are off-limits on a 1,000-calorie diet, as long as they fit within your daily calorie allotment.
However, it’s best to prioritize low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods whenever possible to maximize the overall quality of your diet.
Add a good mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins into each meal to ensure you’re getting the micronutrients your body needs.
Try incorporating the following foods and beverages into your 1,000-calorie diet:
- Fruits: apples, blueberries, oranges, peaches, raspberries, and strawberries
- Vegetables: asparagus, broccoli, bell peppers, cauliflower, mushrooms, and tomatoes
- Grains: barley, buckwheat, oats, quinoa, and rice
- Meat: lean cuts of beef, pork, and lamb
- Fish: anchovies, codfish, flounder, salmon, sardines, and tuna.
- Poultry: chicken and turkey
- Eggs and egg whites
- Legumes: beans, chickpeas, lentils, and peas
- Dairy products: low-fat or skim milk, unsweetened yogurt, and low-fat cheese
- Beverages: water, unsweetened tea, black coffee, and nut milks
- Spices: thyme, oregano, cumin, basil, paprika, and turmeric
- Condiments: soy sauce, mustard, salsa, and vinaigrettes
Foods to Avoid
Though nearly any food can be included as part of a 1,000-calorie diet, it’s recommended that you limit your consumption of high-calorie ingredients.
Processed foods, sweets, and sugary beverages provide a high number of calories with little nutrition.
Try limiting or avoiding these foods while on a 1,000-calorie diet:
- Dairy products: ice cream, sweetened yogurt, pudding, and frozen yogurt
- Condiments: cream cheese, mayonnaise, creamy salad dressings, sugar, and tartar sauce
- Prepared foods: baked goods, breakfast cereals, chips, convenience meals, pizza, and other fast food
- Beverages: alcohol, fruit juice, soda, sports drinks, and sweet teas
- Red meat: high-fat cuts of bacon, beef, pork, and sausage
- Sugary foods: cookies, candies, cakes, pies, and chocolates
- Refined carbs: white bread, pasta, pastries, pancakes, and muffins
- Fried foods: donuts, French fries, mozzarella sticks, and fried chicken
Sample Meal Plan
Here’s a one-week sample meal plan that highlights some of the foods you can enjoy as part of a 1,000-calorie diet:
- Breakfast: 2 boiled eggs with 1 slice of whole-wheat bread — 225 calories
- Snack: 1/2 cup (75 grams) of red bell peppers with 1 ounce (28 grams) of hummus — 77 calories
- Lunch: 3 ounces (84 grams) of grilled chicken with 4 roasted asparagus spears and 1/2 cup (93 grams) of cooked quinoa — 260 calories
- Snack: 5 crackers with 1 ounce (28 grams) of cheese — 194 calories
- Dinner: 1 cup (118 grams) of zucchini noodles with 3 ounces (85 grams) of turkey meatballs and 1/2 cup (120 ml) of tomato sauce — 251 calories
- Breakfast: 2/3 cup (150 grams) of plain Greek yogurt with 1 tablespoon (14 grams) of chia seeds and 1 cup (152 grams) of sliced strawberries — 250 calories
- Snack: 1 medium apple — 95 calories
- Lunch: veggie burger with lettuce wrap, 1/2 cup (78 grams) of potato wedges, and 1 cup (91 grams) of steamed broccoli — 223 calories
- Snack: 4 cups (32 grams) of air-popped popcorn — 124 calories
- Dinner: 3 ounces (85 grams) of baked salmon with a side salad and 1/2 cup (98 grams) of cooked brown rice — 308 calories
- Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs with mixed veggies — 175 calories
- Snack: 1 ounce (28 grams) of mixed nuts — 172 calories
- Lunch: salad with mixed greens, 3 ounces (84 grams) of chicken, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, and 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of vinaigrette — 278 calories
- Snack: 1 cup (67 grams) of baked kale chips — 50 calories
- Dinner: sandwich with 2 slices of whole-wheat bread, 1 ounce (28 grams) of deli meat, tomatoes, and lettuce with 1/2 cup (119 grams) of baked sweet potatoes — 294 calories
- Breakfast: 1 cup (234 grams) of cooked oatmeal with 1 cup (148 grams) of blueberries — 243 calories
- Snack: 1 cup (165 grams) of sliced mango — 107 calories
- Lunch: 3 ounces (85 grams) of pork chops with 1/2 cup (90 grams) of steamed spinach and 1/2 cup (91 grams) of cooked bulgur — 263 calories
- Snack: 1 medium banana — 105 calories
- Dinner: 2 zucchini boats stuffed with 3 ounces (85 grams) of lean ground beef and mixed veggies — 270 calories
- Breakfast: 2 ounces (56 grams) of cooked turkey sausage with 2 boiled egg whites and 1 small banana — 214 calories
- Snack: 1 cup (92 grams) of grapes — 62 calories
- Lunch: flatbread with 1/2 cup (120 ml) of tomato sauce, 1 ounce (28 grams) of cheese, spinach, mushrooms, and peppers — 360 calories
- Snack: 1 medium apple and 2 tablespoons (32 grams) of peanut butter — 283 calories
- Dinner: 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of shirataki noodles with 1/2 cup (75 grams) of bell peppers, 1/2 cup (35 grams) of mushrooms, and 1/2 cup (120 ml) of tomato sauce — 93 calories
- Breakfast: smoothie with 1 scoop (30 grams) of whey protein, 1 cup (148 grams) of berries, 1 cup (30 grams) of spinach, and 1 cup (240 ml) of unsweetened almond milk — 188 calories
- Snack: 1 medium orange — 62 calories
- Lunch: taco salad with 3 ounces (85 grams) of lean ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, bell peppers, and 1/2 cup (73 grams) of sliced avocado — 330 calories
- Snack: 1 cup (227 grams) of Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup (74 grams) of blueberries — 163 calories
- Dinner: 3 ounces (85 grams) of turkey breast with 1 cup (88 grams) of roasted Brussels sprouts and 1/2 cup (93 grams) of cooked quinoa — 239 calories
- Breakfast: breakfast sandwich with 2 slices of whole-wheat bread, 2 slices of turkey bacon, and 1 cooked egg — 278 calories
- Snack: 1 ounce (28 grams) of almonds — 163 calories
- Lunch: low-carb tortilla wrap with 3 ounces (85 grams) of tuna, 2 tomato slices, and lettuce — 170 calories
- Snack: 1 ounce (28 grams) of roasted pumpkin seeds — 126 calories
- Dinner: 1/2 stuffed acorn squash with 3 ounces (85 grams) of shredded chicken and stir-fried veggies — 260 calories
Though cutting calories can be effective for weight loss, a 1,000-calorie diet plan is not recommended for everyone.
For starters, the diet is likely well below the recommended number of calories for most people, including those who are very active or have increased nutrient needs.
In addition to decreasing your metabolism, following a very-low-calorie diet for a prolonged period may lower immunity, disrupt fertility, and impair bone growth. (6, 19, 20, 21).
Severely restricting food intake can also make it harder to get the nutrients your body needs.
A 1,000-calorie diet is not recommended for those with increased nutritional needs, including adolescents and those who are pregnant or have underlying health conditions.
Before starting this or any diet, consider consulting with a registered dietitian. They can assist with meal planning and ensure you’re meeting your nutritional needs.Summary Following a 1,000-calorie diet can make it difficult to get the nutrients your body needs, which could increase your risk of adverse health effects.
The Bottom Line
Decreasing your calorie intake can be an effective weight loss method, but it’s important to focus on the nutritional quality of food rather than their calorie content.
Additionally, decreasing your daily intake to just 1,000 calories can have negative effects on health and may not be sustainable long term.
1000 Calorie Diabetic Diet - Sample Menu and Guidelines
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