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Calorie deficit diet: Know everything about this go-to weight loss diet

Calorie deficit diet is one of the most famous diet plans that help people lose weight and for the right reasons. Here's everything you need to know about a calorie deficit diet.
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What is a calorie deficit diet? Image courtesy: Adobe stock
Arushi Bidhuri Published: 23 Dec 2023, 12:00 pm IST
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With so many diets out there, it is hard to keep up with which one works best for you. A calorie-deficit diet is one of the most effective diets that has proven to be a tried and tested way towards healthy weight loss. This is because your weight is directly related to the amount of calories you eat and drink. Let us explore this correlation and understand all about the calorie-deficit diet and whether it is safe to follow for someone trying to lose weight.

What is a calorie-deficit diet?

If you’re trying to lose weight, you may have heard about following a calorie-deficit diet to lose weight. A study published in the American Journal of Psychology, Endocrinology, and Metabolism found that the risk of obesity depends on a person’s total calorie intake. A calorie deficit is when you eat less number of calories than your body uses in a day, Dietitian Sushma PS tells Health Shots. “It is an important part of weight management because it encourages your body to burn fat for energy.”

A calorie-deficit diet is touted as an effective way to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way.

calorie deficit diet
Calorie deficit diet is one of the best weight loss diet. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

How to calculate calorie deficit?

A calorie-deficit diet is a nutritional approach focused on consuming fewer calories than your body expands, with the primary goal of weight loss. While it is easy to understand, some people can find it difficult to calculate the calorie deficit. We understand that the ratios can be confusing which is why we are sharing a simple way to calculate your calorie deficit.

“Calorie deficiencies are calculated by taking your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) and subtracting a specific number of calories from it to create a calorie deficit. The general rule of thumb is to aim to have a deficit of between 500 and 1000 calories a day, resulting in weight loss of approximately 1 to 2 pounds a week,” explains the expert. For example, if your TDEE is 2000 calories and you aim for a 500-calorie deficit, your target daily intake would be 1500 calories.

What are the foods you should eat on a calorie deficit diet?

Since you need to consume fewer calories than your body burns, you need to include more low-calorie foods in your diet. Dietitian Sushma says that one should include whole, unprocessed foods that nourish the body and mind as well. Here are some foods to add to a calorie deficit diet:

1. Fruits and vegetables: Rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, they are low in calories and high in nutrients.
2. Whole grains: Brown rice, quinoa, and oats provide sustained energy and are a good source of complex carbohydrates.
3. Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, and beans offer protein and fiber, promoting a feeling of fullness.
4. Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds provide healthy fats and additional nutrients.
5. Lean proteins: Include sources like tofu, tempeh, and low-fat dairy for protein without excess calories.

What are the foods one should avoid on a calorie-deficit diet?

When you are following a calorie-deficit diet, it is important to focus on nutrient-dense foods that provide essential vitamins and minerals without adding to your calorie count. Here are some foods that you must avoid:

1. Processed foods: High in unhealthy fats, sugars, and empty calories.
2. Sugary drinks: Sodas, fruit juices, and sugary beverages contribute unnecessary calories.
3. Fried foods: Avoid deep-fried items, as they are calorie-dense and can hinder weight loss efforts.
4. Refined carbohydrates: Limit white bread, white rice, and other refined grains, opting for whole grains instead.
5. Full-fat dairy: While dairy can be part of a balanced diet, opt for lower-fat versions to reduce calorie intake.
6. High-calorie condiments: Try to avoid things like mayonnaise, sauces, and creamy dressings as they are high in calories.

calorie deficit diet
Avoid junk and processed food while following a calorie deficit diet. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

1500 calorie deficit diet plan

A low-calorie diet can vary from one person to another, and you should talk to a nutritionist for some personalised guidance to keep your calorie intake in check. Here’s a sample 1500-calorie plan by Dietitian Sushma that you can try:

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1. Breakfast (300 calories): Oatmeal with fruits and a handful of nuts.
2. Lunch (400 calories): Quinoa salad with mixed vegetables and a lean protein source (tofu or grilled chicken).
3. Snack (150 calories): Greek yogurt with berries.
4. Dinner (450 calories): Baked or grilled fish with steamed vegetables and a side of brown rice.
5. Snack (200 calories): A small portion of mixed nuts and seeds.

It is vital to note that you pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues to avoid starving yourself or overeating. The key is to create a balance while following a calorie deficit diet. It is also important to stay hydrated and incorporate regular physical activity.

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About the Author

Arushi Bidhuri is a journalist with 7 years of experience in writing, editing, and conceptualizing story ideas across different genres, including health and wellness, lifestyle, politics, beauty, fashion, and more. Arushi has a strong connection in the industry that helps her write concise and original stories as she believes in working towards writing pieces that can enlighten people. ...Read More

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