This content has been Fact-Checked by a Certified Nutritionist in our Publishing Team. Learn more here. Always consult a medical professional before commencing any diet.
Following a 1000 calorie diet is certainly a big challenge!
However, if you are in desperate need of losing weight, this a doable solution if done right.
What to expect when on this diet and if it is actually safe to do so, and for how long?
Let’s dive in and find out!
1000 Calorie Diet – How Does It Work?
What is a 1000 calorie diet?
The 1000 calorie diet is a low carb diet that allows you to eat limited low-calorie fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.
According to Mayo Clinic, to lose one pound of fat, you will need to burn 3,500 calories.
This translates to losing 1 to 2 pounds a week if you cut your calorie intake by 500 to 1000 calories per day.
While a low-calorie diet effectively spurs weight loss, it is sustainable in the long term.
Because your food choices are limited and great willpower is needed to stay on track your calorie count.
This makes the 1000 calorie diet a start-stop diet plan for when you need to lose some pounds fast.
To maintain your weight loss goals after the 1000 calorie diet, you can transition to a natural and healthy diet without going overboard.
Here are some tips that will set you on track to losing weight and getting rid of that stubborn belly fat:
1. Chose Wholesome, Nutrient Dense Food
Being restricted to 1000 calories per day means you will have to make very conscious and careful decisions about what to eat.
This is because you can easily bust your daily calorie quota with the wrong types of food.
On a low-calorie diet, you should eat high macronutrients and maintain sufficient protein intake.
If you decide to make changes to our diet plan, do make sure you meet your daily macronutrient goals.
Stay away from processed foods, and fast foods because it contains a lot of calories, sugar, and non-healthy fats.
Download a food app to help you keep on track of your nutrients and calorie goals. I use myfitnesspal but there many other free options available.
I like myfitnesspal because you can also track your water intake, calories burned, exercises giving you a superb overview of daily activities.
Once you enter your workout or simply a 15 min fast walk, the app automatically recalculates your remaining daily calories, meaning you can eat more.
2. Consume High Fiber Food To Keep You Full
High fiber food stays longer in our digestive system.
As fiber-dense food helps to slow down digestion, this keeps you feeling fuller for longer periods.
Feeling satiated on a low-calorie diet will help to ward off hunger pangs and normalize blood sugar levels.
So fill your meals with leafy greens and fruits low in sugar.
3. Eat Small Meals Often Throughout The Day
Most of us are used to eating 3 main meals a day, with 1 – 2 snacks in between.
But on a 1000 calorie diet, you should eat 3 snacks throughout the day, or eat every 3 hours.
According to Amy Jamieson-Petonic RD, a Cleveland dietitian, your blood sugar levels will start to drop after fasting for 3 hours.
Within 4 hours of fasting, your body will have completely digested your last meal. Once you have reached 5 hours of fasting, it is instinctive for anyone to eat whatever’s insight, or overeat to compensate for the drop in blood sugar levels.
Thus, frequent snacking is encouraged as long as you are consuming healthy foods.
This is an important element in winning the battle of the bulge.
Some healthy snacks ideas for you:
- carrot sticks (optional dipped in hummus)
- cucumber sticks (optional dipped in low-fat yogurt/tzatziki)
- celery sticks
- capsicum sticks (yellow/red/green)
- a handful of almonds
- low-fat yogurt with chia seeds
- a whole orange
- apple (green/red)
- grapes (green/red)
In general, fruits and veggies are a pretty safe snack option 🙂
4) Boil or Steam Your Food
Raw, boiled, and steamed vegetables are super healthy for you. Because they are low in calories and delicious!
Steaming your vegetables, for example, helps to preserve essential nutrients and retain high water content in a vegetable.
Other healthy options for cooking your food are air-frying, grilling, or baking.
If you are going to boil your vegetables, try to save the boiling water for soup stock because most of the nutrients of the vegetables lost in the boiling water so using the boiling water is a great solution for this problem.
Stay away from fried vegetables!
Check out here more cooking tips on how to prepare healthy meats, vegetables, and more.
5) Make Smart Food Swaps
Some commonly innocently-looking food can be laden with hidden calories.
For example, whole milk on average has 39% more than skim milk. So when you opt for a non-fat or skim milk, you can shave off approximately 60 calories per cup.
When making soups, go easy on the butter and swap it out for broth. By doing so, you save 104 calories per tablespoon.
Go for low-fat yogurt instead of cream and save a whopping 300 calories.
Cut down oil consumption by using an oil mister or cooking spray, instead of pouring oil from the bottle. This will save you approximately 120 calories per tablespoon.
Making small adjustments to how you cook and what you eat is usually easier than making drastic food consumption reductions.
By doing this, you can easily reduce your calorie intake significantly and develop healthy food habits. Win-win!
You can then work off the remaining 500 calories by walking more, doing some yoga, or simply going for a light run.
Pros and Cons of the 1000 Calorie Diet
1. Effective Weight Loss
If followed carefully, this diet is generally effective in the short term.
Remember – when you lose weight, your calorie requirement decreases. And after the 1000 calorie diet, do reduce your calorie intake to maintain weight loss.
Learn how many calories you should be eating to main your desired weight by calculating your BMR here.
2. Slows Down Aging
As we age, our immune system weakens. This makes the elderly more susceptible to general illness.
Researchers studied aging among calorie-restricted rats and how a low-calorie diet influenced the mice’s immune system.
It was noted that the calorie-restricted mice demonstrated significant improvements in their immune system.
Restricting the calories of the mice nullified the negative impact of aging on the immune system.
What’s astounding is that mice on a calorie-restricted diet lived longer by 35% against those that were on a high-calorie diet.
This research finding was echoed by Dr. Mark Mattson, the chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging.
According to Dr. Mattson, a calorie-restricted diet reduces free radical production, which is a highly damaging form of oxygen.
Secondly, calorie restriction increases our cell’s resistance to stress.
These two factors combined help to protect the human body against diseases that negatively impact our life span, including cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
This finding reiterates that a low-calorie diet can boost human’s resilience in the face of infection, and may allow us to live longer and healthier.
3. Accessible Food Choices
A low-calorie diet does not require expensive nutritional supplements or specialty foods.
In fact, all that is needed are wholesome, real food that is easily available at any supermarket.
The food choices are cheap and basically no-frill.
Just remember to opt for low-calorie and low-fat versions to stay within your daily calorie limit.
1. Not Sustainable
The 1000 calorie diet should not be adopted over extended periods. That’s because a prolonged restricted diet will most likely cause malnutrition and make you feel tired all the time as a result.
Also, quick weight loss programs will not give you a long term solution if you go back to old unhealthy habits. If you want long-lasting results, you will need to make significant changes to your diet and lifestyle.
For that, you should seek professional advice.
2. Not Suitable For Everyone
The 1000 calorie diet is best used if it’s ordered by your doctor, or if you need to rapidly lose weight within a few days.
Active individuals who expend a lot more energy will not be able to stick with this diet.
For example, if you are a professional athlete who trains frequently and intensely, then the 1000 calorie diet will not suit you.
You will not have enough energy to sustain you through your workouts on a low-calorie diet.
Cardio bunnies would struggle too.
Anyone who runs, cycles, or swims multiple times per week would toil through a 1000 calorie diet.
3. Result in Muscle Loss
Losing weight rapidly could result in loss of muscle mass.
This becomes a vicious cycle in achieving your weight loss goal as muscles are a catalyst for burning more calories.
The less muscles your body has, the fewer calories you will burn. As such, rapid weight loss by consuming fewer than 1000 calories can be detrimental in the long run.
If you want to lose weight without losing muscle mass, check out the Gracie Diet made for fighters.
1000 Calorie Meal Plan
To start off, we have specially curated 1000 calorie meal plans for three days.
We recommend eating every 2 – 3 hours and have incorporated between 2 – 3 snacks throughout the day.
Have this handy grocery list with you to pick out all that you need along the aisles.
Morning drink: 2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar mixed with warm water (7 calories)
Breakfast: Oats and cottage pancake x 1 (199 calories)
Snack: Cucumber with hummus, one cucumber + 3 tbsp of hummus (123 calories)
Lunch: 3 ounces of grilled salmon (152 calories), 2 cups of fresh, mixed vegetables (59 calories)
Snack: 2 cups of strawberries (92 calories)
Dinner: Ceaser Salad (295 calories)
Evening Snack: A medium-sized banana (105 calories)
TOTAL CALORIES: 1,032 calories
Morning drink: A cup of green tea with no sugar (no calories)
Breakfast: 2 hard-boiled eggs (large size at 50 grams each) (142 calories) and one cup of raw or steamed baby spinach (7 calories)
Snack: 1 cup of grapes and 5 almonds (139 calories)
Lunch: 1 medium sweet potato (103 calories) and half a cup of steamed or grilled beans (120 calories), cucumber and tomato salad (1 medium cucumber and 1 medium tomato)
Snack:1 cup of low-fat Greek yogurt (179 calories)
Dinner: One-Pot Curried Codfish* with Chick Peas (296 calories)
Evening Snack: 1 small apple (77.5 calories)
TOTAL CALORIES: 1106 calories
*If you are a vegetarian, you can replace the codfish with bean curd or tofu.
Morning Drink: Black Coffee / Chamomile Tea / Mint Tea / Lemon Myrtle Tea (0 calories)
Breakfast: 100 g cottage cheese on 2 pieces wholemeal/multigrain Toast (209 calories)
Snack:1 cup Air-popped popcorn flavored with cinnamon/nutritional yeast/chili powder (55 calories)
Lunch: 8” Tortilla Vegetable Wrap (110 calories)
Snack: 1 medium orange (62 calories) and one cup of non-fat Greek yogurt (179 calories)
Dinner: Low-Calorie Veggie Lasagna (279 calories)
Evening Snack: 1 cup of grapes and 5 almonds (139 calories)
TOTAL CALORIES: 1033 calories
1000 Calorie Diet FAQ
1. How much weight can I lose when I eat 1000 calories a day?
Losing weight may come easier for some, while for others, the last bits of fat may seem to cling on stubbornly.
That’s because there are many things that can impact our individual weight loss journey.
Such as metabolism, people who have a fast metabolism will burn more calories than someone who doesn’t.
It is possible though to lose between 3 to 5 pounds per week on a low-calorie diet like the 1000 calorie diet.
2. How many calories can I eat per day to lose weight?
Everybody loses weight at a different rate.
Losing weight is all about consuming fewer calories, using more fuel, and adopting healthy lifestyle habits. And the keyword to losing weight is to know your basal metabolic rate (BMR).
BMR is the minimum calories a person needs to maintain daily bodily functions.
Think of your BMR as the minimum number of calories you need to cover all your body’s activity that you do naturally.
These activities include breathing, lung function, digestion, and walking from point to point.
Your BMR is a formula that takes into accounts your gender, weight, height, age, and degree of physical activity.
Next, complete your total daily caloric requirement by multiplying your BMR based on these activity indexes:-
Alternatively, you can use reputable BMR calculators to ascertain your BMR with ease accurately.
3. What if I can’t follow the 1000 calorie diet?
Eating 1000 calories is going to be challenging, if you are struggling a lot, maybe consider trying out a 1200 calorie diet plan.
Setting unrealistic expectations will most likely demotivate anyone!
Keep your goals simple, if you can’t follow the 1200 either, you may try out something different, for example trying to cut down sugar intake or processed foods/take-outs.
4. Should I take supplements on a 1000 calorie diet?
Generally, the 1000 calorie diet is not long enough to create any nutritional deficiencies, as long as you are eating correctly.
However, if you were underweight or malnourished at the start of embarking this diet plan, then you will create a larger nutritional gap.
If you are not getting 18 mg of iron each day (for women aged between 19 – 50 years old), then an iron supplement will help you feel less tired. For men, do ensure that you are getting at least 8 mg of iron daily.
A B12 vitamin supplements will also help to maintain healthy nerve function.
In the same vein, vitamin B12 can help to prevent megaloblastic, a type of anemia denoted by tiredness and weakness.
You may consider taking fish oil supplements to promote healthy thyroid function.
This in return will induce a more balanced metabolic rate and aid with weight loss.
1000 Calorie Diet Warnings / Side Effects
Just like any other restrictive calorie diet plan, the 1000 calorie diet is not meant to be sustained for more than 5 days.
If you are not sure whether this diet fits into your lifestyle, or if it’s beneficial for you, kindly consult your doctor or dietician for medical advice.
The 1000 calorie diet is not suitable if:-
- You are underweight
- You are a female with irregular menstrual cycles, or if your menstrual cycle has stopped due to being underweight
- If you have eating disorders
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding
- If you have specific nutritional deficiencies or imbalances
- Your doctor has advised you to avoid low-calorie diets
- Not suitable for children across all age groups
This content has been Fact-Checked by a Certified Nutritionist in our Publishing Team. Learn more here.