Calorie deficit diet: Learn all about this go-to weight loss diet

The calorie deficit diet is one of the most popular diet plans that helps people lose weight and for the right reasons. Here’s everything you need to know about a calorie deficit diet.

With so many diets out there, it can be 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 to healthy weight loss. This is because your weight is directly related to the amount of calories you eat and drink. Let’s explore this relationship 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 a lesser number of calories than your body uses in a day, says Dietitian Sushma PS in Health Shots. “This is an important part of weight management because it encourages your body to burn fat for energy.”

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

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

How to calculate the calorie deficit?

A calorie-deficit diet is a nutritional approach that focuses on consuming fewer calories than your body expends, with the primary goal of weight loss. Although easy to understand, some people may find it difficult to calculate a calorie deficit. We understand that ratios can be confusing so we’re sharing a simple way to calculate your calorie deficit.

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

What foods should you 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 also nourish the body and mind. 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 good sources of complex carbohydrates.
3. Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, and beans offer protein and fiber, which promote feelings of fullness.
4. Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseed provide healthy fats and additional nutrients.
5. Lean proteins: Include sources like tofu, tempeh, and low-fat dairy for protein without the extra calories.

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What foods should be avoided on a calorie-deficit diet?

When you’re following a calorie-deficit diet, it’s important to focus on nutritious foods that provide essential vitamins and minerals without adding to your calorie count. Here are some foods you should avoid:

1. Processed foods: High in unhealthy fat, sugar, and empty calories.
2. Sugary drinks: Sodas, fruit juices, and sugary drinks contribute unnecessary calories.
3. Fried food: Avoid 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, choosing 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 because 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 personalized guidance to keep your calorie intake in check. Here’s a sample 1500-calorie plan by Dietitian Sushma that you can try:

1. Breakfast (300 calories): Oatmeal with fruits and a handful of nuts.
2. Lunch (400 calories): Quinoa salad with mixed greens 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 stewed vegetables and a side of brown rice.
5. Snack (200 calories): A small portion of mixed nuts and seeds.

It’s important to remember 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’s also important to stay hydrated and include regular physical activity.

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