But is that a wise thing to do? Are low calorie diets healthy? Will a low calorie diet help you lose weight - the healthy way? Or are we simply creating complications? To understand these points about low calorie diets, we asked Nutritionist, Mansi Belani from Evolve Medspa, some questions. Here are her answers to the question - Are low calorie diets healthy?
Did you know there are four different types of diet plans for losing weight?
Belani says, “Dieting is the practice of eating foods in a regulated manner to achieve or maintain a controlled weight. Diets which promote weight loss are generally divided into 4 categories-
1. Low fat
2. Low CHO
3. Low calorie diet (LCD),
4. Very low calorie diet (VLCD).”
Most of us recklessly cut out fat from our diet and intensely exercise to shed all fat thinking it’s a healthy way to lose weight. This is where Mansi Belani steps in to correct this popular notion. She says, “A low calorie diet works on the simple principle that calories in terms of energy gives us fuel for the day-to-day activities. If you reduce calories less than the body requires it will burn fats (at initial stage) to replace them. If you are eating fewer calories, than your body needs to burn fat.”
When you cut out fat from your diet, do you feel nauseated and constipated?
Here’s why, “You are inevitably going to feel hungry and this is the time you may get all the symptoms of a low calorie diet, such as fatigue, nausea, constipation. However, the side effects do tend to disappear over time. There are also more severe complications that may arise such as gallstones, irregularities in menstruation, hormonal imbalance if you lose weight too rapidly, so be sure to consult your dietician for an appropriate plan,” she explains.
Coming back to the main question, if we follow an appropriate low calorie diet is it beneficial for everyone and will it help in weight loss? It does, but a low calorie diet is not meant for all of us, here’s why. Belani tells us, “Low calorie diets are actually made for weight loss purposes and it is beneficial if you follow it tactfully. Low calorie foods aren’t the only solution to losing weight, but one needs to follow a combined nutritionally balanced diet so as to shed kilograms the right way.”
“Low calorie diet is not recommended for children, adolescents, and pregnant women. Individuals who usually go on such a diet are extremely overweight or morbidly obese. The specifics of the diet are hard to describe as the diet mainly depends on the individual needs.” says Belani, so proceed with caution to avoid complication.
“Proper low calorie diets essentially involve consuming foods that are high on nutritional content and yet have fewer calories. Yes, unessential fats have to be eliminated like deep fried, shallow fried food items, butter, ghee etc. but it is good if you incorporate nuts like 3-4 almonds, 2-3 walnuts & few teaspoons of vegetable oil except coconut oil,” instructs Belani. This brings us to the next point, what would be an ideal low calorie diet?
Before we proceed, the nutritionist lays out some guidelines for low calorie diets, “Low calorie diet is considered good if you follow it for lesser days, just to boost the weight loss process when it has reached a plateau. A GOOD calorie restricted diet would be one that includes all macro and micro nutrients in proportion with water and fibres which is not intricate to do. Calorie restriction should be done later, i.e., after lunch time. Breakfast should be calorie dense which will hold you for the rest of the day and will also get utilized faster.”
Regarding the ideal low calorie diet, she suggests, “Calorie restricted diet concentrates more on fibers, complex carbs, protein like salads, sprouts, beans, pulses, egg whites, few chicken and fish pieces, soups and one fruits per day, cereals basically till mid morning.” If you are adamant to follow a low calorie diet, remember these are suggestions for the general population and they will vary from person-to-person. It would be wise to follow your personal nutritionist for a diet that pertains to you and your body needs.
If you follow a low calorie diet, do you still need to exercise? If you’re thinking that cutting back on calories translates to no need to exercise, then listen up. No kind of diet can ever help you build muscle for healthier metabolism or stay lean, without exercise. Healthy weight loss that does not rebound and double up on relapse, is impossible without adequate exercise. Even if you are on a low calorie diet, you must follow a good exercise routine for better weight loss results that stay with you for a long time.