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Dr. Alatassi's interview with Women’s’ Health Magazine

What Is The 1,200-Calorie Diet And Is It Safe To Try For Weight Loss?

When you’re on a weight loss journey, there’s a common misconception that a 1,200-calorie diet is the "correct" amount you need to shed those few extra pounds. But here’s the thing: This isn’t necessarily the case, and too few calories can have the opposite effect on your weight loss goals.

As the name suggests, a 1,200-calorie diet is a type of low-calorie diet plan that restricts daily caloric intake to approximately 1,200 calories a day, says Diala Alatassi, MD, a board-certified internal and obesity medicine physician at Endeavor Health Medical Group. The goal of a 1,200-calorie diet is to create a calorie deficit, which can, in theory, lead to weight loss.

That said, 1,200 calories a day is generally not enough to support your overall health, especially if you include any sort of exercise into your lifestyle, says Alex Larson, RD, a registered dietitian and founder of Alex Larson Nutrition. We'll get into why in just a sec.

Curious how many calories you really need in a day? Keep scrolling for everything you need to know about calculating your caloric needs and how to create a balanced, weight loss-friendly meal.

Is 1,200 calories per day good for weight loss?

In most cases, no. Prolonged calorie restriction can actually slow metabolism because your body senses that food is scarce and lowers the rate in which it burns existing calories, says Dr. Alatassi. And while you may initially lose weight from a 1,200-calorie diet, transitioning out of this eating plan can lead to rebound weight gain, she explains.

Plus, excessive calorie restriction can lead to bone and muscle loss, brain fog, constipation, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, hormone imbalances, and poor immune function.

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Elmhurst, IL 60126
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