Categorized | Healthy Weight

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500-calorie Per Day Diet Warning!

Supposing you have tried many other diets and have been disappointed by their results and you now feel you should go for some ‘Hyperdieting’? Then you too may be tempted to look at the 500-Calorie diet … as many other people have.

But stop and think for a moment. You may be setting yourself up for a big disappointment. Why? Of all the very-low-calorie diets around, the 500 calorie diet is one of the most extreme, and it carries health risks as well as being a quick route to excess weight gain afterwards. Yes, that’s right – weight GAIN.

A ‘very low-calorie diet’ is, technically, any diet in which you eat no more than 1200 calories a day. Most people use a very-low-calorie diet for short periods in conjunction with another diet plan they are already on – for example, to:

* speed up overall weight loss
* boost their present diet when it has started to level-out

As most dieters already know, losing weight is just the simple task of burning more calories than you consume. However, a diet that is structured around too few calories for your body’s daily needs can actually shock it into a ‘starvation mode’.

In ‘starvation mode’, the body lowers its metabolic rate and changes it energy sources. This can cause your body to start to burn up your muscle mass. This has two adverse effects:

* your metabolism will simply slow down and you will stop losing weight
* burning muscle-tissue carries other, more serious health risks

For losing weight, you actually need to gain muscle. So ‘starvation mode’ must be avoided. Therefore, if you do intend to go on a 500 calorie diet plan, it is important that you limit its length to a week or less and have it checked by a professional dietician or nutritionist before starting.

An overweight body is probably accustomed to high calorie consumption (from 2000 calories upwards). A rapid reduction to 500 calories will more than likely prompt the body to enter starvation mode.

500 calories per day is more than low enough for anyone as a short-term dieting aid and may be too low to be helpful. Remember that your necessary calorie intake needs depend on:

– Body type (height, present weight)
– Gender
– Lifestyle and activity
– In women, pregnancy and breast-feeding

If you tend to think ‘all calories are bad, you need to change your dietary thinking. Here is a fantastic dieting mantra: ‘Down by 500’. Consume only the number of calories that will help your body lose weight from what it is now. The number differs from person to person. You need to find out your own ‘maintenance’ calorie intake (the number of calories which won’t make you lose weight but won’t make you put on any, either). ‘Down by 500!’ – subtract 500 from this maintenance figure and you have the number of calories which will make you lose weight every day without starving your body.

It’s far more effective in terms of weight reduction to slowly and gradually train your body to get accustomed to fewer calories. One of the major problems with the 500 calories per day diet is that if you fail to keep the very difficult limit of 500 a day, you will experience a sudden unwelcome gain in weight as your body ‘grabs’ the ‘valuable’ calories you’ve been withholding from it. Unfortunately, this weight gain will nearly always be greater than if you had never reduced your calories so drastically to start with.

To summarize: the 500 calorie diet is more of a health risk than a health benefit. It has to be carefully planned for someone it suits, and undertaken with medical approval. A more reliable, healthier and more comfortable way to lose weight permanently is to go ‘Down by 500!’ calories per day. Once you are used to this (which may take several weeks), it may perhaps be appropriate to use a very-low-calorie

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