Calories - Is less really best?

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN Health Pro
  • When it comes to being heart healthy and lowering cholesterol levels, you know losing weight would drastically improve your situation.  However, have you been frustrated by not losing weight even when you feel like you've done everything possible to cut down on calories?


    So is less really best when it comes to how many calories we eat? One might think that reducing calories is the most direct way to manage weight. However, this can backfire, especially with eating less than 1200 calories per day (or higher in some individuals). When one cuts their calories down too low the body's metabolism (the rate at which we burn calories) can become compromised and slow down. This happens as the body senses starvation and switches into conservation mode, burning fewer calories so that the available calories go to vital body organs. As a result of a slower metabolism the body can't burn calories as efficiently which can slow down and/or prevent weight loss. Does this sound familiar? Many diets actually result in deprivation gone-too-far and slow the metabolism.

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    The solution in this case is to eat more (and ditch the diet)! By gradually increasing your calorie level with healthful food choices and eating at regular intervals you will be optimizing your metabolism.


    Of course, there are times when reducing calories is appropriate by replacing high fat or high sugar foods with healthier options. However, ask yourself it's possible that you've cut out too many calories. You might be wondering how you would know this. Here are some possible signs of calorie intake being too low...


    * Extreme hunger
    * Fatigue
    * Cravings
    * Weight plateaus (i.e. not losing any more weight)
    * Headaches
    * Difficulty making decisions
    * Irritability
    * Shakiness, lightheadedness, dizziness


    Adequate calorie intake is just one of many factors that affect weight loss. To drastically increase your success with losing weight and keeping it off you must wade through all the weight loss information available and sort out what works from what doesn't. Many methods used to lose weight are ineffective and some may even sabotage your weight loss efforts.


    Sign up for the free e-course How to Lower Cholesterol in 8 Simple Steps at


Published On: June 09, 2009