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What is a Calorie Deficit Diet?
Updated on December 21, 2022
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Diet / Weight Loss
What is a Calorie Deficit Diet?
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Calories are how we measure the amount of energy we consume and burn daily. You can get them from food. When you engage in physical activity and exercise, your body burns calories. 

A calorie deficit diet reduces how many calories you eat. This drives your body to burn body fat for energy, which can makemaking you lose weight. 

Most weight loss diets restrict your calorie intake, so you can achieve calorie deficiency.

What is a Calorie Deficit Diet? 2

How Many Calories Do I Need In A Day?

Several factors affectinfluence how many calories you can eat daily. Things that may affect your calorie needs include your:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Weight
  • Height
  • Hormones
  • Medications
  • Health status 
  • Physical activity

Healthy adults should eat about 1,600 to 3,000 calories a daydaily. Your needs and weight goals will determine your recommended daily caloriesexact intake.1

How Many Calories Should I Eat In A Calorie Deficit?

A calorie deficit occurs when you consume fewer calories than your body needs.

For healthy adults, Tthe Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that healthy adults eat 1,200 to 1,500 calories daily for a deficit.2 Other nutritionists say that you only need to cut your daily intake by 500 calories.3 

You don’t have to remove that many calories from your diet to get started. In the beginning, consider cuttingreducing your calorie consumption by a smaller amount. 

Each time you decrease your calorie intake, it brings you closer to your goal. 

For instance, if you’d normally eat 3000 calories every day, try bringing that down to 2800 calories. You can gradually reduce it till you hit your goal of 1500 calories. 

How To Eat AtDo A Calorie Deficit

If you’re looking to attain a calorie deficit, you’ve got two options. The first requires you to eat fewer calories than your body burns daily. It’s a great choice if you live a sedentary life. 

You could also increase your physical activity. This makes your body burns more calories than you consume. If you’re willing to exercise, it might be the better option for you. 

Changing Your Diet

ManyLots of people who strugglestruggling with weight problems don’t eat healthyily. They’re likely consuming more calories than their body needs daily. 

When you get more calories than necessary, your body stores the excess as fat. This makes you gain weight. 

Cutting down on your calorie intake helps you burn fat and. This makes you lose extra weight. 

You can try weight loss diets for calorie deficit such as:

  • Keto diet – This restricts how much carbs you can eat. Your body will start converting stored fats into ketones, and use that for energy.shifts to producing ketones from fat for energy.
  • Low-carbohydrate diet – You will get most of your nutrition from proteins and fat. It limits your intake of starchy and high-sugar foods. 
  • Noom diet plan It’s a holistic weight loss plan. It considers the calorie density of foods for your diet.


If you’re trying to lose weight, you may want to spend more time working out. The right amount of exercise burns more calories than you consume. This helps you reachachieve a calorie deficit. 

Here are some simple exercises to try:4 

  • Jogging burns 180 calories in 30 mins
  • Walking burns 135 calories in 30 mins
  • Swimming burns 180 calories in 30 mins

Do You Need to Count Calories to Reach A Deficit?

Calorie counting is when you measureinvolves measuring the calorie content of your food before you eateating. It helps you track the calories you consume each much you’re consuming daily, 

You don’t have to count caloriesbut it’s not necessary for weight loss, however. 

You can still hit your weight loss goals without counting calories. Eating foods that have a low -calorie density is key. 

Low-calorie dense foods include:5

  • Fish
  • Fruits 
  • Egg whites 
  • Vegetables 
  • Whole grains
  • Lean meat and poultry

These foods fill you up without drastically increasingraising your calorie intake. Unlike restrictive diets, you’re less likely to overeat since they keep you satiated.

How Long Should You Be In A Calorie Deficit?

Everyone’s weight loss journey is different. There’s no definite timeline for how long you should be in a calorie deficit.

Some people get results a few months later. Others take years to hit their goals. Your current weight, target weight, body type, and health status will help determine how much time you need. 

You may stop as soon as you reachhit your goal weight. Healthy eating will help you maintain theseyour results.

Planning Meals for a Calorie Deficit Diet

Planning your meals in advance can help you reach a calorie deficit. It allows you to portion your food and reduce your daily calorie intake. 

If you don’t have time to plan meals, you can use meal planners. These are apps that create customized meal plans based on your preferences and current health.

The best meal planning apps we recommend are:

  • Perfect Body — helps you lose weight the healthy way
  • Beyond Body — offers custom meals for women who want targeted weight loss

Your meal plan will be designed by a nutritionist who will determine your calorie deficit.

Updated on December 21, 2022
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5 sources cited
Updated on December 21, 2022
  1. How Many Calories Should You Eat In A Day?” Cleveland Clinic.

  2. 2020-2025 Dietary Guideline for Americans.” Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

  3. Everything You Need To Know About Calorie Deficits.” Australian Institute of Fitness.

  4.   “Calories burned in 30 minutes of leisure and routine activities.” Harvard Health. 

  5. Weight loss: Feel full on fewer calories.” Mayo Clinic. 

Jennifer Anyabuine
Jennifer Anyabuine
Content Contributor
Jennifer Anyabuine is a content writer with KnowYourDNA. She has a B.S. in Biochemistry. She has been writing for 2 years. Her focus is women’s health, fitness, mental health, and general wellness.
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