Starting a 500 calorie diet may seem daunting, and many people have their reservations about this way of weight loss. It’s well known that balanced nutrition and regular exercise are healthy ways to lose weight. If your goal is to lose weight rapidly, you can try a 500-calorie diet plan. Still, this diet can be a risk and requires supervision before the start.
So, how safe is it really if you start eating 500 calories a day? Or are there actual benefits from a low-calorie diet plan?
In this article, we’ve prepared the answer to all of your questions. We’ll talk about everything you need to know about this diet method. If you want to customize your very own low-calorie foods plan for this calorie-cut diet; here are 10 things you need to know.
Table of Contents
1.What Is the 500-Calorie Diet Plan?
To put it simply, a 500-Calorie Diet is how it says it is; to eat no more than 500 calories per day. Considered an extreme form of VLCD or Very-low-calorie Diet, this method involves a diet that drastically cuts down more than half of the calorie deficit from an average adult (i.e., 2500kcal for males and 2000kcal for females).
Although, take caution: this diet is not for everyone. Health professionals only recommend an extreme diet such as this for overweight people with severe obesity and people who have struggled to get results after trying various diet regimens.
2. Professional Advice Is Needed If 500-Calories
The 500-Calorie Diet is quite a harsh method that you might need proper medical advice from a doctor, be it a dietitian or a nutritionist. Either way, both can help examine your overall health and provide you a healthy diet. Restricting your calorie intake to this much extent can be dangerous; it’s much better if you have a professional to help you do this diet in the safest way possible and monitor your health along the process.
People with heart disease, thyroid, or kidney disease should not try a 500-calorie diet without a doctor’s approval and supervision.
If your doctor hasn’t prescribed or recommended this diet method for you, it is best not to risk trying.
3. How Safe Is This Very Low-Calorie Diet Method?
No matter how you look at it, eating 500-800 max calories per day is such a HUGE downgrade to your average 2000-2500kcal per day. And this drastic lapse from your usual daily low-calorie foods intake will take a toll on your body.
Studies show that following a very low calorie diet for a long time way may lead to a lack of several essential minerals, fibers, and vitamins.
Sure, you’ll lose weight; perhaps shed all the water weight off your system. But it will take nutrients from your body. And eating a very low-calorie diet might not be enough to suffice and supplement all the nutrients you need to continue living a healthy life.
But of course, if you do it gradually and meet the precise nutritional requirements per day and help from a professional, you can do this as safely as possible.
There are also specific groups of people with a higher risk of nutritional deficiencies from this extreme diet method. Older adults may pose a considerable threat as they are more likely to have reduced nutrient absorption from the small intestine.
A low-calorie diet also does increase the risk of deficiencies, particularly in fat-soluble vitamins, which may cause low absorption of antioxidants; hence a well-rounded diet is a must to avoid malnutrition.
4. How Will It Affect Your Metabolism?
Another problematic health risk to be considered is how this 500-calorie diet can gravely affect your metabolic rate. Prolonged restrictions in your calories can significantly decrease your metabolism, making your body burn fewer calories. It can be a problematic factor since the long term effect would be that once you end your 500-calorie diet, you will have to remain in your decreased deficit to sustain the weight you attained.
5. Doing Workouts is Off the Table (for 500 Calorie A Day Diet)
I know that losing weight consists of a proper diet AND a workout routine. With this kind of diet regimen, is it alright to burn some extra calories by doing workouts?
Well, no. It’s not good for your health. And there’s no way for you to have enough energy reserves to do sets on the same day as your diet successfully, especially if you’re looking into doing this daily. It is possible, but you’ll be downright exhausted, and it will most likely negatively impact your health.
Suppose you seriously want to do workouts, though. In that case, there’s another solution for you to do them regularly without negatively impacting your health, and that’s through intermittent fasting. Studies showed that it could help overweight and obese individuals lose weight.
6. The 5:2 Diet for Weight Loss
Also known as the fast food, this type of intermittent fasting has risen its popularity due to its many weight loss benefits.
For five days in a week, you usually eat within your daily recommended calorie intake and then have the two remaining days of the week for your 500-calorie diet. You can alternate between a typical daily meal plan to a restrictive diet on the next day. However, you should avoid high-calorie foods if you don’t want your body fat to drain your effort again.
Studies have indicated that it was easier for some people to follow this diet method rather than daily restrictive eating. The pattern itself helps you eat fewer calories than you usually do, which allows you to lose body fat.
You’ll also have more room and energy to help you power through workout sessions in your program.
Of course, there are still gray areas to cover here. Just because it says you only have two fasting days doesn’t mean you can consume more calories than you usually do on your non-fasting days. I would alone compensate for the calories lost, and doing so will only breach your progress.
7. Muscle Loss
If you’re looking for well-defined and toned muscles at the end of this Diet Plan, this method isn’t for you. Restricting the calories you eat to this degree can result in muscle loss. A study has proven that the rapid weight loss, the quicker you’ll drop muscle than gradual diets. Long-term VLCD foods can cost you your muscles due to a very low-calorie, low-carb, and low-protein diet.
8. Foods to Eat and Avoid During the 500-Calorie Diet Meal Plan
Foods to Eat on the 500-Calorie Diet
- Non-starchy vegetables such as scallion, broccoli, carrot, beetroot, cabbage, parsnip, and lettuce. In addition to being low in calories, they are also loaded with nutrition.
- Salads, sautéed, stir-fried, and blanched food. These minimize the disruption of valuable enzymes and phytonutrients.
- Full-fat milk and yogurt. Full-fat versions are more nutritious and will help keep hunger at bay.
- Fruits and freshly pressed fruit juices. Make sure you don’t consume high GI foods like mangoes, pineapple, and grapes.
- Low-calorie salad dressing such as olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
- Pre-cooked chicken and shrimps.
- Pre-washed veggies.
- Drink Water or Black coffee.
- Cottage Cheese
Foods to Avoid While on a 500-Calorie Diet
- Processed foods like bacon and hotdogs.
- Canned veggies, fruits, etc.
- Sugary drinks like soda, artificial fruit juices, or energy drinks.
- Sugary foods like pastries, cakes, and candies.
9. The Proper Diet Regimen: 500-Calorie Diet Meal Plan
Healthy eating includes fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. Now I know what you’re thinking, how is it possible to get all that from 500 calorie meals? How to eat 500 calories a day diet and feel full even?
Look no further as we will give you the perfect 1-week meal plan to get all the nutrients in such a meager amount of calories that will fill you right in the tums!
· 100g low-fat-Greek yoghurt – 65 cals
· 2 plums – 60 cals
· Ryvita and tuna slices – 253 cals
· Cod Steak WITH Parsley sauce – 100 cals
· cracked black pepper – 0 cals
Total calorie: 478 cals
· 1 eggs – 70 cals
· 1 Kiwi- 48cals
· Cream chicken kormas -200 cals
· 1 x corn-on-the-cob – 156 cals
· 25 blueberries -25 cals
Total calorie: 499cals
· 75g low-fat kiwi yoghurt– 100cals
· spinach leaves (60g) – 20cals
· Crudites and Hummus- 176 cals
· 40g hummus – 124 cals
· a medium bowl full of cucumber, carrots, raw pepper – 52 cals
Total calorie: 472 cals
· A packet of Belvita Breakfast Biscuits (muesli) – 228 cals
· Roasted vegetables with balsamic glaze – 261 cals
· 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar – 14 calories
· A squeeze of lemon – 0 calories
· Harley’s sugar-free jelly pot – 4 cals
Total calorie count: 507 cals
· Apple, carrot and smoothie – 106 cals
· 1 apple – 56 cals
· Pitta pizza – 169 cals
· Weight Watchers wholemeal pitta – 108 cals
· 1 tomato – 30 cals
· Pepper and a little salt- no cals
Total calorie count: 469 cals
. One egg -70 cals
· 100g strawberries – 30 cals
· 100g raspberries – 27 cals
· 100g blueberries – 58 cals
· 1 x chicken breast (130g) – 160 cals
· 100g of vegetable couscous – 139 cals
· 1 tbsp harissa paste – 15 cals
Total calorie count – 499 cals
· Apple and 50g nut muesli – 175cals
· Pesto salmon with curly kale – 257cals
· 3 tsp of green pesto- 70 cals
Total calorie: 502 cals
10. How Much Weight Can You Lose if You Eat Only 500-Calories per Day?
According to some experts, following a very low-calorie diet a day for a month can reduce 15-20 pounds; if done right with proper medical supervision. It is the main benefit of rapid weight loss. But other studies have shown that going on in a 500 calorie diet for three weeks or more than that can lower your immunity and productivity. It is vital to have proper consultation from a doctor or dietitian before you embark on this diet program.
Here is the 500 calorie diet before and after picture of someone who has tried and tested the diet method within a couple of months.
The Bottom Line
So final verdict: Does this work? Yes, but it is not for everyone. It does work with proper medical supervision, and as long as you give your body the nutrition it needs, this method can work.
Will this result in a sustainable weight loss? No, not exactly. Crash diets or cutting your calorie intake to this extent and degree do a heavy toll on your nutrition, metabolism, and whole body.
There are no short-cuts to losing weight, despite what people may come to believe. A healthy weight loss program involves a balanced diet plan and regular exercise, both of which are indispensable.