What does it mean to be on a 500 calorie a day for a month’s diet? It is as simple as you read, this diet simply means that the individual will aim at consuming only 500 calories daily for a period of one month. This amount is about a quarter of an adult’s recommended daily intake. The highest limit this diet can permit is 800 calories daily. We refer to this 500 calories daily diet as very-low-calorie diets, shortened to VLCD. For several years now, doctors have been prescribing VLCDs as a treatment for some health conditions. For example, obese people who are unable to undergo bariatric surgery may be recommended to go on this 500-calorie daily diet.
VLCDs may also be effective before laparoscopic and bariatric surgery. Fat loss can help reduce blood loss, complication risks, and operative time. VLCD accommodates meal replacements such as shakes, drinks, and food bars rather than actual meals. There are some things worth considering before going on this diet especially when there is no doctor’s supervision. We will be discussing this next.
500 Calorie A Day For A Month Considerations
Here are some of the things you should consider before going on this diet.
1. Nutritional deficiencies Chances
By eating 500 calories daily for a month, you might be at risk of developing certain deficiencies. This is especially true for people with a specific group like older adults who are more prone to reducing nutrient absorption in their small intestine.
2. Gallstones may develop
A person on this diet may have higher chances of developing gallstones. These gallstones are formed inside the gallbladder and they block bile ducts causing abdominal pain. The following also increases the gallstones risks;
- An extended period of fasting
- Repeatedly gaining and losing weight
- Former gallstones
- Rapid weight loss
Past research showed that when VLCDs are combined with a high intake of fat this may prevent gallstone formation. Eating high fiber food and decreasing the intake of refined sugars and carbohydrates may prevent gallstone formation.
3. Lack of healthy fats
Fat has the highest amount of calories among the other two macronutrients. Due to the high-calorie content of fat, it might be difficult to consume enough of them when on a 500-calorie daily diet. This could cause you to lose healthy fats. For example, unsaturated fats like those found in avocado and salmon benefit your body. A diet low in fat will also raise your risk of developing a deficiency of some vitamins (fat-soluble) like poor antioxidant absorption and vitamin E.
4. You need doctor supervision
A poor food option and the risk of developing nutritional deficiencies make 500 calorie daily diet a potential danger. It is good for you to get supervised by a dietitian and doctor before going on this diet.
5. Replacement of meals is not a lasting solution
Sometimes people on this diet do a day or two replacement of meals. Although it may be of help, doing this for a long time can affect one’s health negatively. Minerals, phytochemicals, macronutrients, and vitamins all interact when a person eats whole foods. Creating artificial foods will not take the place of these important interactions.
On a 500-calorie diet, although you might be eating less this diet will cost more than others. The amount you will spend on replacing food will be more than what you did naturally spend on whole foods of the same quantity. Some programs will suggest that you consult a doctor weekly.
7. Quick fix vs. Lifestyle changes
Anyone who will be trying out VLCD should try implementing other strategies for weight loss also. These strategies may include physical activity and nutrition counseling. VLCD is not a sustainable diet so it does not build good behaviors that will benefit your health. It is better to do small changes that you can easily maintain.
8. Muscle loss
Rapid weight loss could increase one’s risk of losing his/her muscles rather than fat. Muscle mass decreases can impact one’s metabolism negatively. This effect is undesirable because it reduces the body’s ability to burn calories and avoid injury. A good approach to weight loss that can be sustained is by building your lean muscle along with your healthy diet.
9. Missing out
When you are on this diet you will definitely miss out on some social events. You may not be able to eat out in restaurants as they do not specify the number of calories in their meals. This may bring anxiety when eating out with friends and families.
10. Not suitable for all
Overweight or obese people are not recommended to use VLCD. Also, people with these conditions should not also use the diet without appropriate supervision and approvals from a doctor; type one diabetes, heart disease, gout, thyroid disease, gallstones, and kidney disease.
500 Calories a Day For a Month: You Still Need Nutrient
One main problem with a 500-calorie daily diet is that it does not limit the carbs and fats you consume. A cup of milk and chocolate cake contains about five hundred calories. But this meal doesn’t give you the necessary nutrients hence the importance of consciously making sure that your meals contain the required nutrients like lean proteins, veggies, whole grains, and fruits.
500 calories a day for a month diet can be used when aiming for a short-term goal but if you will be doing it for an extended period of time you should seek medical advice and monitoring. We already explained that there are some health dangers attached to this diet so you will want to proceed with care. If you have health conditions that are not compatible with this diet then you should not go into it. If you can’t go on this diet then don’t do it, there are a hundred and one different diets, find what works well with you.