The 500 calorie method is an extreme level of diet plan for weight loss for obese people who have tested and realized that they cannot lose weight in any other way. In this diet plan, the dieter needs to consume only 500 calories in a day so it is also known as a Very Low-calorie Diet or VLCD. Though VLCD is recognized as the fastest way to reduce your body weight but under any condition, the 500 calorie method to reduce weight quickly, should not be tried by own without a healthcare specialist supervision and recommendation.
The VLCDs diet program uses meal replacement such as prepared food bars, drinks and shakes instead of two meals a day minimum. This diet program is only for people who are overweight and obese who are unable to lose weight through any other diet plan. The extreme level of calorie restriction helps in getting the desired result in terms of weight loss but this should not be followed for a long period because of its associated health risks if followed for a prolonged period.
How It Can Help to Obese People
Obesity or overweight is one of the major health problems faced by people around the world. This issue can happen to anyone which means it is not gender and age-specific. On the one hand, people who are overweight or obese losses their confidence level over time because of their unusual body structure that can be noticed easily even in a big crowd and on the other hand this increases the risk of many diseases if not controlled or reduced on time such as heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, liver diseases, etc. These are all life-threatening conditions so before these health problems knock your doorstep it’s better that you take a proactive step by reducing your excess body weight.
Once you get obese it gets extremely difficult to reduce this unwanted fat from the body in spite of hard efforts like cutting meal size and number, hardcore exercise at the gym, etc. However for people who are simply disheartened from all common steps and measures for losing that unwanted fat of their body can relax now. The 500 calorie method has emerged as the fastest means to lose weight at a rapid speed in the recent past. This diet plan is quite different than the other common diet plans.
There are several testimonies of people on websites who have effectively loosed their weight by following this diet plan in a very short duration. The extreme level of calorie restriction that it imposes on its user is the reason behind these success stories. As the user needs to have only 500 calories in a day which is health detrimental too so it is done only under proper medical guidance which includes regular counseling and physical check-ups.
Your diet plan is closely monitored by the doctors to ensure that with this limited diet your body does not fall short of essential nutrient deprives. Its menu should only be prepared under the guidance of a dietitian who knows better that what food sources can actually fulfill your daily requirement of the nutrient with a limited number of foods and calories.
This program is really life savior as no one wants to live his or her whole life as an obese or overweight person who can’t even wear the clothes of their desire. Moreover, in the long run, they get depressed and develop symptoms of social withdrawal by not attending any social program or events.
Yes, it is true that this extreme level diet plan contains the risk of hampering the inner health along with shredding fat from your body but that risk can be well managed if you do it under a supervision of a doctor only at their recommendation, not by own self.
Things to Consider Before Following 500 Calorie Method
People who are planning to follow the 500 calorie diet plan methods for the fastest possible weight reduction should consider the below mentioned important points first for their safety and best result out of it.
Don’t Plan to Do It Alone
A 500 calorie diet plan considers the extreme level of calorie restriction for a dieter. Because of this extreme restriction, chances remain that some health hazards may happen with the dieter if he or she plans to do it alone without any healthcare specialist guidance or recommendation.
A doctor will prescribe you for this particular weight loss diet plan only under the condition when they think it is highly impossible for you to lose weight through any other method. This particular recommendation is done after a thorough evaluation of the dieter health risks or complications that may occur after following this diet plan. If your doctor gives you clean chit in all respect then and only you should start this diet program.
Other than that if it is not recommended by the health specialists then you should not think of pursuing it alone as this kind of calorie restriction is associated with many health risks. The doctor’s supervision should remain persistent while you are on this diet plan as they will decide what you need to eat and what you should exclude. Otherwise, if you plan your diet by own the chances remain that you get nutrient deficient.
You May Fall Nutrient Deficient
People who follow a 500 calorie diet plan or even consume 800 calories in a day have a greater risk of nutritional deficiency. This risk remains higher for specific groups of people. For example, if this diet plan is followed by an older adult group of people then the risk remains that they would easily get nutrient deficient within a few days of this diet method. This is because in the case of older adults their body’s natural nutrient absorption power reduces due to the aging effect, hence their small intestine fails in absorbing vital nutrients from the food they consume.
Nutrient deficiencies that mostly occur while following the 500 calorie method include Vitamins and minerals which are two essentials nutrients for the healthy survival of a human body. As a result of this deficiency, many health problems are likely to occur. It is found in a study report that people who even consume less than 1200 calories in a day fail in meeting their body’s daily requirement of vitamin and minerals.
As per the Mayo Clinic if anyone’s diet menu lacks zinc mineral then they can easily get a victim of hair fall or loss problem. This mineral you can easily avail in the beef and pumpkin seeds. Apart from this, the lack of calcium and Vitamin D can cause osteoporosis health issues, iron deficiency can cause anemia and vitamin niacin deficiency which is found in dates and tuna fish can lead to blockages in arteries which is the most common cause of heart attack.
So people, who are planning for a 500 calorie method to follow, should consider the nutritional level of their diet not just about the calorie restrictions.
Risk of Gallstones
Your risk for developing gallstones increases if you start following the 500 calorie method for weight loss. The gallstone develops in your gallbladder which can obstruct the bile duct leading to severe abdominal pain generates. The factors which increase a person’s risk of gallstones include-
- Quick weight loss
- Fasting for a prolonged period
- Recurrent losing and gaining weight
- Already existing gallstones
However, as per one study report, the risk of developing gallstones can be reduced while on the VLCDs diet if the dieter follows the diet method with a high level of fat intake. Also, the consumption of high fiber-rich foods and reduction in sugar and refined carbohydrates can also help in preventing the gallstones growth risk. However, it is always advised to start this diet plan under the supervision of a doctor and dietitian for proper diet recommendations.
How Much are the 500 Calories
The 500 calories will depend on your food choices. Depending upon the diet menu you are including in your meal for the day decides how much or how little of your menu will complete this calorie target. As per the USDA calculation, an apple contains less than 80 calories, two pieces of fried chicken contains approx 400 calories, whereas a handful of peanuts and a slice of pizza counts about 250 calories.
Along with accurate calorie knowledge of the diet that you include in your meal plan, it is also necessary to know how many calories you burn in a day. As per the Harvard Medical School, the calorie burn rate very much depends on a person’s daily life activities and their individual body weight level.
For example, a person with 185-pound weight can burn up to 72 calories only by sitting in a 1-hour meeting. So if you are planning to follow the 500 calorie method make sure that you have accurate knowledge of the calorie count of the foods that you are including in this diet journey for the best results.
The Diet may Lack Healthy Fats
While following the 500-calorie diet plan your body may lack healthful fats which are good for overall health and fitness. This is because out of three macronutrients such as protein, fat, and carbohydrate, it is the fat that contains calories at the highest level. Hence due to high-calorie level food rich in fat nutrient are often excluded or consumed in very low quantity in this diet plan.
Some very healthy sources of unsaturated fats include avocado and salmon which is vital for the human body. However with this low-fat diet program often the dieter falls deficit with this healthy fat. Also, the fat deficit leads to the risk of fat-soluble vitamin deficiency such as Vitamin E and poor absorption ability of antioxidants.
It can be Considered as 5:2 or Alternate Day Diet
The 500 calorie diet can be considered as a part of a recently famous 5:2 intermittent or alternate day diet plan. In this particular diet plan, the dieter has to eat a balanced Mediterranean diet consisting of 2000 calories (each day) for five days of a week. The remaining two days of the same week the dieter requires limiting himself to 500 low carbohydrate calories in a day.
This is the reason this new diet plan is known as a 5:2 diet plan and the 500 calorie method fits suitable in this proposed plan. These two days 500 low-carbohydrate calorie plan should not be followed on a consecutive day instead it can be any two alternate days in a week.
This alternate day fasting method ensures that the dieter can avail necessary nutrients for their body on 5 days such as the high amount of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthful fats. However, the 5:2 intermittent dieting method, for weight loss is not as effective in terms of result than the daily low calorie or 500 calorie diet method.
It Doesn’t Give Long Term Solution
The 500 calorie method though effective and doable for the short period but it is very tough and health detrimental to follow this in the long term. People who generally follow this low-calorie diet plan make replacement of 1 or 2 of their diet with a low-calorie diet menu. However, this replacement will create a negative impact on your health if you plan to follow them for a prolonged period of time.
This is because when you consume whole foods your body easily gets essential nutrients such as macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, and a healthy interaction takes place inside your body of these nutrients. However, this essential function doesn’t take place when you persistently follow a low calorie or 500 calorie diet method as artificial foods can make a replacement of these interactions leading to many health hazards appear in the future.
It can be Expensive
Though on the 500 calorie method a dieter needs to eat very less but still it proves very expensive as the rate of each pound of its food menu is greater than any other commonly used diet. For example, the charges of meal replacement foods like Optifast, etc are too high than the equal quantity of the whole foods.
Apart from this as this diet plan requires constant supervision of a healthcare specialist because of its extreme calorie restriction which is health detrimental so this diet method also involves the weekly visiting charges to a health specialist which is an important part of this diet journey. All these cost burdens make this diet method for weight loss costly enough to be affordable by an average earning person.
It can Cause Metabolic Changes
If you are planning to incorporate a 500 calorie diet method in your daily life routine then you should stay ready to consider one another health risk that this diet plan may cause and that is its effect on your metabolism function. This diet plan if, followed for a prolonged period of time can cause changes in your metabolism function due to the extreme reduction of calories in the diet which is used by your body to produce energy.
Resulting in the metabolism function gets slower than its normal level which impacts the overall functionality of the body along with burning very few calories. Apart from this after your weight reduction, your body needs a fewer amount of calories to maintain this new bodyweight with comparison to your previous weight.
May Cause Muscle Loss
One of the major health deterioration risk associated with the 500 calorie diet plan is the risk of muscle loss. As per the renowned dietitians if anyone follows this diet plan then after a level when your body’s reserved fat level is consumed or used by your body, it started burning the healthy muscles leading to muscle loss instead of fat loss which is the primary goal of this diet plan.
Initially, muscle loss is confused with the weight loss by the dieter but this is not the truth as not all weight is bad some are necessary for your health. In order to have a healthy body and weight, it is necessary to build muscles instead of losing it. Remember any healthy diet only burns fat not your muscles.
It May Deteriorate Bone Health
The long term effect of the very low-calorie diet is extremely bad for your bone health which is often overlooked. This is primarily because people do not follow this diet plan for a prolonged period of time. So if a bone health issue appears in the picture after a very long period of this diet plan people do not understand whether it is an effect of their extreme calorie restriction which they made at once or something else.
However, the underlying truth is that the lack of essential nutrients like minerals and vitamin weakens your bone over time leading to fragile or other bone health-related issues develops in the future.
Not Suitable for People with Certain Health Condition
This diet plan is not suitable for people with special health conditions. The health specialist does not recommend this diet plan and meal replacement products to obese people if they are a patient of heart disease, kidney disease, type 1 diabetes, gallstones, gout, and thyroid diseases.
Under any circumstances, people with these health problems should not start this diet plan without a doctor’s approval and their supervision.
No doubt the 500 calorie method to reduce weight quickly is an effective diet plan for the fastest result considering if the dieter performs this under the supervision of a doctor and dietitian. This diet plan is meant for helping the obese people only if recommended by the doctors considering the patient current health status, all pros, and cons accompanied by this diet method for weight loss.