Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

Nutrition Articles  ›  Quick and Easy

Nutrition FAQs

-- By SparkPeople Experts
Is it a problem to eat less than my recommended calories each day?

Strange as it sounds, going too low on calories is a common cause of getting stuck at your current weight despite dieting. Your body is designed to protect you from starvation during times of greatly reduced food availability, and when you eat too little, your body thinks it’s starving. To compensate, your metabolism will slow down considerably, making it very difficult (or impossible) for you to lose weight. In this state, your body will preferentially burn everything but your stored body fat. Eating to little poses other problems, such as nutritional deficiencies. On top of that, if you later eat more calories, your body is more likely to store these calories as fat, in preparation for a possible "famine" again in the future.

Your best bet is to aim for a weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week through combining a moderate calorie reduction with increased calorie expenditure through exercise. If all the info you entered during your program set-up is accurate, the recommended calorie range you received should be what you need to accomplish this healthy rate of weight loss.

Some people have problems eating enough calories when they go too low on fats—especially by always choosing low-fat or non-fat versions of common foods. So try to find some good sources of "healthy fats" (the monounsaturated fat in nuts, olive and canola oils, avocados, etc.), and foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids, like flaxseed, salmon, or tuna. Read SparkPeople’s Nutrition Reference Guide: Fats and Oils for more information on including healthy fats into your diet.

Are diet pills safe and will they help me lose weight?

Sometimes these pills claim amazing results that sound too good to be true—and that's because they are. There is no "magic pill" that works. Think about it—if there really was one pill that people could take and see amazing results quickly, and with little to no effort, everyone in the world would know about it and probably use it.

Don't waste your money.

Some diet pills work because they usually contain stimulants, such as high doses of caffeine, which speed up your metabolism, making it easier for you to lose weight. These can be addictive, and cause serious health problems such as heart problems, medication interactions, and even death. In addition, as soon as you stop taking them, you’ll likely put all the weight you lost back on.
Continued ›
Page 1 of 3   Next Page › Return to main nutrition page »

Related Content


Stay in Touch With SparkPeople

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Member Comments

  • MARCELA_OLEGA
    I am sorry, instead of taking pills I believe in balancing food intake with energy use. If this is out of balance you will gain weight. Very simple. So no pills, just more excercising - 6/1/2014 6:32:10 PM
  • FIGERO
    Hi, I thought I knew what I was doing to keep from going back to being diabetic. (I've been at 5.9 Alc lab results for three years now) but, I can't seem to get any farther than 15 pounds weight loss. I do take several medications, but still feel that my eating habits are what is stopping me from being successful. The food tracker has already been helpful as well as the fitness tracker. But, just today, I discovered that my favorite Scrambled Egg, fresh fruit and two pieces of toast put me over the 300 I'm supposed to have for breakfast. Got any ideas for a likes to eat out sort of person? - 4/4/2014 4:51:05 PM
  • JEMMYS
    Hi Abbey, that was the job I did also and now have 60 lbs I need to lose also. Best suggestion I can think of is get out of the truck and walk that 15 minutes if it is a safe location to walk. Food wise, they have the tuna packets with single portion sizes. A huge bag of apples, and a cooler with low sodium V8 juice. If any time available hit those produce stands to restock. Good luck. - 2/23/2014 8:17:52 PM
  • CAROLCLINE
    just need to excerise more and watch eating out, go to curves and doing Julian micheals which is now part of curves just finish 7 day cruise now time to get on track god bless - 1/29/2014 2:59:55 PM
  • Abby I suggest that you pack you cooler with fresh fruit and veggies that can stay cool under the ice. wrap turkey slice with cheese also keep peanut butter with you. Salads are always a winner and one thing that I did just this weekend was steamed fresh spinach in the microwave for a few seconds and it made a good dish with with my sandwich. As for movement, it is suggested that 10 minutes a day is better than 0 so when you take a break walk for 10 or even 5 minutes when you stop. I know how it is when you feel miserable I can relate to what you are saying. Finding the time can be hard but if you are determined you can do it. I hope this helps....good luck.... - 1/20/2014 4:57:25 PM
  • WRONGWAYABBEY
    Help! I am an over the road truck driver. I don't own my truck. Company truck. I can't install a fridge. I have a cooler with ice. I have gained a lot of weight since 2003 when I started driving. I feel miserable! I need to lose the extra 75 lbs. I drive 3 hrs,then 15 min break,drive 3 ,break 15 min,drive 3 and end my day. Not much time for anything. Any suggestions to help??? - 1/6/2014 9:22:23 PM
  • CATHYLEE195716
    I just signed up here and want to start a high protein / low carb diet . can any one help me get started ?
    - 12/11/2013 12:38:09 AM
  • YLWILLIAMS
    Try Lactaid fat free milk, and also Greek yogurt, they are both great. I am also lactose intolerant and there are lots of products out there for us now. - 11/15/2013 8:29:59 PM
  • I love all the exercise tips and short routines. I also appreciate all the articles on health and nutrition. - 11/14/2013 11:40:09 AM
  • Carol,

    Coach Becky says to eat lots of food with a high water content. I can't remember them all but I know two of them are celery and watermelon. There's probably an article on SP about that. Probably more than one. Also drink lots of water. Hope that helps. MaryAnn - 10/27/2013 6:32:16 PM
  • I am having mega problems with my IBS. I have found out that I can't eat cold vegetables, or fruit. I get mega pain. I have cut out Caffine, starting today, because that hurts too. I don't know what to do.
    The diet suggests that I eat Yogurt, I can't I am Lactose intolerant. I use Soy milk , but don't know if there is a Soy product that would replace . I don't like Soy cheese. Yuck.

    Help - 10/5/2013 11:18:15 AM
  • For GSTROUGH: Have you looked at the DASH diet? That is a good low salt plan. - 10/1/2013 5:45:20 PM
  • SRUMBY
    I am to have Lapband with plication on October 7 of this year. I will be on clear liquids for a couple of weeks, and then full liquid for a couple of months.I am looking forward to my journey. - 9/1/2013 6:18:14 PM
  • CAROLCLINE
    enjoy the spark people learing to use computer more, - 8/15/2013 1:16:52 PM
  • LIZJD1
    Could someone in the know, e mail me a list of low calorie FILLING foods? I'm ALWAYS hungry, and need to "FEEL" full. PLEASE HELP!!!! - 5/30/2013 10:33:02 AM