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Nutrition » Diets » 700 Calorie Diet: Is It A Sensible Way To Lose Weight?

700 Calorie Diet: Is It A Sensible Way To Lose Weight?

700 calorie diet for a month

Say goodbye to your extra weight with a 700-calorie diet

Are you itching to lose weight because you have a special event coming up and your favorite dress is bursting at the seams? You might have thought about beginning a 700-calorie diet which is all the rage nowadays. Its advocates claim that it can help you get rid of the excess weight in a fast and safe way. This diet encourages you to maintain a drastic caloric deficit. However, to follow a 700-calorie diet menu is not the easiest task, as it requires much endurance and determination. Similarly, its impact on you might not be 100% positive due to a number of risks such a low-calorie weight loss approach entails. So, let’s have a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of the diet.

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What is a 700-calorie diet?

A 700-calorie diet, also known as a very-low-calorie diet, is a legit weight-loss method that promises drastic calorie burn. This diet is based on the idea that eating about 700 calories a day will help you shed pounds. The 700-calorie diet is designed for obese people who need to slim down as soon as possible, usually for medical reasons. The diet is sometimes prescribed by physicians for treating diabetes or preparing for a surgery or fertility treatment (6). In these cases, the diet is followed under close supervision by the physician for a maximum of 12 weeks.

Obese people, that is, those whose BMI exceeds 30, can lose as much as  3-5 pounds weekly sticking to the low-calorie diet. Accordingly, following a 700-calorie diet plan for 12 weeks  can result in an average loss of about 44 pounds (7).

 How many calories should you eat a day?

To calculate your ideal daily calorie intake you need to consider your age, sex, and lifestyle. On average, women need 1,600 to 2,400 calories for their body to function properly, while men’s calorie intake should range between 2,000 and 3,000 calories. People who are not active throughout the day need less calories than those who move a lot (1). 

In fact, your body can determine the number of calories you need. Consequently, you should not be surprised when you have no appetite on the days when you are chilling in a hammock or sitting in front of your computer all day long. At the same time, it is natural to have a voracious appetite when you are on foot or exercise a lot.

700 calorie diet
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How many carbs do you eat on a 700-calorie diet?

Although the name 700-calorie diet does not imply any restrictions in food choice, the meal plan is often low-carb. A typical American or Western diet includes much protein and simple carbohydrates and too few veggies and fruits, regardless of calorie level (3). In order to boost the effect of the very-low-calorie diet, many women and men in pursuit of a slim body choose a low-carb variant, when they have to cut down on carbs significantly. They limit their carb intake to 20-60 grams a day, which provide 80-240 calories. Some choose to drastically cut down on carbs at the initial stages of dieting and then gradually increase the intake.

Carbs are an essential source of energy during a 700-calorie diet, when you practically eat insufficient food. Consuming fewer carbs might not be the primary reason for a significant weight loss. Because of a low-carb diet, your body receives extra fat and protein, which help you curb the appetite. As a result, you want to eat less, easing through your very-low-calorie weight-loss journey (4). 

Although limiting your carb intake can help you lose weight, it can also undermine your wellbeing by causing (4):

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Skin rash
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Bad breath
700 calorie diet plan
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In the long run, a low-carb diet can trigger long-term problems, such as vitamin or mineral deficiency, chronic diseases, etc. (4). With a low-carb variation of a 700-calorie diet, you get insufficient nutrients, which proves to endanger your health. It is recommended to follow this meal plan under the supervision of a dietician and nutritionist to prevent severe health problems.

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Is a 700-calorie diet really effective?

The whole point of this diet is to limit your calorie intake, nothing more, nothing less. In fact, this is undoubtedly the most basic way to lose weight; as you start burning more calories than you consume, your extra pounds begin to vanish. Another way to boost the calorie burn is to exercise and stay active throughout the day. Paradoxically, working out during a 700-calorie diet can do more harm than good. Indeed, exercising is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle.

However, when you eat such a limited amount of calories, even low-impact exercises can exhaust you. Overall, exercising on a 700-calorie meal plan can be extremely stressful for your body. As you combine cardio or strength workout plans with a very-low-calorie diet, you are likely to give up very quickly. Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of restriction and physical demand imposed on your body, you might start resisting those. Consequently, not only will you fail to lose weight, but you will also be unable to keep it off (2). If you are on or starting a very low calorie diet, discuss your plans for including physical activity with the physician monitoring you throughout your journey.

700 calorie diet menu
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How much weight is it safe to lose?

To lose weight wisely, you should aim at shedding 1-2 pounds a week. This will allow you to keep the weight off in the future. Achieving this result requires you to reduce your calorie intake by 500-750 calories, which might ultimately result in a 700-calorie diet, but not always (2, 8). If a person eats about 2,500 calories a day and reduces the intake by 500 calories, the endgame will not be 700 calories. In fact, changing the eating habits so drastically in order to reach 700 calories can be detrimental to your health, leading to such side effects as (5):

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Hair loss
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle loss

In addition, a 700-calorie diet does not ensure permanent weight loss. On the contrary, it puts you into the “survival mode,” when your metabolism slows down. This is not the usual state for the body, which is why it can be harmful (2).

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Takeaways

Being a representative of very-low-calorie diets, a 700-calorie diet proves to be rather effective for weight loss. Indeed, cutting down on calories is a logical and foolproof way to slim down. You just need to eat 700 calories a day, and it does not matter what food you consume. In fact, you can try a low-carb variation to enhance the effect. However, limiting your carb intake can be dangerous, leading to a variety of short- and long-term problems, among which are headaches, chronic diseases, and others. 

As for the 700-calorie diet results, they are individual for every person. In general, you are expected to lose 3-5 pounds a week, which is more than normally recommended. You are not advised to engage into this or any other very low-calorie diet without a medical doctor’s supervision because of possible health risks.

So, let’s go back to the initial question: is a 700-calorie diet a sensible way to lose weight? It depends. For people who need to lose only 5 pounds to reach their ideal weight, the diet is not sensible. On the other hand, obese people with weight-related health risks might find it helpful. In any case, very-low-calorie diets are rather unsafe and not suitable for everyone, which is what you should consider when choosing it for your weight-loss plan. Most importantly, one should only ever use a very low calorie diet for rapid weight loss when recommended by their doctor and under medical supervision.

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DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

 SOURCES:

  1. Appendix 2. Estimated Calorie Needs per Day, by Age, Sex, and Physical Activity Level (2020, health.gov)
  2. How to Cut Calories for Weight Loss (2020, verywellfit.com)
  3. Living With Obesity At 700 Calories Per Day! (2018, bodybuilding.com)
  4. Low-carb diet: Can it help you lose weight? (2017, mayoclinic.org)
  5. Rapid Weight Loss (2019, webmd.com)
  6. Very low calorie diets (2019, nhs.uk)
  7. Very Low-Calorie Diets: What You Need to Know (n.d., webmd.com)
  8. Weight loss: 6 strategies for success (2019, mayoclinic.org)
Lilly Lawrence

Lilly Lawrence

Lilly is a professional writer specializing in health and science writing. She’s highly inspired by questions of science, which particularly concern nutrition, fitness and medicine. She is a firm advocate for a healthy lifestyle, which is why she creates informative articles based on scientific research and strives to deliver clear and yet detailed information on how to take care of your body and mind. Lilly never fails to flesh out her articles with no-frills nutritional advice, up-to-date fitness tips, and latest medical research data which helps readers get a better grasp on the issue they are concerned about.

Kristen Fleming

Kristen Fleming

I am a U.S. educated and trained Registered Dietitian (MS, RD, CNSC) with clinical and international development experience. I have experience conducting systematic reviews and evaluating the scientific literature both as a graduate student and later to inform my own evidence-based practice as an RD. I am currently based in Lusaka, Zambia after my Peace Corps service was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic and looking for some meaningful work to do as I figure out next steps. This would be my first freelance project, but I am a diligent worker and quite used to independent and self-motivated work.

Kristen Fleming, MS, RD, CNSC

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