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600-Calorie Diet – Weight-Loss Or Health-Loss?

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“The cheesiest cheeseburger ever!”, “The creamiest ice cream with caramel and crispy cookies”, “The crispiest crisps!”…The food industry does everything to keep you highly involved. However, being an active participant in the marketing trick, you may end up being a part of the weight loss industry quite soon. Instead of limiting the daily caloric intake, we keep eating everything while searching for a miraculous day – diet, or magic-fasting diets, expecting to lose everything in a day or two. Then your friend tells you about a 600 calories a day weight loss, and you’re in. Exhausting days, angry and hungry mornings, weakness and dizziness – however, 3 kilos down and you happily report the benefits of this approach. Eating 600 calories a day may have advantages, but there are many things to consider to reap all the health benefits and not make it harmful. Let’s clarify together.

What Is The 600-Calorie A Day Diet?

A 600-calorie diet is not a self-sufficient diet to follow. It’s a part of a 5:2 intermittent fasting – 5 days of free food consumption and 2 days of restrictions, so-called ‘fasting .’However, unlike absolute fasting, intermittent fasting allows you to eat not much though.

Three methods of intermittent fasting are:

Time-restricted – eating only during a certain number of hours each day, having an 8–12-hour time eating window.

Alternate day fasting – alternating between a 24-hour “fast day” (eating less than 25% energy needs or non).

Periodic fasting or whole-day fasting – there are one or two fasting days per week, during which consumption is approximately 500 to 700 calories.

Being part of a 5:2 meal plan, 600-calorie days doesn’t mean 2 consecutive days of fasting – it’s better to set them apart.

 How Healthy Is The 600-Calorie Diet?

Periods of fasting with 600 calories a day meal plan can be used for two purposes: weight loss and medical needs (before the surgery or procedures). Besides, 5:2 fasting is not that restrictive, just two days of limits.

Word of caution!

It’s essential to understand: if you are allowed to eat freely for 5 days, it doesn’t mean that you must devour everything and then enter a 2-days starvation mode. Learn to be moderate and cover your energy and physical needs, not more than 2000-2500 calories for a healthy weight. Eating for fun makes fun on your hips for a long time.

As with everything, 600 calories a day weight loss has positive and negative sides – let’s dig deeper.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of The 600-Calorie Diet?

  • Reducing Cholesterol [1]

Diets like the 5:2 – can reduce cholesterol, according to a new study. The study at the Intermountain Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Centre in Salt Lake City, Utah, identified that after 10 to 12 hours of fasting, a biological process in the body converts bad cholesterol in fat cells to energy to sustain itself.

  • Lower Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Intermittent diets have specific effects on blood glucose and lipids and significantly improve insulin resistance. Thus, it may be considered an additional treatment to prevent chronic diseases [2]. Under proper medical supervision, fasting may help people maintain a relatively healthy state.

  • Weight Loss

For a healthy weight loss of 1-2 pounds a week, you need to burn 3500-7000 calories weekly, thus 500-1000 calories daily.

Instead of making a daily negative balance, you can continue consuming your healthy calorie limits for 5 days and lower your food intake for 2 days. It will help you to create a recommended weekly calorie deficit for weight loss.

Besides, according to some researchers [3], fasting helps the body use fat for energy, which releases ketones into the bloodstream, consequently encouraging weight loss.

  • Easy To Follow

This type of intermittent fasting plan is a good option for beginners because most of the time, you will just keep to a healthy diet and only 2 days of quite a severe calorie restriction. Eating 600 calories a day may seem like eating nothing but water and apples; however, it’s just a lack of knowledge about the nutritional value of products. 600 calorie diet plan includes healthy and tasty dishes; that is filling and nutritious. Despite being so low in calories, they can provide you with enough energy for daily functioning.

Cons Of The 600-Calorie Diet Plan

Eating 600 calories a day, despite its quite obvious advantages, may have a negative impact on your health, which will overweigh all its benefits, unfortunately. Not to risk your health, may sure you discuss with your doctor all the details of your diet.

  • Risk of nutritional deficiency

Eating 600 calories a day is certainly not a long-term option. It may help you shift your numbers on the scales; however, it’s better to keep to a healthy diet and physical activity during the day to avoid severe food restrictions.

If you make 600 calories a day, your typical practice, you will face nutritional and vitamin deficiency. And even if you don’t feel it at the beginning, it may accumulate and lead to serious health issues.

For proper functioning, we need a daily recommended amount of vitamins, micro-, and macronutrients, without any nutrients-rest days.

  • Gallstones

Your liver releases bile each time you eat. Bile is a fluid that helps with digestion: it breaks down fats into fatty acids, which can be taken into the body by the digestive tract. When skipping meals, the bile juices build up and raise the cholesterol levels in your gallbladder. Over time, the waxy fats can harden into gallstones.

How is this process connected to fasting days? On fasting, you consume less food, which doesn’t satisfy your needs. That’s why I feel hungry even more often – more bile unused, more chances of gallstones.

  • Good fats deficiency

Due to being uninformed, people consider everything fat-related as a weight gainer. However, unsaturated (healthy) fats positively impact our blood pressure [3] as well as the hormonal system, cholesterol levels, heart rhythms regulation, etc. Now imagine you regularly deprive your body of such nutrients – will it positively influence the long run?

  • Muscle loss

A 600 calorie diet meal plan lacks the building bricks for your daily energetic needs. Since there’s not enough energy coming in, muscle mass is the most readily available source of protein to be converted to glucose in our body. As a result, prolonged fasting may cause a loss of lean mass, not weight.

  • Alter your metabolism

Prolonged fasting lowers your resting metabolic rate. Your body may understand your fast as starvation and start to use lean muscle mass for energy and keep fat tissue to ‘survive’ during the famine. Muscle tissue is more metabolically active and requires more energy and calories for functioning. Muscle loss slows your metabolism, and so does weight loss.

Sample Of A 600-Calorie Diet Plans

Option 1

Meal 1
Meal 2
Total: 224 calories
Total: 380 calories
  1. 1 large scrambled egg: 91 calories
  2. 1 large scrambled egg: 91 calories
  3. 1 slice of wholegrain toast: 75 calories
  4. 4 ounces of orange juice: 58 calories
  1. 3-ounce broiled hamburger (90% lean to 10% fat): 184 calories
  2. 1 hamburger bun: 117 calories
  3. 1 tomato slice: 4 calories
  4. 1 tablespoon of chopped onions: 4 calories
  5. 1 chocolate sandwich cookie with cream filling: 56 calories
  6. 4 spears of asparagus: 13 calories

 

Option 2

Meal 1
Meal 2
Total: 191 calories
Total: 413 calories
  1. 1 small cinnamon-raisin bagel (3 1/2 to 4 inches diameter
  1. 3-ounce braised round steak without fat: 182 calories
  2. 1 cup of green beans: 44 calories
  3. 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice, 97 calories
  4. 1 tablespoon of chopped onions: 4 calories
  5. 1 cup of whole strawberries: 46 calories
  6. 1 tablespoon of light cream: 44 calories

 

Option 3

Meal 1
Meal 2
Meal 3
Total: 150 calories
Total: 359 calories
Total: 59 calories
  1. 1 cup corn flakes: 100 calories
  2. 1/2 cup of 1% milk: 50 calories
  1. 3-ounce boneless and skinless chicken breast, grilled: 128 calories
  2. 1 medium baked potato: 168 calories
  3. 1 pat of butter: 36 calories
  4. 1 cup of chopped broccoli, boiled: 27 calories
I. 1 apple (3-inch): 95 calories

 

Option 4

Meal 1
Meal 2
Total: 271 calories
Total: 335 calories
  1. 4 ounce cooked skinless, boneless chicken breast (184 cal)
  2. 6-ounce broccoli, 60 cal
  3. 4-ounce carrots, 25 cal
  4. 1/2 tsp canola or olive oil, 20 cal.
  1. 6 oz lean ground beef - cooked and drained 90%, 228 cal
  2. 1/2 head of lettuce, 26 cal,
  3. 2 tomatoes, 50 cal
  4. 1 tbsp sour cream, 31 cal

 

Option 5

Meal 1
Meal 2
Total: 339 calories
Total: 299 calories
  1. 3 large eggs, 234 cal
  2. 1/4 avocado, 80 cal
  3. 4-ounce carrots, 25 cal
  1. 4 oz chicken breast - skinless, boneless, 184 cal
  2. 1 large tomato, 35 cal
  3. 1/4 avocado, 80 cal

 

Points To Note

As with every dietary regimen, 600 calorie fasting requires your attention:

  1. A 600 caloric intake is just a temporary measure; it can never substitute a healthy diet regimen. It mustn’t take more than 2 days a week, as long as its benefits may quickly turn into negative impact.
  2. Losing weight is a matter of persistence and a habit to lead a healthy life. Don’t try to find a 1 day diet that will correct all your nutritious mistakes.
  3. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid fasting at any price. Lack of nutrients may lead to health deprivation of absolutely healthy people. Not to mention the babies, who get all the nutrients from their moms.
  4. People with increased gastric acidity, with low blood sugar, and those with high blood pressure medication or heart disease must be cautious when considering such a diet. It can aggravate your problems and lead to new ones.
  5. When you have free calorie intake days, it’s essential not to overeat – 2000 calories for women and 2500 calories for men, combined with exercise and workout.
  6. Fasting days are not consecutive because they may put your body under stress and cause weight gain in the long run, fatigue, dizziness, and even an eating disorder.
  7. Eating 600 calories a day and not losing weight may result from overeating during the remaining days. People who follow a moderate diet during the 5 days show better results in maintaining weight.

The Bottom Line

Is it ok to eat 600 calories a day?

It is acceptable to eat 600 calories a day, provided that you alternate day of fasting with period of eating. Otherwise, you risk having irreversible health problems by aiming to lose fat more quickly.

What are 600 calorie diet before and after results?

The research found that eating 600 calories – or even “killing” 500 calories – on fasting days may help reduce the risk of diabetes and is also beneficial when you need to make a daily calorie restriction to lose weight.

600 calorie diet plan for weight loss is a good option (if you have no medical restrictions) for a limited period. However, instead of wasting time and looking for a magic pill that will help painlessly and effortlessly to lose weight, form a new lifestyle and attitude toward life.

Why not eat moderately what you want, instead of eating like it’s the last meal in life every time you open the fridge? Why not go for a walk instead of having the 3 desserts in a row? Why not make physical activity your habit?

Start changing your nutrition and workout behavior, and you will see the changes without any risk to your health or psyche.

FAQs

🥦What can I eat for 600 calories a day❓

🥦600 calories a day can't help you cover your energy needs. The menu can include vegetables, lean meat, lentils, cereals dairy products. Basically, anything you want (related to healthy nutrition), but the portions will be tiny, depending on the products.

🥦How fast will I lose weight with a 600 calorie deficit❓

🥦The answer can be based on your starting numbers: height, weight, age, level of physical activity, and BMR level. Also, your caloric intake on other days of the week, apart from fasting. The speed of your weight loss process depends on all these factors.

🥦How Much Weight Could You Lose On a 600-Calorie diet❓

🥦You can safely lose 1-2 pounds per week without troubling your health. If you impatiently lower your caloric intake to less than 500-600 calories on fasting days and 1200-1500 on regular days, you will lose more but gain health complications and regain all the nasty kilos.

🥦What Should I Eat For Lunch If I am On a 600-Calorie diet❓

🥦A lunch meal is typically taken at work. A home-made chicken with baked vegetables, a wholegrain sandwich with a piece of turkey and salad, yogurt with berries - nutritious and tasty meals, however, won't keep you satiety for long.

🥦What is the lowest amount of calories I can eat❓

🥦The lowest number of calories is your BMR level - basal metabolic rate. It typically starts from 1200 for adults, but it's an individual measure. This amount of calories keeps your body functioning correctly; if you go lower than that, it will slow down the metabolism sooner or later and make you gain weight more.

Sources:

  1. Fasting diets like the 5:2 ‘can help prevent diabetes by reducing cholesterol after 10 to 12 hours.
  2. Effect of Intermittent Fasting Diet on Glucose and Lipid Metabolism and Insulin Resistance in Patients with Impaired Glucose and Lipid Metabolism: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
  3. Effects of dietary saturated, monounsaturated, and n−3 fatty acids on blood pressure in healthy subjects

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