Calorie Deficit Diet | Planning, Calculating and Types

Calorie Deficit Diet Plans – Introduction

A calorie deficit diet is one of the various strategies out there to lose weight and live healthily. It is based on the approach of consuming fewer calories than you burn a day.

The following article provides an overview of calorie deficit diets, including what they are, how they work, and how to calculate them. It also delves into the many types of calorie deficit diets and how to utilize various tools to plan and track your food intake.

What is a Calorie Deficit Diet?

Calories are commonly referred to as units of energy in the world of nutrition and fitness. One calorie is defined as the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius.

When we eat food irrespective of carbohydrates, proteins, or fats, our bodies break them down into simpler forms and utilize the energy stored in the food’s calories to fuel our bodily functions, including movement, digestion, breathing, and even thinking.

A calorie deficit occurs when the body burns more calories than it takes in, which means that the total calorie intake is lower than the number of calories expended or used up. In simple terms, Calorie Deficit refers to the act of minimizing calorie intake.

How to Understand a Calorie Deficit Diet?

The concept of a calorie deficit diet can be related to a budgeting system. Likewise, budgeting in which you need to limit your expenditures as per your needs, calorie deficit diet requires you to limit your intake as per body requirements. As budgeting leads to targeted financial savings, following a calorie deficit diet leads to targeted weight loss.

When you make a budget, you try to spend less than you earn to save money. In the same way, when you try to lose weight with a calorie-deficit diet, you make sure that you eat less than you burn. When on a low-calorie diet, you need to keep track of how many calories you eat and how much energy you use, just like you do when making a budget.

Among all aspects of budgeting and calorie-deficit diet, the most important and evident are discipline and consistency. As you need to stick to fixing the budget, in any case, to achieve your financial targets in budgeting, the same is the case with a calorie deficit diet. You need to stick with fix diet for the required results in weight loss.

According to research, a person’s risk of obesity is determined by their total calorie consumption, and putting your body in a calorie deficit for an extended length of time can result in weight loss. (1)

List of Calorie Deficit Diet Plans

In the next table, you can find different types of calorie deficit diets based on the targeted amount of calories per day. They also contain a variety of diet plans according to the different diet approaches.

500 Calorie Diet
800 Calorie Diet
1000 Calorie Diet
1100 Calorie Diet
1200 Calorie Diet
1300 Calorie Diet
1400 Calorie Diet
1500 Calorie Diet
1600 Calorie Diet
1700 Calorie Diet
1800 Calorie Diet
1900 Calorie Diet
2000 Calorie Diet

How to Plan Your Calorie Deficit Diet?

Planning a calorie deficit diet will involve several tools and steps:

Calorie Deficit Diet Plans

How to Plan Your Calorie Deficit Diet?

1. Calculate Your Daily Calorie Requirements:

You can calculate your daily calorie requirement by estimating the number of calories your body needs to perform its daily activities based on your age, gender, weight, height, and activity level. Here are the steps to calculate your daily calorie requirements:

  • Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

The basal metabolic rate, or BMR, is the minimum amount of energy or calories required by your body while at rest; it excludes the variable effect of physical activity, i.e., any movement or digestion. In other words, BMR is the number of calories your body would burn if you lay down all day and did nothing.

BMR consumes 60% of daily energy. Thus, it comprises energy for regular body cellular homeostasis, heart activity, brain and nerve function, etc.

Your BMR is determined by a variety of factors, including your age, gender, height, weight, and body composition. Knowing your BMR can help you determine your daily calorie needs for weight loss, weight maintenance, or weight gain. (2)

BMR can be calculated by using the famous Harris-Benedict equation. (3)

BMR can also be calculated by using our BMR calculator

  • Total Daily Energy Expenditure

Total Daily Energy Expenditure is abbreviated as TDEE. It is the amount of energy your body expends in a day through multiple activities such as digestion, movement, and physical exercise.

Calculating your TDEE can help you determine how many calories you need to consume each day to maintain, gain, or lose weight. Several things, like your age, gender, height, weight, and amount of activity, are taken into account when figuring out your TDEE.

Once you’ve calculated your BMR, you may use it to calculate your TDEE by simply multiplying it by the physical activity factor. The physical activity factor is determined by an individual’s type of activity (e.g., 1.3 for inactive, 1.5 for moderately active, and 1.7 for extremely active). (2)

2. Set a Calorie Deficit Goal

Once you’ve determined your TDEE and BMR, you can adjust your calorie intake to meet your specific health and fitness goals. Determine how many calories you must reduce from your daily intake to achieve a calorie deficit. Reducing or limiting at least 500-1000 per day may produce a loss of 1-2 pounds per week.

3. Monitor Your Calorie Intake

Track your calorie intake using a food diary, an app, or a website to make sure you aren’t over your daily calorie allotment. Make sure you are taking the appropriate portion sizes for your meals and snacks by using measuring cups and food scales.

4. Plan Meals wisely

Focus on foods that are high in vitamins and minerals, like fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats, to make sure you get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs while still eating less overall.

5. Incorporate Physical Activity

Include physical exercise in your daily routine to enhance your calorie deficit and burn more calories. By increasing physical activity, one can improve calorie burn, decrease appetite, and produce a natural calorie deficit without concentrating on calorie reduction (4).Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes, most days of the week, at a moderate level.

6. Be Patient and Consistent

Consistency is the key to everything. Maintaining a healthy weight takes time and dedication. Maintain a calorie deficit and wait for results before giving up on your weight loss efforts.

Types of Calorie Deficit Diets

Every single diet out there operates on the same basic principle of a calorie deficit. In other words, all diets work by helping you consume fewer calories than your body burns, leading to a calorie deficit.

Low-Fat Diets

Research has shown that reducing fat in your diet can provide you with various health benefits for cardiovascular disorders, obesity, and various types of cancers. Low-fat diets are diets that have 30% or less than 30% of the fat content in them. Vegetables, fruits, egg whites, cereals made from whole grains, beans, peas, lentils, skinless chicken, seafood, and low-fat dairy products are a few examples of typical low-fat foods.

MUFA (Mono-Unsaturated Fatty Acids) and PUFA (Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acids) are usually preferred as they lower the low-density lipoprotein, which is a bad cholesterol. While saturated and trans fats are considered unhealthy as they increase the level of low-density lipoprotein. So, it is advisable to reduce these types of fats while creating a calorie deficit based on fat restriction. (5)


DASH is an abbreviation for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet is a healthy eating plan meant to help treat or prevent hypertension (high blood pressure). The diet limits foods heavy in sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars. Furthermore, it encourages protein, fiber, potassium, magnesium, and calcium-rich foods, including fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. (6)

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is a low-fat eating plan based on the dietary practices of the Mediterranean region. It emphasizes fresh, unprocessed foods like vegetables, olive oil, fish, and poultry. However, you must avoid processed foods, salt, red meat, and saturated fat. The Mediterranean Diet includes a great variety of delicious recipes.

In addition, it assists in the treatment of cardiovascular conditions, cancers, neurodegenerative diseases, obesity, diabetes, and overall mortality. (7)

Plant-Based Diets

It is a broad category and comprises the following diets in it:

  • The vegetarian diet, also known as ovo-lactovegetarian, includes all plant-based foods as well as eggs and cheese.
  • Vegan means that you only eat plant-based foods and don’t eat any meat, dairy, eggs, or honey.
  • Whole-foods, plant-based (WFPB): This diet is very close to a vegan diet. Low in fat and high in fruit, veggies, and whole grains.
  • A flexitarian diet is a broad term for people who mostly eat veggie or plant-based foods but occasionally eat some meat, dairy, or seafood. (8)

Low-Carb Diets

According to one study, a low-carbohydrate diet following weight reduction burned more calories than a high-carbohydrate diet, especially among individuals with high insulin production (9). Diets that are low in carbohydrates are frequently recommended to those who want to lose weight and maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Foods that are high in carbohydrates or added sugar are often restricted in the majority of low-carb plans. A low-carbohydrate diet limits carbs, such as those in bread, pasta, and sweet meals. It is high in protein, fat, and veggies. Furthermore, Low-carbohydrate diets claim to result in a significant increase in total energy expenditure (TEE) of 400-600 kcal/day. (10)

Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet for short, is a low-carb diet. It can assist the body in burning more fat, reducing hunger, and lowering blood sugar levels. A ketogenic diet consists predominantly of high-fat, moderate-protein, and extremely low-carbohydrate foods. In other words, 55% to 60% of the macronutrients in the diet are fat, 30% to 35% are protein, and 5% to 10% are carbohydrates. Specifically, a 2000-kilocalorie-per-day diet contains 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. (11)

Atkins Diet

The Atkins diet is a low-carb diet that gained popularity in the 1972 book “Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution” by Dr. Robert Atkins. The Atkins diet is a low-carb diet that focuses on high-protein and high-fat foods. The diet has four phases: Induction, Balancing, Maintenance, and Lifetime Maintenance. This diet urges you to eat plenty of lean protein, such as fish, poultry, and pig, along with healthy fats like butter, salad dressing, or olive oil, low-carb vegetables like spinach, and nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, at each meal. On this diet, cutting back on carbohydrates is advised.

Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet, also known as the “caveman diet” or “Stone Age diet, is an eating plan that is based on foods that early humans might have consumed during the Paleolithic era or “Old Stone Age.” The Paleolithic Era spans the time period from approximately 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago.

The Paleolithic diet was mostly based on plants like tubers, nuts, seeds, legumes, and wild barley, cooked and processed with fire and stone tools. Since domesticated animals were absent, lean small game animals were used to provide 3% of the diet’s animal protein. Bees and honey were also backup food (12).You can’t have cereal grains, legumes (including peanuts), dairy, refined sugar, refined vegetable oils, potatoes, processed foods, or salt.

Intermittent Fasting

The timing of your meals is restricted when you practice intermittent fasting, which results in a decrease in overall caloric intake.

The Intermittent Fasting (IF) diet does not prohibit you from eating any particular kind of food but rather prescribes a schedule for when you should consume each of your meals.

You are going to have to skip either breakfast or dinner if you want to stay within that frame of time. In the end, you will have to cut anywhere from 250 to 600 calories from your daily intake, depending on the situation. One of the benefits of fasting is an improvement in one’s metabolic rate, as well as improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol levels. (13)

  • 5:2 Day Diet

A dietary strategy known as “intermittent fasting” serves as the foundation for the 5:2 diet. This is a type of eating pattern in which you eat normally at certain times of the day and then fast at other times. On the 5:2 diet, you eat normally and healthily for five days of the week, and then you ‘fast’ for the other two days of the week. There are several different variations of this diet.

Very Low-Calorie Diets

Very low-calorie diets (VLCDs) are eating plans that provide less than 800 kcal per day, usually in the form of meal replacements and are generally given under the supervision of a doctor. The goal of these kinds of programs is to help people lose weight very quickly while keeping their muscle strength. Most of the time, this is done by eating small amounts of prepackaged food and supplements that come in powder form. It is usually preferred for overweight and obese individuals. (14)


In conclusion, calorie deficit diets can help people lose weight and improve their health because they require people to eat less than they burn. By making a caloric deficit, the body is forced to use stored fat for energy, which leads to weight loss. However, it is always advisable to consult a nutritionist or a dietician while creating a calorie deficit. Also, it’s important to focus on eating foods that are high in nutrients and to make sure the body still gets all the vitamins and minerals it needs.

See Also

Low Glycemic Index Food List

Carnivore Diet Food List

Low Carb Lunch Ideas

High Protein Lunch Ideas


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Current Version
April 28, 2023
Written By
Muhammad Bilal Haider
April 28, 2023
Medically Reviewed By
Franco Cuevas, MD