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A low calorie diet is essential to any weight loss program

A low calorie diet is necessary for any weight loss plan to be effective. All foods contain energy and this energy is measured by calories. If caloric intake is less than energy expenditure, weight loss will occur. For this reason, a low calorie diet is sometimes referred to as a low-energy diet.

Some foods have higher caloric density than others. For example, fatty foods and carbohydrate-rich foods are high calorie-high energy foods. These foods can contribute a large number of calories to any meal even when consumed in very small portions.

An overweight and/or an obese individual cannot lose weight unless he or she is willing to give up or severely limit the intake of high-calorie foods, like sweets and starches.

It is absolutely necessary that an overweight individual learn about choosing low calorie foods within any food group, for example, opting for skim milk rather than whole milk.

One should also be reminded that alcoholic beverages contain calories, and alcoholic consumption should be considered when reducing caloric intake.

An overweight and/or obese individual should have a heightened awareness of the caloric content of foods and should avoid or limit foods with many calories per serving. This can mean simply avoiding desserts and snacks, or looking up calorie values in tables.

A low calorie diet that restricts caloric intake to 1,000 to 1,500 calories per day can produce weight loss in many overweight individuals. However, this restricted caloric-intake should come from a healthy, nutritionally adequate diet.

Unfortunately, weight loss using caloric restriction is difficult because of several physiological factors. The body adapts to energy restriction within a day or two, becoming more efficient and requiring less energy to maintain current weight.

Thus, slowing down of the body's metabolism makes continued weight loss through caloric restriction alone difficult. However, exercise while restricting calories can help to lessen the metabolic slow down. Exercise enhances the metabolic rate. Therefore, a low calorie diet should be combined with exercise to achieve a successful weight loss goal.


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