Do Low Calorie Diets Help Weight Loss?

You’d be hard pushed to get through a trip to a supermarket or grocery store without noticing some low-calorie options on the shelves… usually many of them. It seems to have become completely accepted that anyone who wants to keep slim, trim, and fit should be on a low calorie diet. But does calorie counting and restricting REALLY equal weight loss and health?

You’d be hard pushed to get through a trip to a supermarket or grocery store without noticing some low-calorie options on the shelves… usually many of them. It seems to have become completely accepted that anyone who wants to keep slim, trim, and fit should be on a low calorie diet. But does calorie counting and restricting REALLY equal weight loss and health?


Almost all products aimed at the diet and health markets are labelled to be used “as part of a calorie controlled diet”. It suggests that’s the only way it’s possible to be healthy and slim!


What’s a calorie anyway? Quite simply it’s a unit of energy. So that means that a low calorie diet really means a diet that’s low in energy. Hmmm…. That somehow doesn’t sound so appealing. If I’m going to feel slim, trim and fit, I’d expect my diet to make me feel full of energy.


Would we buy into the slimming industry’s products quite so readily if they were part of a “low energy” diet?


Can you imagine going to a drug store or supermarket and asking, “Hey, can I have something to help keep my energy levels nice and low please?” It sounds crazy put like that doesn’t it? Even if someone has a very sedentary lifestyle, they surely still want to feel energetic, bright and alert? Does a low energy diet sound like it would deliver that?


And as for weight loss, does a low calorie diet promote weight loss?


Well studies have shown that reducing calories alone is FAR from effective in helping you lose weight. The popular dieting company “Weight Watchers” even made a public statement some years back that “ we should be focusing on eating healthy nutritious foods rather that simply counting calories to lose weight and stay healthy”


“Calorie counting doesn’t work”, says Jonathan Bailor, author of the book, The Calorie Myth. In fact, it’s one of the worst strategies you can use when you want to lose weight.

“I used to count calories, too—but I’d try to eat 6,000 a day because I wanted to bulk up,” says Bailor. A personal trainer at the time, Bailor’s clients were mainly women over 35 who wanted to slim down, and his advice to them was the same as what he gave himself: Count calories, but stick to 1,200 a day to lose weight. The results weren’t good for anyone. “I was getting sick and fat, and these women, even on such restricted diets, were also getting sick and fat. I stopped training because I realized that advising them to count calories was actually hurting them.”

Bailor says he noticed a disconnect between research and what experts—including him—were teaching others about counting calories, which led to his book. (source





So many people I’ve worked with and know have tried calorie counting to lose weight and found it, in many cases, easy to stick to, but lacking in results. Here’s one reason why (yes there are many reasons)


It’s easy to stick to because once you learn how many calories all your favourite foods have (there are charts showing this everywhere), then you simply whip out a calculator and work out a diet of 1200 calories a day and your away.


It lacks effectiveness because there some very nutrient dense foods like avocados, coconut oil, fish, nuts etc, that are much higher in calories than a slice of white bread or some commercial brands of diet food that are “low calorie” nutrient dead goop, but eating avocados, coconut oil, fish and nuts has been proven to be part of diet in many people that resulted in sustained weight loss, while there are people eating exactly 1200 calories a day and getting no where near the same weight loss results.


This also confirms that the theories of “All Calories Are Equal” and “One diet Fits All” are both nonsense.


The whole notion of calories and weight loss is further called into question because the maths doesn’t even stack up.


1 pound of fat is 3500 calories.


If you weigh around 160lbs, supposedly you burn about 500 calories in 1hr of high impact aerobics, which is 1500 calories if you do it 3 times a week, plus the calories you burn a week from daily activities like walking, taking a shower, walking up stairs etc, If you also cut your calorie intake by 500 calories a day (over 7 days that’s 3500 calories) then you could burn in theory 5000 calories a week, which is about 1 ½ pounds of fat.


So why are there STACKS of anecdotal and statistical evidence to show that people following this type of system ARE NOT losing 6 pounds a month, 1 stone every 3 ½ months and 3 stone a year? Because trying to lose weight through calorie counting and calories burning doesn’t work.


The best case scenario for most people is initial weight loss depending how strictly they stick to the guidelines, then a dangerous yo yo effect. While your body is losing some weight in normally quite an unhealthy way, your body can also think it’s being starved of nutrients, so it slows your metabolic rate so that you “use up” fewer of the calories in your food.


Instead, you store more of your food as fat, to ensure against future hardship.

Then one (or both) of two things will happen. If you continue on the diet, you’ll hit a plateau where you stop losing weight, or it becomes more difficult to keep losing weight. This is because your body has slowed it’s metabolism down so you burn off fewer of the calories that you’re taking in. If and when you come off the diet, your metabolism remains “slowed” meaning that eating normally, even if you’re eating less than you used to, will pile the weight back on again, frequently adding more weight than you lost in the first place.


I also have a problem with the fact that low calorie diets continue to highlight being thin as a desireable thing, rather than being energetic, fit, healthy… there’s nothing healthy looking about size zero models, as the designers drape their gaunt, skeletal bodies in the latest fashions and drive the world to starve themselves. The sooner the focus in fashion, media and the health and fitness industries turns to eating for energy, clarity of thought and genuine health, the better!


So what does work to help you lose weight?


Following a whole foods, nutrient rich diet of delicious foods that work for your body, using a system like Metabolic Typing and Naturally You Coaching that find the exact balance of nutrients that works for your body, then builds a diet plan for you around it. Plus getting plenty of rest, water and functional exercise.


It’s so much more important to focus on counting nutrients, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, phytonutrients, live enzymes and fibre rather than calories in your foods.


Click here to find out more about how to safely and effectively lose weight with whole foods, natural remedies and life coaching

Take care and stay healthy


The Naturally You Coach

leah salmon health eating

About the Author: Leah Salmon, The Naturally You Coach, is a best selling author of 6 books, editor of The Naturally You Magazine, a whole foods and personal development coach, raw food workshop teacher and homeschooling mother of 5. Leah helps people boost their energy, beat their cravings, stabilise their weight, reverse symptoms of disease using personalised dieting planning with whole foods and her signature 7 step Naturally You Coaching program. Join her FREE mailing list in the yellow box on the right of the page to get a Free Top Ten Health Boosting Recipes Book


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