The Pros and Cons of Low-Calorie Diets

pros and cons of low-calorie diets

Also known as “crash diets”, low-calorie diets are very popular among people who are looking to lose weight fast. Like almost every diet, it has its upsides and downsides. In this article, we will be addressing the most important pros and cons of low-calorie diets.

The Pros

As many of these diets are based on fruits and vegetables, it stands to reason that they have many health benefits. There are three main benefits of low-calorie diets that studies have found over the years.

  • Weight loss – One of the more obvious benefits of low-calorie diets is weight loss. Research shows that a deficit of 600 calories might be the best way to lose weight, compared with traditional (1.200-kcal/d) low-calorie diets.
  • Improved insulin resistance – A study by the Osaka University Medical School in Japan found that low-calorie diets can improve insulin resistance through weight loss.
  • Lower cholesterol levels – During low-calorie diets, our cholesterol levels tend to be lower. However, after the diet is finished, HDL either returns to its previous levels or improves overall.

The Cons

Despite their many health benefits, low-calorie diets could also have some undesired side effects.

  • Valuable nutrients – one of the main dangers of crash diets is that they often deprive us of some valuable nutrients. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) note that they may not provide us with everything our body needs.
  • Immune system – rapid weight loss is rarely healthy. In addition to potentially damaging our heart, crash diets can increase the risk of dehydration and weaken our immune system.


Now that you’re familiar with the pros and cons of low-calorie diets, you are able to make an informed decision. Remember, before starting any diet make sure to contact your doctor for professional advice.

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