How many calories you eat affects your energy levels, metabolic rate and overall health. Reducing calories below your body’s maintenance level can promote weight loss, but eating too few calories can actually slow and even prevent weight loss.
When you don’t eat enough to fuel your body’s basic processes and your activity level, your metabolic rate may slow to conserve energy. This means you burn fewer calories, and it becomes more difficult to lose weight.
Age, gender, physical activity and your body composition affect weight loss. Because muscle loss and reduced physical activity cause a slower metabolic rate, older people often have more difficulty losing weight than younger ones.
Women tend to have more difficulty losing weight than men, and sedentary people have a harder time losing weight than active people. Eating too few calories to support good health undermines your efforts.
On an extreme diet of less than 1,100 calories, up to 30 percent of the weight loss may be from muscle loss, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. In addition, eating too few calories in an attempt to lose weight can lead to weight gain when you return to normal eating.
Body composition refers to the ratio of muscle to fat. When you lose muscle due to age or inactivity, your metabolism slows down, meaning you burn fewer calories. If you eat too few calories, your body breaks down lean tissue for energy and holds onto fat. Because of this, you might lose weight eating too few calories, but much of that weight is from water and healthy tissue.
Low calorie diets without exercise resulted in slower metabolic rates and reduced physical activity in study participants. A study concluded diet and physical activity combined offer a potentially successful method for maintaining weight loss. You can also take a supplement like the Manna FAT burner to help increase metabolism.
Sedentary women need an estimated 1,600 calories a day; active women and sedentary men need 2,000, and active men need 2,400, the Merck Manual advises. In addition to slowing your metabolism, eating too few calories puts you at risk for inadequate nutrition.
Severe calorie restriction can cause fatigue, intolerance to cold, gallstones and menstrual irregularities. Consuming fewer than 800 calories a day can result in heart rhythm abnormalities and could even be fatal. Follow the Manna Diet and take suggested portions sizes to lose weight the natural way.