What is Calorie Deficit and Is It Healthy? Experts Explain How It Works
Calorie, as a general term, has taken up so much space in our everyday life that we often use the word without actually knowing what it really means. A calorie, though defined as a unit of measurement of the presence of kilocalories in a particular food item, is actually the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of a quantity of water by one degree. The word often used in reference to food is more complex than it seems to be.
What Is a Calorie Deficit, and How Much of One Is Healthy?
The amount of energy present in any food item or drink is generally measured in terms of calories. Calories are widely criticized for being responsible for unhealthy weight gain but they are the necessary evil everyone needs in order to maintain a healthy body and mind. Calories are required by the body for carrying out the three major processes inside the body, namely digestion, physical activity, and basal metabolic rate or BMR.
An accurate understanding of what a calorie is and how it will affect your body is essential to draw conclusions based on the effects it has on our body. The consumption of more calories than needed by the body leads to the formation of fat layers unevenly all over the body that eventually results in unhealthy weight gain. However, some calories are essential for fulfilling the ideal nutritional content required by the body.
Why Do We Need to Count Calories?
The calorie count is the trending word in today’s lifestyle where it is used loosely by all. However, the term requires scientific insight and in-depth knowledge as it is directly related to our body and affects it tremendously in more ways than we can think of. Losing weight is one of the most aspiring body goals of people these days and counting everyday calories can sincerely bring you closer to your goal. Counting calories is an excellent way to keep a track of what you eat every day and how that intake is affecting your body.
Being cautious of everyday calorie consumption helps in regulating the needs of the body to maintain ideal body health. Counting calories as a habitual practice is supremely beneficial for the people aspiring to lose or maintain their body weight or craving for consuming only clean and green products for an overall healthy lifestyle.
What is Calorie Deficit?
The gradual expansion of the term from “Calorie Count” to “Calorie Deficit” has raised obvious queries in fitness enthusiasts and the general public alike. The constant upgrade of everyday lingo has introduced a well-defined and systematic approach to everything, including calorie intake.
Calorie Deficit is a technical term combining biological and accounting words to bring forth a new fitness idea into existence. A calorie deficit can be defined as a typical body condition where the consumption of calories is lesser than the expenditure of the same, resulting in a deficit of calories in the body.
A deficit state of the body is considered ideal for shedding those extra pounds that seem to cling to your body and refuse to go away under any other circumstances. A commonly used discipline in the fitness regime, a calorie deficit is gaining popularity amongst fitness enthusiasts because of the discipline’s convenience and beneficial results.
Who is Calorie Deficit Actually For?
Calorie Deficit is not for everyone. The prime target of this restricted diet discipline is the people who desire to lose weight due to multiple professional or personal reasons. Calorie Deficit, as a fitness idea, is becoming popular amongst the masses due to its multiple benefits apart from just being helpful in losing weight.
A calorie deficit is also equally appealing for people suffering from fluctuating levels of cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Hence, a calorie deficit is generally a healthy idea for every human body. Although, it ultimately depends on the goal of the individual.
The Different Ways to Achieve a Calorie Deficit
A calorie deficit is an attractive term that excites fitness freaks because of obvious reasons like visible results and convenient ways. However, a lot of factors need to be considered to achieve an actual calorie deficit by anyone. The creation of a calorie deficit is easier said than done as it requires a consistent approach along with professional medical and fitness guidance. The three major ways to create a calorie deficit are as follows:
Consumption of fewer calories than you burn each day by restricting your daily diet.
Burning more calories than your daily consumption by increasing your regular physical activities.
Balancing the consumption and burning of the calories by combining a calorie-restricted diet and continuous exercise.
Is Calorie Deficit a Healthy Choice For the Body?
A calorie deficit is becoming the go-to solution for everyone seeking to lose weight. However, despite being in trend and followed as a healthy lifestyle choice, a calorie deficit is a complex process that can prove to be otherwise. It can be damaging to the body in the long run if not followed with necessary precautions and scientifically backed knowledge.
Harmful Effects of a Large Calorie Deficit
As it is said, excess of everything is bad, hence excessive calorie deficit negatively affects the body and leaves it unhealthier than before. A large calorie deficit instead of benefitting the body can actually harm it. There is a very fine line between healthy calorie count and unhealthy eating disorder that should not be crossed as it might have serious irreversible repercussions for the body.
A large calorie deficit can negatively affect the body by triggering unhealthy or harmful patterns of eating habits that prove to be damaging to the body in various ways. Some of the harmful effects of a large calorie deficit in the body are:
Lowers the Metabolism of the Body
The regular massive reduction in calorie intake severely affects the metabolism level of the body. A large calorie deficit slows down the metabolism to a point where you start losing muscle mass. The loss of muscle mass slows down the metabolism of the body that ultimately affects the weight-loss journey in the long term.
Reduction in calorie intake for longer periods of time and in large quantities negatively affects the nutrient content of the body. The calorie-restricted diet limits the other essential nutrients too from reaching the body that further results in nutrient deficiency. Proteins, vitamins, and other minerals are equally required in certain proportions to maintain the ideal health of the body, and the absence of these leads to nutrient deficiency that consequently results in multiple health issues.
A large calorie deficit can cause fatigue because of the limited or restricted everyday diet lacking in essential nutritional content value. The regular restriction of necessary nutrients from the daily diet directly affects everyday activities negatively leading to the feeling of fatigue and constant tiredness in the body. A prolonged calorie deficit instead of benefitting the body starts making it weak, sleepy, and unhealthy tiring.
Lowers Body’s Immunity Level
Excessive reduction in calorie intake negatively affects the immunity level of the body. A large calorie deficit is said to lower down the immunity level of the body. The reduction in calorie intake also reduces the intake of essential nutrients like Vitamin A that enhances immunity. The calorie restriction when combined with straining physical activity creating a large deficit lowers the immunity defense against infections and diseases and one gets prone to fall ill in the long term.
Reduces Fertility in Women
A large calorie deficit is also said to cynically affect the fertility rate among women. There is a direct relation between calorie deficit and reduced fertility rate in women. As a fact, everyone is aware that the ability of ovulation depends on the hormonal levels which are severely affected by calorie intake. An insufficient calorie intake reduces the levels of essential hormones required to regulate the fertility rate, hence a large calorie deficit consequently reduces fertility in women.
A calorie deficit is definitely an attractive way to strengthen the body’s health by restricting unnecessary calories and promoting physical activities. However, a few essential tips should be kept in mind while being in a calorie deficit.
The calorie deficit should not be prolonged for longer time periods.
Have proper knowledge of the nutritional content of the daily diet you are consuming under a calorie deficit plan.
A small deficit in accordance with your goal is immensely healthy, but too much of a deficit is harmful to the body. Be wise about everything you make your body go through and seek professional help while undergoing the complex discipline of a calorie deficit diet since irresponsible deficit could harm your body in numerous ways. However, following a calculated calorie deficit could work wonders for your body!
Authored by: Bhavishya Pahwa
About the Author: Bhavishya Pahwa is a budding writer who has always confided in a pen. He believes that art is a cure-all and that introspection followed by writing can add to the sanity of the world.
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