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The 800-Calorie Diet Plan: Is It Effective for Weight Loss?


The 800 calorie diet plan has gained significant popularity as a method for quick weight loss. In a world where numerous diets claim to offer the best results, the 800 calorie diet has emerged as a contender. However, its effectiveness and potential health implications remain subjects of debate. In this article, we will delve into the details of the 800 calorie diet, explore its pros and cons, and determine whether it is truly worth considering.

Understanding the 800 Calorie Diet Plan

The 800 calorie diet plan is a low-calorie approach to weight loss. Although the concept is straightforward, there are some underlying factors to consider. Advocates of this diet claim that it facilitates rapid weight loss, including the reduction of stubborn belly fat. Dr. Nowzaradan, a renowned bariatric surgeon, often recommends this low-calorie approach to patients who are morbidly obese before they undergo surgery. The main principle behind this diet is creating a calorie deficit to promote weight loss. When individuals consume more calories than they burn, the excess calories are stored as fat. By restricting the calorie intake to 800 calories per day, weight loss becomes seemingly effortless.

The Pros and Cons of the 800 Calorie Diet

While the 800 calorie diet plan may offer quick results, it is not without its downsides. Let’s explore both the advantages and disadvantages associated with this diet.


  1. Rapid Weight Loss: The University of California suggests that individuals can lose up to 5 pounds per week on the 800 calorie diet.

  2. Alternative for Obese Individuals: The diet may be beneficial for those who are morbidly obese and seeking to lose weight before bariatric surgery.

  3. Potential Reversal of Type 2 Diabetes: Some studies indicate that the 800 calorie diet plan can help improve blood sugar levels and aid in reversing type 2 diabetes.

  4. Metabolism Boost: Combining intermittent fasting with the 800 calorie diet may lead to an accelerated metabolism and enhanced weight loss.


  1. Nutritional Deficiency: Maintaining proper nutrition becomes challenging with such a low-calorie plan, especially without proper guidance or supplementation.

  2. Hormonal Imbalances: Extremely low-calorie diets can disrupt hormone production, potentially leading to decreased bone health and fertility issues.

  3. Risk of Gallstones: Following a very low-calorie diet increases the likelihood of elevated uric acid levels, which may contribute to the development of gallstones.

  4. Muscle Loss: Insufficient protein intake and lack of exercise can result in muscle loss, leading to fatigue and overall weakness.

  5. Reduced Metabolism: Prolonged adherence to low-calorie diets can decrease metabolism, making it harder to burn calories even after returning to a regular diet.

What to Eat on the 800 Calorie Diet

While reducing calorie intake to 800 calories per day may seem daunting, it is crucial to focus not only on the quantity but also the quality of food consumed. Here are some recommendations for foods to include and avoid while following the 800 calorie diet plan.

Foods to Include:

  • Complex Carbohydrates: Whole grain rice and sweet potatoes provide sustained energy and promote satiety.
  • Vegetables: Fresh and cooked vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber, making them excellent additions to your meals.
  • Whole Grains and Legumes: Lentils, beans, and rice offer protein and help keep you feeling full.
  • Fresh Fruit: Rich in fiber and low in calories, fresh fruit is a nutritious choice for snacks or desserts.

Foods to Avoid:

  • Highly Processed “White Foods”: White rice, white bread, and starchy vegetables should be limited due to their low nutritional value and high calorie content.
  • Refined Sugars: Minimize your sugar intake as much as possible, as it contributes to increased calorie consumption.
  • Oils and Fats: While necessary for the body, oils and fats are high in calories. Opt for sautéing vegetables instead of using additional oils.

Weaning Off the 800 Calorie Diet Plan

Transitioning from an 800 calorie diet plan to regular portions requires careful consideration to prevent potential health issues. Gradually reintroduce foods into your diet and pay attention to your body’s response. Start with soft foods, especially if your previous diet mainly consisted of liquids. Progress to heavier foods while monitoring any discomfort or adverse effects. If you experienced fatigue or weakness during the low-calorie diet, gradually reintroduce exercise to avoid overwhelming your body.

In Conclusion

While the 800 calorie diet plan may offer significant benefits for individuals who are morbidly obese or preparing for bariatric surgery, it may not be the best approach for most people looking to lose a few pounds. It is recommended to maintain a calorie intake no lower than 400 calories below your daily recommended amount, which is typically around 1200 calories for women. Starting with a healthier calorie deficit can ensure long-term weight loss without compromising your overall well-being. Always consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before embarking on any drastic dietary changes to ensure a safe and effective weight loss journey.