Are you looking for a new method to help you lose weight?
You might think cutting calories is the best way. You might even get down to the 600-calorie range.
As a personal trainer and nutritionist for many years, I’ve had numerous clients come to me needing help after being in a severe caloric deficit for quite some time.
They need help because their metabolisms have slowed down drastically. They no longer know how to keep losing weight.
Because of this, I personally don’t recommend someone follow such a strict diet. There are many other safer methods you can use to lose weight.
However, some may want to take the route of only doing a 600-calorie day once or twice a week. If you properly fuel your body the other days of the week, it may be a safe plan – under medical guidance.
If you do indeed decide to start eating 600 calories a day, I have outlined below the benefits and downsides, as well as a few example meal plans you can follow, so be sure to keep reading!
What is a 600 calories a day diet?
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If you’re following a 600 calories a day diet plan, you are doing exactly what the name describes – eating 600 calories a day!
This diet isn’t recommended due to the risks of nutrient deficiencies and slowing of the metabolism.
The 600-calorie diet plan can be consumed in multiple meals throughout the day or in just one meal.
The latter option would make it similar to the one meal a day (OMAD) diet that some people are a fan of.
What does 600 calories a day look like?
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Because protein is the most satiating macronutrient and contributes to keeping your metabolism fast, you should never skip it.
One gram of protein is four calories. So, if 30 percent of your 600-calorie meal plan came from protein, that would amount to 180 calories or 45 grams.
Carbohydrates provide the body with energy. You’ll need plenty of this when eating such a low-calorie diet!
Similar to protein, there are four calories in one gram of carbohydrate.
A good goal would be to allow 45 percent of your 600-calorie diet for carbs, which would amount to 270 calories or 67.5 grams.
To complete the diet, you have fats. Consuming enough healthy fats daily leads to optimized hormone levels and supports cell function.
You have a remaining 25 percent of your 600-calorie diet for fats, and there are nine calories in one gram. So, you have enough room for 150 calories or 16.6 grams.
How healthy is eating 600 calories a day only?
Eating 600 calories a day is not a healthy practice.
The body thrives on more calories and nutrients because it needs the energy to function correctly and get you through the day.
In some cases, intuitive eating may lead to you naturally only eating 600 calories a day because you aren’t feeling particularly hungry on some days. However, this is countered by days where you eat in a surplus.
Benefits of Restricting to 600 Calories a Day
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In almost all cases, someone wants to restrict themselves to eating 600 calories a day because they want to lose weight and do it fast.
This method would work initially because the body would burn stored fat instead of calories for energy.
That said, someone’s lifestyle and genetics determine how long they would be steadily dropping weight before they plateau.
When a person hits a plateau, their body stops losing weight even though they are still using the method that had worked before.
Drawbacks and Warnings of Restricting to 600 Calories a Day
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Some people may be in a circumstance where they need to be following a 600 calories a day meal plan under the supervision of a medical professional.
The average person should avoid this diet.
To start, let’s talk about what happens once you plateau after dropping weight for a while.
Eventually, the body’s metabolism slows down because the body no longer needs to process all the calories it used to consume.
As your metabolism slows down, the caloric deficit you put yourself in with the 600 calories starts to get smaller and smaller.
Eventually, you’ll make your new maintenance calories 600, and this is a position you do not want to be in.
Once your body reaches this point, if you start to eat 1,000 calories a day, you will gain weight. Before you started the drastic diet, 1,000 calories would have allowed you to lose weight.
It’s very possible to bring your maintenance calories back up through reverse dieting, but it will take a lot of time and patience.
In addition, it is also complicated to get in all the nutrients you need with only 600 calories a day.
While you can plan ahead to ensure you are consuming a large variety of vitamins and minerals, it is unlikely that you will be ingesting enough of each.
Nutrient deficiencies can lead to many issues, including fatigue, anemia, bone loss, infertility, weakened immune system, and more.
Despite these risks, if you still decide to follow a 600-calorie diet, try to take a daily multivitamin and greens powder to provide the body with extra nutrients in much fewer calories.
Who Shouldn’t Eat Only 600 Calories a Day
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1. Pregnant Women
Pregnant women need to follow a special diet to ensure both their growing babies and themselves are getting enough nutrients daily.
This can’t happen with 600 calories a day, especially since pregnant women need an average of an extra 300 calories per day.
Children are constantly growing and developing. The risk of nutritional deficiencies that the 600 calorie a day diet provides makes it unsuitable for them.
These deficiencies can lead to long-term chronic health problems like osteoporosis, sleep issues, impaired psychological development, higher risk for certain diseases, and more.
3. People with Health Problems
If you have a health issue, such as low blood sugar levels, you must provide the body with what it needs so further problems do not occur.
Symptoms like dizziness and nausea are common when someone with low blood sugar cannot consume the food the body needs to raise those levels.
600 Calorie a Day Meal Plan Ideas
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Each of these meals will contain an average of 200 calories, 16 grams of protein, 23 grams of carbohydrates, and five grams of fat.
Breakfast: Protein Oatmeal
- 25 g rolled oats
- 1/2 scoop of vanilla protein powder
- ½ tbsp PB powder
- 35 grams strawberries
Lunch: Turkey Wrap and Blueberries
- 1 high-protein tortilla
- 5 slices of smoked turkey breast
- 1 c spinach
- ½ c sliced cucumbers
- 1 tsp mustard
- ½ c blueberries
Dinner: Chicken Salad
- 1 c spinach
- 2.5 oz grilled chicken
- 10 g sliced almonds
- 12 croutons
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Each of these meals will contain an average of 300 calories, 23 grams of protein, 34 grams of carbohydrates, and eight grams of fat.
Breakfast: Omelet and English Muffin
- 1 whole egg
- 2 egg whites
- 3 chopped mushrooms
- ⅓ tomato sliced
- ½ c spinach
- 1 English muffin
- 1 tbsp PB powder
Dinner: Chicken, Rice, and Veggies
- 83 g Jasmine rice
- 4 oz grilled chicken
- 44 g broccoli
- ½ c chopped bell pepper
- ½ tbsp tahini
This meal contains an average of 600 calories, 45 grams of protein, 67.5 grams of carbohydrates, and 16.6 grams of fat.
Dinner: Pizza and Fruit
- 1 protein flatbread
- ¼ c pizza sauce
- ½ c mozzarella cheese
- 4 oz lean ground turkey
- 1 c spinach
- 1 banana
- 60 g strawberries
Pro Tips to Follow When Deciding on the 600 Calories a Day Routine for Your Safety
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1. Eat Larger Volumes of Lower-Calorie Foods
Eating fewer calories can be made easier by consuming foods that are naturally quite low in calories. Because of this characteristic, you are able to eat greater quantities of the food and fill up.
A few examples of these foods would be spinach, strawberries, broccoli, egg whites, and popcorn.
2. Prioritize Nutrient-Dense Foods
Since you are consuming a lot less food than usual on a 600 calorie diet plan, make sure the foods you do eat provide you with maximum nutrition.
Every meal you have should contain various fruits and vegetables to broaden the nutrient profile your body is receiving daily.
3. Push Your Calories Back
Having a hard time sleeping because you are going to bed hungry? Push your calories back as far as you can so you go to bed with food still in your digestive system.
If you eat three meals a day, this could look like pushing back your 9 am breakfast to noon and allowing the other two meals to follow suit.
If you only have one meal, perhaps save it for around 5 pm.
4. Drink a Gallon of Water
Water fills the stomach just like food does, so use this to your advantage.
Drinking a gallon of water a day already has numerous benefits, but it is especially helpful in making you feel full even when you haven’t crossed the 600-calorie limit.
5. Keep Zero-Calorie Options on Hand
If you feel hungry, just having flavor may be enough to tame the beast in your stomach! You could try chewing zero-calorie gum, using water flavor drops, or sipping on drinks like Zevia.
Be sure to take a look at the ingredients of any of these zero-calorie options to ensure they are healthy and still able to be a part of your 600-calorie diet.
Frequently asked questions
Is eating 600 calories a day enough to lose weight?
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Eating 600 calories a day is definitely enough for you to drop some weight! How much weight is lost depends on a person’s genetics, gender, height, age, activity levels, and more.
What can I eat on 600 calories per day?
When following 600 calorie meal plans, you must plan your day of eating to ensure you’re getting in as many nutrient-dense foods as possible while keeping your stomach full.
You could enjoy foods such as strawberries, egg whites, oatmeal, protein shakes, and various veggies.
Why am I not losing weight on 600 calories a day?
If you are not dropping weight with a 600 calories a day meal plan, the most likely reason is that your metabolism has slowed down drastically, so you are no longer in a caloric deficit.
At this point, you would need to increase your physical activity to continue to put yourself in a caloric deficit and lose weight.
There are other possible reasons why the 600-calorie diet may not be working for you, and it’s recommended to reach out to your doctor to investigate further.
How much weight will I lose if I eat 600 calories a day?
Unfortunately, there is no set answer for this question because it really depends on the person.
Let’s pretend that your maintenance calories are 1,600, and you burn 500 calories daily with exercise and general movement.
This means that you burn 2,100 calories a day. If you only eat 600 calories a day, you are in a deficit of 1,500 calories.
There are 3,500 calories in a pound, so you would lose a pound every two to three days.
While your 600 calories a day weight loss would start strong, keep in mind that it will slow down over time as your body adjusts.
What happens to your body if you only eat 600 calories a day?
When you first start following a 600 calories a day meal plan, the body turns to stored fat to burn for energy instead of calories. This can result in immediate weight loss.
While this sounds great, it is important to keep in mind that your metabolism will start to slow down to accommodate your new habits.
Eventually, 600 calories a day won’t be putting you in the caloric deficit it originally was.
We hope that you enjoyed our article covering how to eat 600 calories a day for potential benefits.
If you follow the diet under the care of a medical professional and prioritize foods that provide the body with plenty of nutrition, it may be a suitable short-term plan for you.
Comment down below what you think about the diet, and don’t forget to share this article with anyone else you know who wants to learn more about it as well!