Is it safe to eat 1400 calories a day? (Risks and benefits)
In this brief guide, we will answer the question “Is it safe to eat 1400 calories a day?”. What are the benefits and drawbacks of eating 1400 calories a day and who can eat 1400 calories a day.
Is it safe to eat 1400 calories a day?
Yes, a daily intake of 1400 calories falls within the “low-calorie diet” range. Low-calorie diets typically involve consuming 1,000–1,500 calories per day, with deficits of 500–750 calories recommended for weight loss by various obesity societies and guidelines. It’s essential to note that successful weight loss and maintenance require sustained effort in meal planning and preparation.
Professionals in healthcare are preferred for prescribing such diets. Additionally, individuals may experience metabolic adaptations that decrease energy expenditure, potentially leading to plateaus. These plateaus should not be misconstrued as failures of willpower but rather as challenges that may require adjustments to the dietary approach. (1)
It is important to note that 1400 calories a day is below the normal recommendations. As per USDA guidelines, females aged 19 to 30 typically need around 1,800 to 2,400 calories daily. In the same age group, males have higher calorie requirements, ranging from about 2,400 to 3,000 calories a day.
For adults aged 31 to 59, calorie needs are generally lower. Most females in this age range require approximately 1,600 to 2,200 calories per day, while males typically need about 2,200 to 3,000 calories a day. (2)
What is the impact of 1400 calories on weight loss?
Individuals placed on a calorie-deficient diet experience rapid weight loss during the initial 1–2 weeks of treatment. This is succeeded by a second, more gradual phase of weight loss, with maximum weight reduction in outpatients typically occurring at 26–52 weeks. The primary objective of low-calorie diets (LCDs) is to maintain a sustained negative energy balance, facilitating ongoing weight loss.
However, a consistent observation over nearly five decades is the relatively modest weight loss, seldom exceeding 5–10 kg at the 52-week mark, seen in long-term LCD treatments. Low-calorie diets, when integrated into lifestyle management, constitute a fundamental component of the overall approach to treating individuals with obesity. (3)
What are the risks of obesity?
Obesity has emerged as a critical global public health issue, closely linked to various health concerns, including type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), cardiovascular diseases like myocardial infarction and stroke, osteoarthritis, obstructive sleep apnea, depression, and several types of cancer such as breast, ovarian, prostate, liver, kidney, and colon cancer.
The worldwide impact is substantial, with over 650 million adults affected by obesity, and its prevalence has seen a rapid escalation over the last five decades. (1)
What are the benefits of eating 1400 calories a day?
A modest weight reduction, typically between 5% and 10% of the initial body weight, has been demonstrated to yield positive effects on cardiovascular risk factors linked to obesity and to ameliorate the clustering of risk factors. Recent studies on lifestyle interventions also indicate that even a modest weight loss can play a role in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes and hypertension.
Weight loss has been correlated with improvements in fasting glycemia, glycosylated hemoglobin, as well as systolic and diastolic blood pressure, along with positive changes in plasma lipid profiles.
Notably, there is a significant association between the amount of weight lost during a three-month dieting period following the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and the subsequent decrease in fasting plasma glucose.
Additionally, modest weight loss has been linked to a 25% reduction in total mortality among individuals with type 2 diabetes. The favorable impacts of moderate weight reduction on hypertension and serum lipids have also been firmly established.
What are the risks of eating 1400 calories a day?
The dangers associated with consuming 1400 calories a day encompass the side effects linked to such a low-calorie diet. These side effects may manifest as coldness, gastrointestinal discomfort, dizziness, and temporary alopecia, particularly during the initial weeks of the treatment.
Another risk associated with a 1400-calorie daily intake is the potential loss of motivation over time, leading to weight regain. A consistent observation is the relatively modest average maximal weight loss seen in long-term treatments (>26 weeks).
This limited treatment efficacy is a common finding in nearly all low-calorie diet studies involving non-diabetic overweight and obese individuals. The average maximal weight loss reported in treatment groups with mean baseline weights ranging from 77 to 132 kg varied from 1.7 to 8.1 kg. (2, 5)
Who can eat 1400 calories a day?
Individuals aiming to shed excess weight, namely those classified as obese or overweight, can opt for a 1400-calorie daily intake. This is feasible due to the presence of energy storage in the form of body fat.
The fundamental element in diets designed for both weight loss and maintenance is the establishment of an energy deficit. Following the “calories-in, calories-out” model, dietary strategies have traditionally centered on the principle of “eat less, move more,” urging individuals to be mindful of their calorie balance during meals.
Nevertheless, the dynamics of energy intake and expenditure are intricate processes influenced by body weight, with each factor mutually affecting the other. The quantity and type of food consumed, including macronutrient composition, as well as the timing of meals, constitute pivotal components in effective weight management strategies. (1)
In this brief guide, we answered the question “Is it safe to eat 1400 calories a day?”. What are the benefits and drawbacks of eating 1400 calories a day and who can eat 1400 calories a day.
In my perspective as a food scientist, 1400 calories a day is usually a recommended strategy for weight loss. In my research, I was able to uncover that the efficacy of this method tends to decrease as time goes by and should be accompanied by a health and nutrition professional to avoid any risks
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KIM, Ju Young. Optimal diet strategies for weight loss and weight loss maintenance. Journal of obesity & metabolic syndrome, v. 30, n. 1, p. 20, 2021.
U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020.
HEYMSFIELD, Steven B. et al. Why do obese patients not lose more weight when treated with low-calorie diets? A mechanistic perspective. The American journal of clinical nutrition, v. 85, n. 2, p. 346-354, 2007.
VIDAL, Josep. Updated review on the benefits of weight loss. International Journal of Obesity, v. 26, n. 4, p. S25-S28, 2002.
Saris WH. Very‐low‐calorie diets and sustained weight loss. Obesity research. Nov;9(S11):295S-301S. 2001.