What is calorie deficit? Understand how to lose weight by reducing daily calories


Weight loss considered healthy is 0.5 to 1.0 kg per week

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It is common to find this term when we read texts related to weight loss , but do you know what it means? We have minimal daily caloric needs to keep our vital functions at rest (breathing, heartbeat, brain function, etc.). This caloric (energetic) value is called the resting metabolic rate. Any extra activity, whether at work or for leisure, will increase the need for calories that the body needs to perform its functions properly.

In order to understand what the deficit is, we must first understand about the energy balance, which is the math between the calories that our body spends and the calories that we eat in our food, and three scenarios can occur:

  • neutral energy balance: when we eat the same calories we spend. In this case, we keep the body weight stable;
  • positive energy balance: when we eat more calories than we expend. In that case, body weight increases, excess nutrients will be stored;
  • negative energy balance: when we eat less calories than we expend. In this case, body weight decreases, as we use our own energy stores to keep the metabolism working properly.

It is precisely in this last case that the caloric deficit arises, because to generate weight loss, we must consume less than we spend, leaving the body “in negative” in calories! Thus, the body mobilizes the stores of nutrients (carbohydrates and fats) to provide the necessary energy.

To generate this deficit, we can only decrease the calories ingested by food, include or increase the intensity of physical exercise or combine the two factors. Specific foods, promising to increase metabolism, have no significant impact on calorie consumption, so don’t fall for this trick!

How many calories do you need to spend to lose weight

Considering that 1 kg of fat tissue in our body corresponds to approximately 7 thousand calories, to lose 1 kg of fat we must generate a calorie deficit of 7 thousand calories. Weight loss considered healthy is 0.5 to 1.0 kg per week.

Thus, to lose 1 kg in a week, we must have a calorie deficit of 7 thousand calories in 7 days, that is, one thousand calories per day, which can be the association of caloric restriction in the diet (for example, 700 kcal less per day in the diet) and increase in daily physical activity (any physical activity done at the correct intensity to generate approximately 300 kcal of caloric deficit).

Some other factors also contribute to the increase in daily caloric burning, for example, work activities that require physical effort (for example, street sweepers) and hyper-catabolic health conditions (for example, fever, burns, cancers).

The weight loss formula is simple, but it is not an easy process, as it is multifactorial and involves not only physical activity and food, but social, emotional and psychological issues. Therefore, always seek professional help to start weight loss in the safest and healthiest way!