1,250-Calorie Meal Plans

According to a September, 2016 study published in Nutrition & Diabetes, low-calorie diets like the 1250 calorie diet are an effective way to lose body weight. However, a reduced caloric intake of essential macronutrients like fats and proteins may lead to a decrease in energy and muscle loss.

Low-calorie diets like the 1250 calorie diet are an effective way to lose body weight. Credit: Elena_Danileiko/iStock/GettyImages

1250 Calorie Diet Nutrition

Macronutrients, like the name suggests, are nutrients that the body requires in large amounts. They provide the body with energy, and are necessary for essential functions like muscle growth and organ development. The three important macronutrients present in most whole food sources are carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

According to the National Academy of Sciences, the amount of macronutrients required by an individual primarily depends on a person's age and gender, but health and lifestyle goals play a part as well. A set of guidelines called the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) help to serve as a starting point for keeping track of macros eaten in a 1250 diet plan.

Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning for Beginners

For both adult men and women, the recommended daily allowance is 45 to 65 percent of daily calories from carbohydrates, 10 to 35 percent of an individual's daily calories from protein and 20 to 35 percent of daily calories from fat. And, according to Cleveland Clinic, a gram of fat has 9 calories, while 1 gram of both carbohydrates and proteins each offer 4 calories.

A simple calorie calculator will help determine the values for a 1250 calorie diet. Approximately 27.8 to 48.6 grams or 250 to 437.5 calories of fat, 140.6 to 203.1 grams or 562.5 to 812.5 calories of carbohydrates and 31.3 to 109.4 grams or 125 to 437.5 calories of protein should be consumed as part of the 1250 diet plan.

1250 Calorie Diet Side Effects

According to the 2015-2020 Edition of the _Dietary Guidelines for American_s, the lowest recommended calorie intake is 1,600 for women and 2,000 for men leading sedentary lifestyles. A relatively active and healthy woman requires 2,000 calories per day. For men, the amount is slightly higher — between 2,400 to 3,000 calories a day.

Estimates range from 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day for adult women and 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day for adult men. Within each age and sex category, the low end of the range is for sedentary individuals; the high end of the range is for active individuals.

Read more: Healthy Low-Carb Eating Plan

A 1250 diet plan may work for helping you lose weight, but it should not be considered a long-term diet plan, simply because it won't provide adequate nutrients and energy for active individuals. According to a December, 2017 study published in The Journals of Gerontology, switching to a low-calorie diet may also help obese older adults lose weight.

Compared to carbohydrate and fat storage methods, the body doesn't store protein in the same way, which is why it's essential to have a diet rich in protein. A 1250 diet plan only offers 125 to 437.5 calories of protein on a daily basis. There is a direct correlation between reduced protein intake and muscle loss, according to an August, 2014 report published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Studies carried out on older adults show that diets low in protein will lead to muscular atrophy as the body breaks down muscle into its primary building blocks — amino acids — in order to survive and function. However, more extensive trials need to be conducted before a definitive answer on the effects of protein and muscle loss can be established.

A low protein diet may also affect the body's regular functions such as growth. According to MedlinePlus, there are nine amino acids that are classified as essential. Essential amino acids cannot be made by the body and instead come from food sources, primarily meat products. Combining protein sources to get the adequate daily essential amino acid intake is necessary for anyone following a vegetarian diet.

1250 Diet Plan Options

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain that a rate of 1 to 2-pounds of weight loss per week is ideal for successfully keeping the weight off. Opting for 350 calorie meals for weight loss is a good idea if your 1250 calorie diet goal is to shed some pounds.

Choose meals that are high in protein, like this simple recipe for dijon salmon. A single filet serving offers 34 grams, or 22 percent of daily recommended dose of protein, and only 2 grams of carbohydrates.

Read more: A 7-Day Keto Diet Meal Plan That Burns Fat

For vegetarian-friendly options, a creamy spinach making use of coconut milk offers just 52 calories per cup serving. For a more filling meal, an asparagus tofu salad comes packed with not just protein and fat, but also minerals and vitamins thanks to the addition of tofu and mushrooms.

Michigan State University's MSU Extension explains that eating tofu, which is rich in iron, selenium and vitamin B1, may also decrease the incidence of breast cancer and levels of bad cholesterol in the body. Mushrooms, on the other hand, are an excellent source of antioxidants like ergothioneine, which reduce oxidative stress and have the potential to slow down the process of aging.

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