If you're a man trying to drop a few extra pounds, you might trim your intake down to just 1,500 calories per day. This low-calorie diet helps the majority of men drop weight relatively quickly because it puts you at a caloric deficit, meaning you burn more calories than you consume.
Harvard Health Publications reports that 1,500 calories is the lowest amount a man should eat daily to lose weight — unless supervised by a medical professional. With careful planning, 1,500 calories allows you to get all the nutrients you need while still leaving you with a calorie deficit.
For many men, especially those that are quite active, it may be too low in calories and leave you feeling sluggish and starving. To calculate exactly how many calories a day you need to lose weight and to keep track of what you eat on a daily basis, you can use an app like LIVESTRONG.COM's MyPlate.
In general, 1,500-calorie diets are effective for overweight men trying to lose excess body weight — and who want to do so without the need for medical supervision. Eating fewer than 1,500 calories daily increases a man's risk for developing nutrient deficiencies.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute suggests adult men often require 2,000 to 3,000 calories daily to maintain healthy body weights, and active men generally need 2,400 to 3,000 calories per day.
So, if you eat just 1,500 calories per day, you create a 500- to 1,000-calorie deficit daily, which results in a 1- to 2-pound weight loss per week. You lose 1 pound when you create a deficit of approximately 3,500 calories.
Fruits and Vegetables
When eating 1,500 calories per day, men should consume about 1 1/2 cups of fruits and 1 3/4 cups of vegetables, based on healthy meal plans provided by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020.
Protein and Grains
Protein is useful for weight loss because it increases satiety and energy expenditure, according to a 2014 study published in Nutrition Metabolism. Fiber, abundant in whole grains, also boosts satiety because it digests slowly in your body.
When eating 1,500 calories per day, men should aim for 4.5 ounces of protein foods and 5 ounces of grains. One ounce of protein equals 1 ounce of meat, one egg, 2 ounces of tofu, 1/2 ounce of nuts, 1/4 ounce of legumes or 1 tablespoon of nut butter. When choosing meats, aim for lean cuts, such as flank steak and white-meat poultry. A 1-ounce equivalent of grains is one slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal or 1/2 cup of cooked rice, pasta or oatmeal.
Dairy and Oils
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, men eating 1,500 calories a day need 2 3/4 cups of dairy foods and about 4 teaspoons from the oils food group each day.
A 1-cup equivalent from the dairy group equals 2 cups of cottage cheese, 1 cup of milk or yogurt or 1.5 ounces of hard cheese — while 1 teaspoon from the oils group equals 1/3 ounce of nuts, 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil, eight large olives, 1.5 teaspoons of peanut butter or 1 tablespoon of Italian salad dressing. Choose low-fat dairy to reduce the calorie count of these foods and curb your intake of saturated fat.
More About MyPlate
The free LIVESTRONG MyPlate calorie tracker app for iPhone and Android has helped millions of people lose weight the healthy way — by getting support from an active community as they track their eating and exercise. Consistently a top-rated app, MyPlate offers the latest technology in an easy-to-use tool that includes millions of foods and recipes, 5-minute in-app workouts and a robust support community.
- Harvard Health Publications: Calorie Counting Made Easy
- National Heart, Lung and Blood: Balance Food and Activity
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: All About the Vegetable Group
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: All About the Fruit Group
- Journal of Nutrition: Single-Protein Casein and Gelatin Diets Affect Energy Expenditure Similarly but Substrate Balance and Appetite Differently in Adults
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: All About the Proteins Food Group
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: All About the Grains Group
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: All About Oils
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: All About the Dairy Group