While a 1200-calorie Indian diet may be suitable for short term weight loss, the low-calorie intake is not ideal for most healthy adults. Low-calorie Indian food, however, is often rich in spices like turmeric, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
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1200-Calorie Indian Diet Nutrition
Developed by the National Academy of Sciences, the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) are a casual set of guidelines used to determine the amounts of different macronutrients required on a daily basis. Age, along with gender and lifestyle, plays an important role in determining an individual's daily intake of three key macronutrients: proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
Required by the body in large amounts, these three macronutrients help provide energy, as well as contributing to key body processes like growth and development. For most healthy adults, the recommended allowance of protein is 10 to 35 percent of total daily calories consumed, with 45 to 65 percent of energy coming from carbohydrates and 20 to 35 percent of calories obtained from fats.
A single gram of either carbohydrates or protein provides 4 calories of energy, whereas a single gram of fat offers more than double that — 9 calories of energy. For a low-calorie Indian food meal plan like the 1200-calorie Indian diet, that translates to 120 to 425 calories (30 to 105 grams) of protein, 540 to 780 calories (135 to 95 grams) of carbohydrates, and 240 to 420 calories (26.7 to 46.7 grams) of fat.
1200-Calorie Indian Diet Effects
In addition to macronutrients, diets rich in Indian food will often contain turmeric, a spice containing curcumin. Curcumin is primarily known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Low-calorie Indian recipes like a chana masala use turmeric as a flavoring agent, and for the bright yellow color it adds to dishes.
Read more: Side Effects and Benefits of Curry Powder
Curcumin may also decrease the incidence of certain cancers. Although an August 2018 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America was conducted on mice rather than humans, its findings are worth noting because they suggest that curcumin effectively treats breast cancer and multiple myelomas.
Lowest-calorie curry dishes, like this coconut pumpkin curry soup are among the healthiest you can make. However, it only offers 3 grams of protein per serving, which is equivalent to only 1 percent of the daily recommended dose. Unless you're adding meat to your 1200-calorie Indian diet, you will not be able to get the 30 to 105 grams of protein that experts recommend you consume each day.
Diets low in protein will not provide the body with essential amino acids, explains MedlinePlus. These are amino acids the body requires to function, but which it cannot produce itself. Essential amino acids are acquired purely from food sources, and primarily from animal protein.
According to a June 2017 study published in Biochemical Journal, protein is required for adequate muscle growth. Low-calorie Indian recipes that are vegetarian may, unfortunately, not be good sources of protein, affecting the body's development and cellular repair process.
Read more: 8 Curry Bowl Recipes That Will Warm Your Soul
As per the 2015-2020 Edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, active men require approximately 2,400 to 3,000 calories, per day, to get the nutrients they require to maintain regular body function. For women, the number of calories is somewhat lower — about 2000 calories a day.
According to MedlinePlus, low-calorie diets where an individual may only consume up to 1200 calories a day should only be undertaken with the help of and on the advice of a doctor. These diets may help people living with obesity lose weight, as well as to improve the symptoms of diabetes and high blood pressure. However, it is not considered a viable long-term diet solution.
A 1200-calorie Indian diet does not provide the number of calories required daily for a fit and healthy individual to remain fit and healthy. Consuming a daily diet rich in low-calorie Indian food will result in weight loss. However, it should not be part of anyone's long-term diet, as it will not provide the nutrition and energy the body requires to survive.
- National Academy of Sciences: "Dietary Reference Intakes Tables and Application”
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United State of America: "Ancient Drug Curcumin Impedes 26s Proteasome Activity by Direct Inhibition of Dual-Specificity Tyrosine-Regulated Kinase 2"
- Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion: “2015-2020 Edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans”
- MedlinePlus: "Diet for Rapid Weight Loss"
- MedlinePlus: "Protein in Diet"
- Biochemical Journal: “Amino Acid Homeostasis and Signaling in Mammalian Cells and Organisms”