ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Calorie Restriction Diet Plan

Updated on July 9, 2009

What Is a Calorie Restriction Diet Plan?

A calorie restriction diet involves following a strict regimen of counting daily caloric intake. Many diet plans involve cutting and counting calories, but there are a number of people who advocate calorie counting not simply as a weight loss tool, but as a lifestyle.

Dr. Oz (of Oprah fame) is one of the public figures who has come forward in support of calorie restriction. Tony Robbins, the motivational speaker and author, has also written extensively in support of it. There is evidence that calorie conservation can slow the aging process, but anyone considering a calorie restriction diet plan should weigh all the potential benefits and risks before adopting this nutritional philosophy.

How to Read a Food Label

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Calorie Restriction Benefits

Research has indicated that calorie restriction (abbreviated CR) lowers blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and body fat percentage in humans. Since humans live relatively long, it's difficult to monitor the effects on aging, but CR-supporters have several animal studies to back up the claim that calorie restriction also promotes longer life. A study from the 1930's showed that rats on a reduced-calorie diet had a lifespan twice as long as their counterparts. A 2006 experiment found that a restricted diet lowered the incidence of Alzheimer's-like changes in the brains of squirrel monkeys.

There are several theories about why calorie restriction might increase lifespan. The most recent scientific findings indicate it might be that the low-level stress placed on the body by a reduced-calorie diet places it in a defensive state to survive what it perceives as famine, which helps protect it against the causes of aging. Dr. Oz has said that feeding your body less causes it to become more efficient with what it gets, which is an idea in a similar vein.

As far as benefits like lowered LDL cholesterol, body fat, and blood pressure, these are fairly easily explained by the fact that most citizens of Western countries are overfed (in terms of calories) in the first place. Being more aware of what you are eating, as you are forced to be when you're counting calories, changes the food choices you make. Looking at a nutrition label (above right) to tally calories forces you to look at the cholesterol, saturated fat, and sugar contents of your food. When you are on a calorie budget, you tend to pick foods with more "bang for their buck," nutritionally--foods that are more filling, with less excess calories. You may also consume more fruits and vegetables, with the natural nutrients your body needs to function optimally.

Risks of Calorie Restriction

One of the major and most obvious dangers in restricting calories is that malnutrition is extremely unhealthy and sometimes deadly.  Some groups recommend between 1700 and 1800 calories a day, which is more in the reasonable range for adult women, but when calorie cutting is taken to extremes for long periods of time, it has devastating effects on your body.  Another risk is that, even if you are taking in enough energy, you may not be getting all of the essential vitamins and minerals that you need for optimal functioning.

There are also mental and emotional side effects to calorie restriction.  It can be difficult to count calories in restaurants and social settings.  Obsessing about everything that passes your lips can add a lot of stress to your life, which may reduce your quality of life and your enjoyment of food itself.  Calorie restriction can also be addictive.  People with obsessive-compulsive tendencies or with bad body image can easily cross the line into the realm of eating disorders.

Should I Restrict Calories?

If you have an obsessive personality or have struggled with disordered eating or compulsive dieting before, it's a bad idea to tempt yourself with calorie counting.  If you're looking for quick weight loss or an instant solution for all your health ills, you'll be disappointed.  If you're going to beat yourself up or stress about moments where counting calories is simply impossible, don't put yourself in that position.

If you aren't an obsessive type and want to make a long-term commitment to change for the goal of health, rather than weight loss, you may receive some satisfaction from this lifestyle, but I highly recommend concentrating on portion control and balanced nutrition instead, and only under the supervision of a good doctor or licensed nutritionist.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)