500 Calorie Diet: Everything You Need to Know
For those who are looking to lose weight fast, then the 500 calorie diet is perfect for you. To put it simply, this diet means you restrict your calorie intake to just 500 calories. This encourages rapid weight loss. You also don’t take in sugar, fat (not even the good kind), alcohol, starches, or treats.
The 500 calorie diet is considered as a very low calorie diet (VLCD). VLCDs are diets that only consume 800 kilocalories or less per day. According to Wikipedia, VLCDs “are formulated, nutritionally complete, liquid meals containing 800 kilocalories or less per day. VLCDs also contain the recommended daily requirements for vitamins, minerals, trace elements, fatty acids and protein.”
However, the 500 calorie diet is not for everyone. This is usually prescribed to obese patients who drastically need to lose weight to save their lives. Those who try out this diet usually only do it once or twice a week as a weight-loss strategy.
Doing intermittent fasting along with the 500 calorie diet might be a better alternative. This means you alternate between normal eating and fasting to promote healthy weight loss.
What to Eat in the 500 Calorie Diet
You can still have meat in the 500 calorie diet, but it should be lean meat. Some examples are chicken breast, lean beef, white fish, veal, shrimp, lobster, or crab. Of course, eating a healthy amount of vegetables and fruits are highly encouraged.
Also, in this type of diet, you have to remember that water is your friend. You should drink a lot of water. Water has zero calories, and it also helps you feel fuller.
Here are some sample meals. These will give you an idea how it might be like if you go through with the 500 calorie diet. Make sure that you always include a protein source in every meal to keep hunger pangs at bay. Also, try to consume more or less the same amount of calories for each meal. This is to keep your energy balanced throughout the day.
To start off your day, you can have a slice of whole-wheat dry toast paired with a hard-boiled egg. If you want something else to eat with your toast, you can also go for half an avocado. Another option is half a cup of fat-free cottage cheese with a small banana. Lastly, you can also have a ¾ cup serving of whole-grain unsweetened ready-to-eat cereal with a cup of nonfat milk.
For your midday meal, you can roll slices of of deli turkey (about 2 ounces) in lettuce leaves with mustard spread. You can eat this together with whole-grain fat-free crackers. Or you can also have 3 ounces of grilled chicken with about 3 cups of mixed greens cooked in red wine vinegar for added flavor. In addition, a perfect meal for the hot summer months is prawn salad with pickled cucumbers. You just add lightly fried prawns to a bed of cucumber, spinach, coriander leaves, and chili. You can even make your own healthy homemade fish sauce.
Boiling large shrimp garnished with cocktail sauce along with a side of steamed broccoli ought to do the trick. Or you can also make a stir-fry of vegetables, like carrots, mung bean sprouts, bok choy, or celery, along with tofu. You can use broth or low-sodium soy sauce for this recipe. And lastly, who says you can’t have eggs for dinner? Whip up a healthy egg-white omelette filled with spinach, low-fat cheddar cheese, and mushrooms.
Don’t forget the dessert! A cup of fresh fruits is the easiest way to go for a low-calorie meal ender. There are also many other dessert recipes that offer very low calories for each serving of a tasty sweet treat.
Zero-calorie food are those that burn more calories than they contain. To help you better, here’s a helpful list of the different fruits and vegetables that can help you shed those unwanted pounds.
Benefits of the 500 Calorie Diet
This is the biggest benefit we get with this diet. You can lose 3 to 5 pounds a week. This triggers a “skinny” gene that encourages the body to burn fat faster. It’s the sudden drop in food intake that triggers this gene. This process then blocks another gene that stores fat. Next, the body starts using up more of the fat stores. As a result, you quickly lose weight. Restricting the food intake for short periods of time causes your body to release hormones that build muscle and burn fat. It also speeds up your metabolism as well.
Fights Breast Cancer
A British study shows that having a low-calorie diet prevents breast cancer. It lowers the enzymes that metabolise fat and also glucose in breast tissue. These enzymes are always higher in patients with breast cancer.
Aids in Type 2 Diabetes
A small study of 30 people with type 2 diabetes were put on a low-calorie diet. There was a significant improvement in blood glucose levels in most of the participants.
Helps in Brain Health
Caloric restrictions maintains the function of your brain, especially as you get older. It fights dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and also helps improve your memory. Studies show that eating lesser calories slows down brain aging and also sustains brain health.
Tips for the 500 Calorie Diet
Here’s a few things that you should know if you’re already considering going on the 500 calorie diet.
- The first week is the hardest. Your body getting used to the sudden drop in food intake will definitely feel it. You will be detoxing from the sugar and the junk food you would normally eat. You will definitely feel hunger pangs. You’ll be hangry (that’s hungry and also angry). You’ll be miserable and start to question question why you’re doing this in the first place. But like with any other diet, you just have to stick to your guns and suck it up. It’ll get better.
- You might stink. Some people who have gone on the 500 calorie diet noticed they developed bad breath and also bad body odor. That’s from all the harmful toxins leaving your body. If you think you have stinky breath, make sure to always have sugar-free gum handy.
- You Might Develop Gallstones. Losing weight rapidly can cause gallstones to develop. This is because dieting causes a shift in the balance of cholesterol and bile salts in the gallbladder. The cholesterol level increases while the bile salt level decreases. This also decreases gallbladder contractions. If the gallbladder can’t contract often enough to release bile, that’s when gallstones form.
As a Reminder
Of course, as with anything that deals with your health, before starting off on the 500 calorie diet, be sure to consult a trusted physician first. Be ready to discuss the benefits, risks, and also possible other alternatives to help you lose weight safely.