The 1200-calorie diet is based on the theory of reducing the intake of calories. In this formula a daily consumption of just 1200 calories is recommended which helps reduce excess weight. The model is safe as well as healthy option to trim down the extra pounds. This principle of 1200 calorie intake a day is believed to provide adequate nutrients to the body and at the same time reduce the calorie consumption; not a calorie more or not a calorie less, in all greatly helping in the mass loss.

Following the path of 1200 calorie diet is supposed to benefit obese individuals in reducing weight effectively and in less duration of time too.

How does the 1200 Calorie diet works?

Weight loss is not about starving the body or depriving it from the essential and vital nutrients or calories, it might actually slow down the body’s ability to use the calories and hence you will not see any major change in your weight loss program or goals. Instead the 1200 calorie diet is supposed to provide adequate nutrition, and at the same time reduces the consumption of extra calories, which is very vital for the weight reduction.

1200 calorie diet may sound more than sufficient food but actually calories increase quickly and that is the reason why there is a need to balance the macronutrients too to maintain the body calorie requirements without actually consuming more calories.

The macronutrients in the 1200 calorie diet should contain carbohydrates, fats and proteins. A combination of carbohydrates, fats and proteins in each meal is a balanced one and sums up to the 1200 calories which is the criterion of this diet. Your diet should include 55% of calories coming from the carbohydrates, 15% of calories from the proteins and 30% calories coming from the fats. However, remember that 10% of the total fat should be the saturated form of fats. The total calorie consumption in a day can vary depending on the medical condition of every individual.

Foods to eat and not to eat in 1200 Calorie diet

Under the 1200 calorie diet there is no specific food/foods suggested but it is always good to include unprocessed foods as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and protein-rich foods. These are found to be beneficial in those who follow the 1200 calorie diet. Being sufficiently hydrated after each meal or snack is also very important and it helps the body to eliminate fluids from the fat cells.

As this dietary plan sticks to the consumption of 1200 calories, it is obvious and understood that the dieter needs to avoid calorie-rich foods.

Sample menu of a 1200 calorie diet:


  • Cereal like oats with milk (fat skimmed off) – 200-250 calories
  • Fresh fruit juice (sweetener not added) – 50 -60 calories


  • A small cup of rice or wheat – 200 calories
  • Vegetable curry – 40 calories
  • Medium-sized banana – 100 calories

Evening snacks:

  • Small cup of fat-skimmed yogurt – 50 calories
  • Small cup full of papaya – 30 calories


  • A small meal – 400-500 calories

Total calories = 1230 calories

Pros and cons of the 1200 calorie diet

The 1200 calorie diet is definitely a healthy and nutritious way to help your body to shed those extra kilos, and the wholesome diet ensures to provide the body with enough nutrients and helps in encountering frequent hunger bouts and cravings without actually overeating. Dieters have the liberty to choose the food of their taste or choice keeping in mind that whatever they consume should not exceed the daily calorie intake. In actuality, the 1200 calorie diet will motivate you to stick to the dietary plan for a long time thus promoting you towards your weight loss goals.

The 1200-calorie diet is also unsuitable for physically active individuals.

The diet also has cons: There is a great chance of weight gain once the calorie intake increases. Most dieters who follow this dietary plan will develop hunger and fatigue. This plan may also result in nutritional deficiency and it could be a pain to measure the calories each time you have a meal or snack.

Warnings and side effects of the 1200 Calorie diet

The 1200-calorie diet is not recommended for children, pregnant and breast-feeding women, as they require calories much greater than 1200 calories. A diabetic person also may have to consult with nutritionist and diabetologist before going ahead with the diet.

Some of the dieters may experience fatigue when they are dieting and some might suffer nutrition deficiency should they not include balanced nutrients while restricting to 1200 calories a day.

Expectation and tips

There are a lot of important factors that need to be considered before choosing with this diet plan such as age, gender, basal metabolic rate, exercise and medical condition for the individual. Consulting your family physician is always a smart thing to do and if you get the nod the diet can be a great plan for weight reduction.