There are many variations on restrictive calorie diets. Dr Nowzaradan suggests that 1200 a day is sufficient for weight loss. Is this enough, too many?
Dr Nowzaradan’s Diet Review Summary: There is no doubting the credentials of Dr Nowzaradan. I feel that that crash or extreme diets are not sustainable.
If you are morbidly obese then you may need something drastic but maybe 1200 calories a day is too extreme.
There are other less drastic diet and diet plans to consider: for example the GP43 diet plan and Boombod. There are other products to consider that can lessen the feeling of hunger such as appetite suppressant control pills
What is Dr Nowzaradan’s 1200 Calorie Diet?
Perhaps you’ve seen Dr Nowzaradan’s 1200 calorie diet on TV or you’ve heard about it from a friend.
Now you are wondering if it may be the right weight-loss diet for you.
You may also be wondering how hard it would be to stick to Dr Nowzaradan’s diet or if it’s even safe.
Let’s face it, 1,200 calories per day is not a lot.
Of course, there can be little doubt about the diet’s ability to work. Everyone burns more than 12,000 calories per day.
Even without doing any exercise at all. Your body needs more energy than that just to keep things ticking over and enable you to stay alive.
Any diet that provides less energy than you need forces you to burn fat.
Who Is Dr Nowzaradan?
There is a good chance you already know this but, just in case you don’t, Dr Nowzaradan is a surgeon who specializes in weight loss.
He has more than 40 years of experience and is a leading expert in his field.
Dr Nowzaradan is also the weight loss specialist from the American TV series My 600-Lb Life.
Each episode follows the lives of a few individuals who are morbidly obese.
Dr Nowzaradan provides them with diet advice, monitors their progress, and carries out surgical procedures that remove extra fat and excess skin.
Dr Nowzaradan’s 1200 Calorie Diet Plan: What You Need to Know
The 1200 calorie diet Dr Nowzaradan uses is extreme. Many people who are overweight will be used to consuming 3,000 calories per day or more.
To add a little extra perspective to this, one of Dr Nowzaradan’s patients, who weighed nearly 800 lbs, was regularly consuming 10,000 calories per day.
However, the average man needs 2,500 calories per day. The average woman requires only 2,000 calories per day.
That’s how many calories they could eat without gaining weight.
If each of these “average” people cut their calorie intake so that they had 500 calories less than their body needed each day, they would lose one pound in weight every week.
Most people will find it pretty hard to survive on only 12,000 calories of energy per day.
This is a drastic diet for people who are in a desperate situation. It’s not suitable for the average person who needs to lose weight.
More importantly, Dr Nowzaradan’s 1200 Calorie Diet is only intended for individuals who are morbidly obese (600 pounds +).
The doctor does not recommend his diet for normal weight loss. He only uses it to help get his patients light enough and fit enough to undergo bariatric surgery.
His diet plan exists to help his patients lose as much weight as possible.
All surgery presents dangers but the risks are greater for people who are extremely overweight.
By helping them to lose weight, Dr Nowzaradan’s 1200 Calorie Diet decreases the risk of something going wrong when his patients are under the knife.
Why 1200 Calories? Why is it the Magic Number?
So why 1,200 calories per day? Why not make it an even 1,000 or allow a couple of hundred extra calories per day?
There are a couple of reasons why Dr Nowzaradan gives his patients the 1,200 calorie target.
Firstly, research shows eating 1,200 calories per day is an effective way to lose weight.
Of course, 1,000 calories per day would probably work better, but there’s more to this than meets the eye.
Research also suggests a 1,200 calorie per day diet (including foods with low calories) reduces levels of the hunger hormone leptin.
In so doing, it may make it easier to eat so little per day without feeling hungry. (https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/83/1/214/2865196)
When patients do as the doctor asks them, it also demonstrates their commitment to making lasting lifestyle changes that will improve their health.
The diet also helps prep them for life after bariatric surgery.
The surgery reduces stomach volume, meaning Dr Nowzaradan’s patients will no longer be capable of eating as much as they used to do.
The diet gets them used to eating less food.
What Types of Foods Does Dr Nowzaradan’s 1200 Calorie Diet Allow?
Dr Nowzaradan encourages his patients to eat whole foods, like vegetables, along with plenty of lean protein.
Needless to say, there is a need to avoid foods that are high in sugar and fat; and Junk food is out.
Dr Nowzaradan also tells his patients to reduce their portion sizes and cut carbohydrates from their diet.
His recommendations help them to get the maximum nutritional value from their food while also drastically cutting calories so they can lose weight as fast as possible.
Plenty of Vegetables
Vegetables provide many important vitamins and minerals.
They also contain antioxidants that purge the body of free radical toxins. In so doing they help prevent premature aging and disease.
The other good thing about vegetables is they are high in fiber.
Foods that are high in fiber tend to be more filling and help prevent hunger.
Some dietary fibers are prebiotic. Fiber of this type feeds the probiotic bacteria present in the gut and helps it to multiply.
As you will no doubt be aware, probiotic bacteria is associated with many health benefits.
And let’s not forget, most vegetables, such as leafy greens, spinach, and kale, are also low in calories.
There are plenty of reasons to eat vegetables whether you are doing Dr Nowzaradan’s 1200 Calorie Diet diet or not.
Lean protein is very filling. It also takes longer to digest than other nutrients do so your body has to burn more calories to digest it.
The other important thing about protein is it provides the amino acids your body requires to make muscle.
It’s important your body gets enough of these. Especially on such a low-calorie diet.
All low-calorie diets cause an energy shortage within the body. That’s why they work for weight-loss.
When your body does not get enough energy from food it has to begin burning fat.
Unfortunately, the body often burns a little muscle tissue for energy too. That’s undesirable because losing muscle tissue slows metabolism.
The loss is unlikely to be dramatic but a diet like Dr Nowzaradan’s 1200 Calorie Diet is likely to worsen this undesirable scenario.
Eating plenty of lean, high-protein foods is a good way to try and retain as much muscle mass as possible.
What a Typical Day May Look Like on Dr Nowzaradan’s 1200 Calorie Diet
What you Can Eat
People who follow Dr Nowzaradan’s diet will spend their days eating meals that high in protein and low in carbs.
A typical day’s menu will mainly consist of meat, eggs, and low-carb vegetables.
Good options include:
- Plant proteins, such as tempeh and tofu
- Seafood (white fish, salmon, sardines, shrimp, prawns, etc.)
- Meat (chicken, turkey, lean cuts of beef and pork)
- Nutrient-dense, low-carb vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli, tomatoes, bell peppers, etc.)
- Nutritious fruits that are not overly high in sugars (apples, acai berries, etc)
- Low-fat/fat-free dairy products (yogurt, cottage cheese, kefir, milk, etc.)
- Water and Low-calorie beverages (green tea, black tea, black coffee, etc.)
What You Shouldn’t Eat
Although nutrient-dense foods get the green light, energy-dense foods have to be avoided at all costs.
This may be hard for a lot of dieters because a love of such foods may be part of the reason they gained weight in the first place.
Foods to avoid include
- Fries, potato chips, and potato products in general
- Cookies, candies, desserts, and anything else that satisfies a sweet tooth
- Sugar and artificial sweeteners
- High-calorie fruits (bananas, mangoes, melons, pears, cherries, mangoes, grapes, etc.)
- Dried and candied fruits
- Honey, syrup, molasses, jelly, jello, and high-calorie spreads
- Starchy vegetables (peas, carrots, beans, butternut squash, etc.)
- Nuts and product that contain them
- Rice, pasta, breads, cereal.
- High-calorie drinks (soda, juices, energy drinks, etc.)
Although Dr Nowzaradan’s diet encourages you to avoid most carbohydrates, it permits one small single-ounce portion of whole grain bread per day but you have to eat it in the mornings.
Dr Nowzaradan’s 1200 Calorie Diet Review Summary
There is no denying Dr Nowzaradan’s credentials. His diet will work, but he does not suggest it for normal weight loss.
Diets of this type are generally referred to as crash diets. They are too extreme.
It’s also important to remember Dr Nowzaradan is supervising his patients, monitoring their progress, and watching for any negative issues.
They are not going it alone.
The 1,200 calorie diet Dr Nowzaradan suggests on My 600-lb Life, is not for normal people who are trying to lose a little weight at home.
It’s for morbidly obese people who are slimming down fast in readiness for life-changing surgery.
The fact that they need such surgery only goes to show how drastic their situation has become.
If you are in a similar situation, there is a good chance your doctor will already be offering you advice and it will be tailor-made advice from someone who is familiar with your full medical status.
If like many people, you are just a person who is serious about losing weight, it would be highly inadvisable to try doing Dr Nowzaradan’s 1200 Calorie Diet.
Go for a normal low-calorie diet instead. Eat nutritious foods, avoid unnecessary fats and sugar, and try to keep physically active.
If huger becomes an issue, or you want to lose weight faster, there are many good supplements that can help.
Doing Dr Nowzaradan’s 1200 Calorie Diet without the correct medical supervision may not be the best idea.