What Is The Recommended Calorie Deficit To Lose Weight?

Written by GHBY Team on Tue, 05 September 2023 — Fact checked by Rama Manikumar

Key Highlights

  • Calorie deficit is key for weight loss. Consuming fewer calories than your body needs prompts fat loss.
  • Aim for a moderate deficit. Aiming for 500-750 calorie deficit per day promotes sustainable weight loss.
  • Consult a professional to determine your specific calorie deficit based on factors like age, gender, and activity level.
  • Along with a calorie deficit, focus on balanced nutrition and exercise for overall health.

If you’re starting your weight loss journey, you’ve probably heard about something called a calorie deficit. It’s a term that keeps popping up when we talk about the food we eat. But what exactly is a calorie deficit, and why is it important for losing weight?

Well, my friend, if you’re ready to get healthier and shed those extra pounds, buckle up and join me on a journey through the world of weight loss. In this blog, we’ll explore the secrets behind the recommended calorie deficit and discover the key to achieving your weight loss goals.

Get ready to say goodbye to excess weight as we dive into the fascinating science of calories and uncover the best way to reach your desired weight. So, grab a drink, find a comfy spot, and let’s get started!

What is calorific value?

What is calorific value?

Calorific value is the energy that you get out of the food you eat — to put it simply, it’s the number of calories present in your food. Calories, as mentioned above, are units of energy that are contained in food or beverages. Now, when you eat those items, they are converted into fats and later add to the body’s weight. Research says that if you consume 3,500 calories, for instance, then that becomes about 0.45 kilograms of fat.

To begin with, a base number of calories is necessary to perform basic (basal) life-sustaining functions. This is called BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate, and it varies from person to person depending on factors such as age, height, and so on. So, your body needs to burn calories for its basic maintenance, upkeep, and of course, nutrition.

Calories essentially fuel your metabolism, digestion, and physical activity (remember, they are units of energy after all).

1. What happens when the food we consume has a high calorific value?

When it comes to weight loss, you have to always balance the number of calories you take in, with the number or number of calories you end up burning.

Eating in a calorie deficit just refers to this process of creating a deficit within your body between the amount of calories taken in, and the expenditure, or calorie expenditure, that takes place after.

2. What is calorie expenditure and what are calories used for?

Calorie expenditure refers to the number of calories your body burns or expends in a given time period.

Your BMR accounts for the majority of your daily calorie expenditure, typically ranging from 40% to 70% of the total. Similarly, calories burned through exercise, intentional movement, and daily activities influence the number of calories expended.

The Thermic Effect of Food, which deals with the energy needed by your body to digest, absorb, and process nutrients also counts for 5%-10% of total expenditure.

The total calorie expenditure is the sum of these components: BMR + physical activity + TEF. It represents the number of calories your body needs to maintain its current weight. If you consume more calories than your expenditure, you will gain weight, and if you consume fewer calories, you will lose weight.

3. Factors important for weight loss calorie deficit

Factors important for weight loss calorie deficit

  • Your current weight: The more weight you carry, the higher your calorie expenditure, and thus, a larger calorie deficit may be required to create weight loss.
  • Physical activity: Active individuals usually burn more calories. Those with sedentary lifestyles may need a higher calorie deficit compared to those with higher activity levels.
  • Body composition: Individuals with higher muscle mass generally have a higher BMR and may require a larger calorie deficit when considering losing weight calorie deficit regimens.
  • Time frame: The desired rate of weight loss and the time within which you aim to achieve it also affect the calorie deficit. An aggressive calorie deficit to lose weight may lead to faster results, but it's important to strike a balance that allows for sustainable and healthy progress.

Typically, a safe and sustainable rate of weight loss is considered to be 0.5 to 1 kilogram (1 to 2 pounds) per week.

How can I determine my specific calorie deficit?

You’ll always want to be clear about what exactly your body needs or doesn’t need; a one-size-fits-all approach does not work when it comes to calorie-deficit dieting.

To determine your specific calorie deficit, you can follow these general steps:

  • Calculate your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE): TDEE represents the total number of calories your body needs to maintain its current weight based on your activity level. You can find online TDEE calculators that take into account your age, gender, weight, height, and activity level.
  • Determine your calorie deficit: To lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than your TDEE. A deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day is generally recommended for gradual weight loss. Excessively large calorie deficits may not be sustainable or healthy in the long term.
  • Monitor your progress: As you start eating in calorie deficit, track your weight and body measurements regularly to assess your progress. Adjust your calorie intake if needed, but make sure not to dip below the minimum recommended calorie intake for your gender (1,200 calories for women and 1,500 calories for men).
  • Consider individual needs: It’s important to listen to your body and make adjustments as necessary. If you're feeling excessively hungry, fatigued, or experiencing any negative health effects, it may be a sign that your calorie deficit is too large or that you need to reassess your weight loss approach.

However, always bear in mind that weight loss is not just about calorie deficit but also about overall nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.

How do you design a calorie deficit diet?

How do you design a calorie deficit diet?

  • Determine your daily calorie intake: After calculating your TDEE using an online calculator, subtract a certain number of calories from it to create a calorie deficit. As mentioned earlier, a deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day is generally recommended for gradual weight loss.
  • Track your food intake: Use a food diary or a mobile app to track your daily food and beverage consumption. This will help you monitor your calorie intake and make adjustments as necessary. Read nutrition labels to accurately record your calories.
  • Prioritize nutrient-dense foods: The best foods for calorie deficit include those that are low in calories but rich in nutrients. Whole, unprocessed foods, fruits, vegetables, grains, and healthy fats are the best.
  • Portion sizes: Reduce portion sizes to avoid overeating. Use measuring cups, or a food scale. You can also eyeball and estimate serving sizes. Be mindful of calorie-dense foods like oils, nuts, and seeds, as small portions can still contribute a significant number of calories.
  • Reduce calorie-dense foods and beverages: Limit foods and beverages that are high in added sugars, saturated fats, and empty calories like sugary drinks, sweets, processed snacks, and fried foods.
  • Take more fiber: Add fiber-rich foods to your diet as they help you feel full for longer and can aid in weight loss by reducing overall calorie intake. Include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Fiber
  • Be mindful of liquid calories: Beverages can contribute a significant amount of calories without satisfying your hunger. Opt for water, unsweetened tea, or black coffee instead of sugary drinks, sodas, or high-calorie beverages.
  • Plan meals and snacks: Plan your meals and snacks to help you stay on track with your calorie-deficit diet. This can prevent impulsive food choices and ensure you have nutritious options available.
  • Engage in regular physical activity: Combining a calorie deficit diet with regular exercise can help burn additional calories, increases metabolism, and supports muscle maintenance.

In caloric deficit but not losing weight? You’ll often find that this too happens as a result of not taking good care of your body or maintaining a flawed or imbalanced diet.

Creating a calorie deficit should be done by listening to your body, prioritizing your nutritional needs, and seeking guidance from a healthcare professional or dietitian if needed.

Special tips for women

Special tips for women

Calorie deficit for women can be different from men due to physiological differences and differences in body composition.

Women generally have lower caloric needs when compared to men. Things like hormonal differences also need to be considered especially considering cravings and fluctuations. Some women often have higher calcium and iron needs as well as protein requirements. It’s always great to consult a dietician when mapping these differences and planning to take on such a routine.

Here are a few diet approaches that can help create a calorie deficit while providing balanced nutrition, especially for women:

  • Balanced macronutrient diet: Focus on consuming a balanced mix of macronutrients— carbohydrates, proteins, and fats — in appropriate proportions through fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, etc. This approach ensures you get essential nutrients while controlling your overall calorie intake.
  • Consider a Mediterranean diet: This includes mostly plant-based foods - fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds. It also includes lean proteins like fish and poultry, while limiting red meat and saturated fats.
  • Low-Carb diet: These diets restrict carbohydrate intake and focus on consuming moderate to high amounts of protein and healthy fats. They can be effective for weight loss, but it's important to choose nutrient-dense sources of fat and protein and monitor your overall energy intake.
  • Intermittent fasting: For this diet, you alternate between fasting and eating to create a calorie deficit by limiting the time available for eating. Common methods include the 16:8 method (16 hours fasting, 8-hour eating window) or alternate-day fasting. It's important to maintain balanced and nutritious meals during eating periods.


In conclusion, finding the right calorie deficit for weight loss is a key factor in achieving your desired results. While it may be tempting to dive into a drastic reduction, it's crucial to strike a balance that prioritizes sustainable and healthy habits. Remember, weight loss is not a race, but a journey towards long-term well-being.

By gradually creating a moderate calorie deficit, you can ensure that your body receives the nourishment it needs while still shedding those unwanted pounds. Don't forget to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to personalize your calorie deficit and receive guidance tailored to your unique needs.

So, embark on your weight loss journey with patience, perseverance, and a balanced calorie deficit, and watch as your body transforms into a healthier, happier version of yourself. Here's to a brighter and lighter future ahead!



GHBY Team comprises content writers and content editors who specialise in health and lifestyle writing. Always on the lookout for new trends in the health and lifestyle space, Team GHBY follows an audience-first approach. This ensures they bring the latest in the health space to your fingertips, so you can stay ahead in your wellness game. 

Did you like our Article?





Not Sure




Leave a Comment

Our team of experts frequently monitors developments in the health and wellness field, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

Current Version

Sep, 05 2023

Written By


Fact checked By

Rama Manikumar