The choice of how many calories to introduce to lose weight correctly is, in all probability, the most common question among those who hope to finally see the hand of the scale go down.

In reality, this mainly depends on the specific case and the degree of priority of the intervention (aesthetic or medical reasons). In summary:

  • The more serious the excess weight is, the faster it is possible to lose the extra kilos without having negative consequences and, indeed, drawing immediate benefits from it;
  • If, on the other hand, it is a matter of muscle definition work, weight loss must be achieved cautiously and in a more controlled way.

It is obviously possible to lose weight more or less quickly by modulating the entity of the energy cut, which can also range considerably – approximately from -30% to -10% of calories, on average -15 /20%.

  • By adopting an ” aggressive ” cut (-30%), you can lose the extra kilos faster, paying the price of some inconveniences: “suffering” more from hunger, stressing the body, reducing general psycho-physical efficiency, retain less muscle mass, penalize sports performance, etc.
  • By establishing a ” light ” cut (-10%), a slow weight loss is instead obtained, which avoids the undesirable effects described above but has negative aspects: the progressive adaptation of the organism to the lower caloric intake with partial loss of efficacy ( not it is a reduction in thyroid function ), reduction in compliance with the protocol (due to demotivation).

Cuts of -30% lend themselves to food therapy for overweight, while -10% to diet for sportsmen and bodybuilders.

With a calorie cut of 15-20%, it is possible to obtain a weight loss of about 0.75% the weight per week (425 g) or 3.0% of the weight per month (1700 g).

A more or less normal-weight person who wants to “define himself” will have to sacrifice a total of about 14,000 kcal to lose 2 kg of Fat Mass per month.

Which distribution of macronutrients to adopt?

We will not go into too much detail, as we have already dealt with the subject with sufficient care in the dedicated articles – e.g. Protein Needs: How Much Protein Do We Need?

Instead, we will limit ourselves to specifying some salient points, frequently the subject of misunderstandings or false myths.

  1. What matters for the purposes of weight loss are above all total calories, regardless of the breakdown of energy macronutrients ;
  2. The most important energy fraction is always that of carbohydrates (≥45%). In a low-calorie diet and in a more or less healthy person – with the exception of some subjective attitudes – it doesn’t matter if simple or complex, with a high or low glycemic index ;
  3. The normal range of fats oscillates between 25 and 30%, but variations of +/- 5% are frequent;
  4. For those who train heavily, it is possible to further increase the percentage of carbohydrates to the detriment of fats (which can drop to 10-15% of total calories); however, this intervention must be limited in time because lipids are in any case very important for our health ( essential fats, fat-soluble vitamins );
  5. Protein intake is very important to preserve lean body mass. It should always be between 1.6-2.4 g/kg of body weight (if at least normal weight) in subjects who do not train or do it mildly in aerobic activities, the same for the obese who apply a 30% calorie cut, and between 2.3-3.1 g/kg of body weight (if at least of normal weight) in individuals who are strength trainers or bodybuilders. Obviously, the overall pool of amino acids must guarantee a number of essential molecules such as to ensure photosynthesis – for omnivores, it is sufficient to maintain a high biological value.

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