Diets such as the Atkins, Paleo, Sugar Busters, South Beach and Zone encourage people to cut their intake of foods high in carbohydrates. However, depending upon the food plan you choose, you still may consume up to half your daily calories in carbohydrates. Restricting the remaining part of your diet to nutrient-dense, low-calorie foods can help you lose weight.
On the website Your Personal Nutrition Guide, registered dietitian Suzette Kroll has developed a 1200-calorie low-carb diet plan and included sample menus featuring three meals per day plus two snacks. A typical breakfast consists of 1/2 cup of low-fat dairy such as cottage cheese, yogurt or soy milk, a serving of fresh fruit and 3 tbsp. of low-fat granola or muesli. Lunch features one serving of an unsweetened whole grain such as crackers or bread, 3 oz. of a lean protein such as turkey or salmon, fresh leafy greens and vegetables, one serving of fruit and a small serving of fat such as avocado, nuts, or seeds, or 2 tsp. of olive oil or mayonnaise. For dinner, try 4 oz. of a grilled protein, 1/2 cup of brown rice, a sprinkle of nuts or seeds and a large portion of a steamed vegetable drizzled with 1 tsp. of olive or sesame oil. Snacks consist of one serving of mozzarella string cheese, a serving of chilled fruit or baby carrots.
Diets low in carbohydrates may be able to help suppress the appetite, a 2005 article in the "International Journal of Obesity" explains. Low-carb diets often emphasize high-protein foods, which can be more filling. The lack of carbohydrates may also help suppress the appetite, making it easier to eat less. (See Reference 5)
Low-carb, 1200-calorie diets differ in the foods they permit. Some allow whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Some restrict your intake of starchy vegetables. Most of these diets limit your daily intake of carbohydrates to 50 to 150 grams.
Carbohydrates are not the enemy of a 1200-calorie diet. The Harvard School of Public Health notes that the carbohydrates in fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes and unsweetened whole grains provide key nutrients and give your body the fuel it needs. Avoid refined, processed carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, syrups, sweet sodas and pastries. Replace starchy potatoes with brown rice, bulgur or whole wheat pasta.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health warn that 1200 calories is the absolute minimum amount of daily calories an adult woman should consume. For men, the daily minimum is 1500 calories. People should only restrict calories further under the supervision of a doctor.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.