The 1200 Calorie Diet in a Nutshell:

This is the most basic diet out there – calories in versus calories out. It is based solely on consuming 1200 calories per day, which is the the minimum amount of calories one should be consuming, if inactive. Many nutritionists will put their patients on a 1200 calorie a day diet for maximum weightloss. In order to maintain the 1200 calorie mark you will need to be very conscious of everything you eat and read nutrition labels like crazy and know your portion sizes.


  • The reduction in calories to 1200 usually yields rapid weightloss, as long as healthy food choices are made
  • You can choose what you want to eat


  • Strict calorie counting and portion control is up to you
  • 1200 may be too little nutrition for active people
  • Dieters can eat whatever they want, healthy or not
  • Nutritional deficiencies may occur because the program is not regimented
  • If exercise is not introduced, then weight gain will occur once calorie consumption increases
  • No behavior changes to eating are being made
  • No support group, website or book for referral

Foods You Can’t Eat:

  • Not specified

Potential Risks:

Proper nutrition may be lacking, which can result in a myriad of risks.

Oodora’s Opinion:

If you are very active a 1200 calorie may actually cause you to hold on to weight because your body thinks it’s starving itself. So rather than letting the weight go it will hold on to it. If you are severely overweight I think a 1200 calorie diet would be beneficial, as long as you consult with a nutritionist and are consuming healthy, whole foods. Proper exercise and incorporating healthy lifestyle changes is the only way to lose and keep weight off for good.

Sample 1200 Calorie Diet Meal Plan:


  • 1 cup bran cereal
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 banana


  • Tuna sandwich with whole grain bread and low fat mayo
  • 2 cups raw vegetable crudités (carrot, red pepper, celery)
  • 1 small apple

Afternoon Snack

  • Nectarine
  • Sparkling water with lemon


  • 3 oz grilled chicken breast
  • ¾ cup steamed green beans
  • Salad with 1 cup lettuce, ½ cup cherry tomatoes, ½ cup grated carrot
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • 1 fresh peach

Evening Snack

  • 1 small pear
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