1200 Calories a day will make you sick (In case all the other reasons I gave you aren’t good enough)

In previous posts I’ve discussed the many reasons why caloric restriction is bad. I won’t reiterate the discussion here but you can read some of the other reasons here:

Fat is not a lever (calories don’t matter)

Why you’re losing more hair than weight

Now, I am going to forget all of that and try a new approach. I am referring to VITAL nutrients that we CANNOT GET without eating adequate amounts of food. Why this new approach? Because despite that massive amount of evidence that a human being cannot be healthy eating 1200 calories a day I still get people arguing that they feel great and they do amazing and lose all the weight on 1200 cals (or less) per day. Well frankly it is real frustrating coming from a nutrition background knowing the truth and screaming it all day but still having those people avoiding the truth. We even have many ketogenic “experts” actually recommending these amounts of calories to their clients. Even though some of these people are very intelligent, they don’t stop to think about the stone cold hard fact that there is much more to human nutrition than calories and macronutrients. That, I think is one of the major downfalls of the ketogenic movement. A lack of focus on the minutia with too much focus on the 30,000 foot perspective of only macro focus.

If you Look at the picture above, you will see an actual day of food consumed by an actual person. I won’t name names but if you read this, yeah I am talking about you. This was actually the best day of eating out of 7 days. Not great. You will see that I have laid out RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) amounts for each vitamin and mineral as well as the actual amount in the servings of food this person ate. As you can see, he/she is moderately to severely deficient in 19 of 25 vitamins and minerals. They are actually mildly to severely deficient in 23 of 25. These things are needed to fend off disease and make the body function the way it should. Deficiencies in any one of them can cause severe illness not to mention completely ruin your metabolism and make weight loss next to impossible.

I am going to choose just a few that they were the most deficient in and lay out the issues associated with these deficiencies.

Vitamin K (97.5% deficient)

Symptoms include:

– bruising
– petechiae
– hematomas
– oozing of blood at surgical or puncture sites
– stomach pains
– risk of massive uncontrolled bleeding
– cartilage calcification
– severe malformation of developing bone or deposition of insoluble calcium salts in the walls of arteries
– In infants, it can cause some birth defects such as underdeveloped face, nose, bones, and fingers.

Copper (97.28% deficient)

The characteristic hematological (blood) effects of copper deficiency are:

– anemia
– Thrombocytopenia (low blood platelets)

Copper deficiency can cause a wide variety of neurological problems including:

– myelopathy
– peripheral neuropathy
– optic neuropathy.

Calcium (84.7% deficient)

Symptoms of calcium deficiency include:

– confusion or memory loss
– muscle spasms
– numbness and tingling in the hands, feet, and face
– depression
– hallucinations
– muscle cramps
weak and brittle nails
– easy fracturing of the bones.

Choline (75.6%)

Symptoms of a choline deficiency include:

– low energy levels of fatigue
– memory loss
– cognitive decline
– learning disabilities
– muscle aches
– nerve damage
– mood changes or disorders.

Magnesium (74.2% deficient)

Magnesium Deficiency Clinical Conditions:

– Depression
– Dementia
– Chronic fatigue syndrome
– ADHD
– Asthma
– Colon Cancer
– Epilepsy
– Parkinson’s disease
– Sleep disorders
– Fibromyalgia
– Migraine headaches
– Osteoporosis
– Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
– Chest pain (angina)
– Cardiac arrhythmia
– Coronary artery disease
– Atherosclerosis
– Hypertension
– Type II diabetes

Iron (70.6% deficient)

Take note of the brittle nails and thinning hair. This will sound familiar if you have read my previous discussions on why 1200 calories is dangerous.

Symptoms of iron deficiency include:

– fatigue
– dizziness/lightheadedness
– pallor
hair loss
– twitches
– irritability
– weakness
– pica
brittle or grooved nails
– Plummer–Vinson syndrome: painful atrophy of the mucous membrane covering the tongue, the pharynx and the esophagus
– impaired immune function
– restless legs syndrome
– Anemia

This is only 6 of the 23 vital nutrients that 1200 calories a day leaves you deficient in. I am not even completely sure that these are the very worst of the issues associated with all of them. There could be far worse consequences.

So if just the idea of a slowed metabolism and hair loss was not enough to convince you that your awesome caloric restricted diet is the best way to lose weight, please take this into consideration.

Keto ON!

Coach Jack

If you want to learn how to break that stall or just learn how to optimize your ketogenic diet, you can sign up for personal coaching with Coach Jack. He is a certified nutrition coach who specializes in Ketogenic nutrition and has helped hundred of people break their plateaus and achieve optimal health through a Common Sense approach to the Ketogenic Diet.

For more information or to sign up please visit the site below:

Personal Coaching with Coach Jack

Here is an actual screenshot from the daily log of this day of eating from their MyfitnessPal

8 Replies to “1200 Calories a day will make you sick (In case all the other reasons I gave you aren’t good enough)”

  1. Hi Jack!

    How do I make sure I get notifications for your blog? I got here through Facebook but don’t want to miss anything.

    Thank you!!
    Sherri Close

    1. That is a great question. I don’t actually know. I am brand new to blogging. 🙂

      I will find out.

  2. Assuming this person’s TDEE is 2000 calories, what foods would you add to their day to make it more nutrient dense?

    1. Liver, eggs, avocado, fish, fatty beef, dairy, etc. The foods we eat on keto as part of the protein and fats are inherently nutritious, we just need to eat enough of them. 1,200 cals a day just isnt going to cut it.

      Personally I take Desicated liver pills because I can’t do liver. My mother forced me to eat it as a child and I now have a severe aversion. It is so very nutrient dense though that it is well worth it.

      1. Hi, Jack – is liverwurst keto friendly, and on par with the nutritional benefits of liver?

        And a follow-up question to one of your posts where you mention steady state cardio exercise as productive to fat loss. Would that be walking? At about what mph?
        Thank you!

        1. Depends what are the ingredients in the liverwurst and if there are carbs or additives.

          Any exercise that keeps the heart rate between 100-120 is good. Walking is great. Light jog is even better

  3. Hi Jack,

    Do you know anything for fuel during marathon for CSK? I’ve ran marathon last month on a keto ( the 75% 20 % 5%) but on race day, I took GU and ended up struggling but was able to finish the race., although in my slowest. I changrd my diet to CSK for 3 weeks now, strictly follow my more or less 2000 cal everyday plus the supplements and really felt good and better than my previous keto diet. I have B2B marathons Sept 16 & 23, but I have no idea what to take as fuel on race day with no carbs and sugar.

    Thank you very much Jack

    1. I would take a small bottle of olive oil with some salt mixed in. maybe 2 1 oz bottles. Water should be salted.

      I would eat a good fat and protein filled breakfast 1-2 hours before the race, have a glass of water with lemon juice, 1/2 tsp of salt and 200-300mg of potassium. That is it.

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