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The primary component of a weight loss programme is a  nutritionally balanced diet low in calories and fats. The objective is to control the dietary intake in a way so that the total calorie intake is lower than the calories required by the body. Supplemented with exercises, this approach will mobilize and utilize the fat reserves in the body to meet daily energy needs, thereby reducing the total body weight.


One gm of body fat can provide 7.7 kcals of energy. To utilize 500 gms of stored body fat / week or 72 gms of fat / day, our diet should be deficient by 550 kcals per day. The  total calorie intake  should never be below 1200 kcal for women and 1400 kcal for men (unless under a medically supervised, low calorie regimen). A person can also achieve a deficit of 550 kcal through a combination of diet and exercise. For e.g. if the normal calorie requirement of a person is 1600 kcal per day and he can reduce his intake to 1300 kcal and burn out the remaining 250 kcal through exercises.

The main objective of dietary modification is to achieve a reduction in calories without compromising on the overall nutrient intake.

Guidelines for healthy eating