Can You Lose Weight Staying Below 1,400 Calories?

Can You Lose Weight Staying Below 1,400 Calories?

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Protein-rich foods, like grilled chicken, can increase satiety during weight loss.

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In most cases, if you eat fewer than 1,400 calories a day, you'll lose weight. However, 1,400-calorie diets aren't appropriate for everyone. Eating too few calories can drastically lower your metabolism, according to a study published in a 2012 edition of the “Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.” Your individualized calorie needs for weight loss are based on your gender, current calorie intake and activity level.

When Appropriate

While men and women will likely lose weight eating fewer than 1,400 calories, men should avoid dropping below 1,200 calories and women should not consume fewer than 1,000 calories per day, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, or NHLBI. In fact, NHLBI reports active women and women weighing more than 164 pounds need a minimum of 1,200 calories daily during weight loss. Very low-calorie diets used for rapid weight loss in obese individuals contain 800 or fewer calories daily, but are medically supervised programs.

Recommended Weight Loss

A safe but effective weight loss is 1 to 2 pounds per week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You can achieve this weight-loss goal by reducing your energy intake by 500 to 1,000 calories a day, burning an extra 500 to 1,000 calories daily or combining a reduced-calorie diet with an exercise regimen. Adding exercise to your weight-loss program can increase muscle mass and burn body fat.


If you're not losing weight eating fewer than 1,400 calories a day, it may be time to see your doctor. Certain health conditions that affect your metabolism, such as hypothyroidism, can prevent successful weight loss. If you do have hypothyroidism, taking prescription synthetic thyroid hormone can get your metabolism back on track, according to


Although most diets containing fewer than 1,400 calories a day often lead to weight loss, some individuals may feel hungry on this type of reduced-calorie diet. Examples include people who exercise regularly and whose calorie intakes are usually higher than 2,400 calories a day. Eating too few calories can lower your metabolism and cause fatigue, headaches, nausea and difficulty concentrating. If you're losing more than 2 pounds per week and feel hungry on your weight-loss diet, slightly boost your calorie intake to 1,600 calories a day, or more if necessary.


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