What Happens To Your Body When You Reduce Calories

You have likely been receiving messages about which diet you should be on since the new year has begun. Are you cutting calories wisely? Further, what can you do if you’re suffering from too much restriction? Here’s what nutrition experts tell us about what happens to your body when you cut calories too quickly and without a strategy.

Alissa Palladino MS, RDN, LD, CPT says cutting calories has short- and long-term consequences! “Short-term, cutting calories might result in nutrient deficiencies, increased hunger levels, decreased energy levels, impaired performance and recovery, and hormonal changes.”

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Read on to learn how drastic calorie reduction affects your body. Here are four signs it’s time to stop dieting, based on dietitian-approved advice.


Food restriction significantly slows the digestive tract, resulting in constipation. Excessive dieting can lead to chronic constipation. Registered dietitian Andrew Akhaphong, MS, RD, LD, explains this phenomenon. Akhaphong explains that although calorie deficits may help people lose weight, they may also decrease the consumption of nutrient-dense foods.

Nutrient Deficiencies

A long-term food restriction can result in nutrient deficiencies. Sharon Puello, MA, RD, CDN, CDCES, explains that calorie restriction can lead to severe nutrient loss. It’s important to note that people may consume too many total calories, but that does not mean they get all the necessary nutrients. Studies have shown that overeating can deplete one of the critical nutrients.

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Skipping a meal and feeling excessively hungry later is common. You may find yourself growing hungry as you reduce your calories-but why? Kim Kulp, the owner of the Gut Health Connection, says excessive calorie intake can increase the production of the hunger hormone ghrelin. Hunger can cause headaches, nausea, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.”


It is undoubtedly possible to comply with calorie deficits responsibly. Take some precautions, however, to make sure you don’t go too fast or too strict. Monitor your symptoms for adverse effects, like constipation, hormone changes, or extreme hunger.