The 1200-Calorie Diet: Exploring its Characteristics, Controversies, and Menu Options

The 1200-calorie diet is a type of hypocaloric diet that focuses on consuming a limited number of calories to promote weight loss. Individuals' opinions about this diet vary greatly, with some claiming to feel hungry, others questioning its effectiveness, and some reporting successful weight loss. In this article, we will delve into the key characteristics of this diet, address the controversies surrounding it, and provide you with a sample menu.

A 1200-calorie diet falls under the category of hypocaloric diets, which involve restricting the daily calorie intake to a level lower than the calories burned. The specific number of calories in the diet can vary depending on factors such as an individual's basal metabolism and level of physical activity. By consuming fewer calories than the body requires, it taps into stored adipose tissue for energy, resulting in weight loss and reduced body volume. These types of diets are commonly used by individuals who are overweight or obese and are considered a popular approach for weight management.

Stay tuned as we uncover more details about the 1200-calorie diet, including its benefits, potential drawbacks, and a sample menu to guide you on your weight loss journey.

1200 Calorie Diet: 7-Day Meal Plans for Weight Loss

7 Day 1200 Calorie Meal Plan

We have taken as a reference a weekly menu published in 'Good House Keeping', a renowned American women's magazine that deals with topics such as beauty, health and nutrition.

In their publication, they say that if you follow this diet for 90 days you can lose about 20 pounds.

Day 1


- ¾ of a cup of fiber cereal with skim milk and a banana


- Whole plan sandwich with turkey breast, half roasted pepper dressed with low-fat mayonnaise, mustard and lettuce.

- Skim mozzarella cheese bar.

- 2 kiwis.


- 120 grams of grilled sole.

- 2 sliced tomatoes with grated parmesan cheese.

- 1 cup of couscous.

- 1 cup steamed broccoli

- 1 cup fat-free pudding

Day 2


- Smoothie (or fruit milkshake) made with a cup of frozen berries, half a banana and 200 ml of fat-free milk.

- Half a muffin smeared with light margarine


- A plate of soup with vegetables

- 1 veggie burger with lettuce and sauce on a whole wheat bread

- 1 natural yogurt

- Between 75 and 100 grams of grapes (approximately 15)


- 200 grams of chicken breast with grilled barbecue sauce

- Half a bowl of baked beans

- 3 boiled red potatoes topped with light margarine and a little dill

Day 3


- Half a cup of quick-cooking oats and skim milk, half an apple, a teaspoon of honey and a pinch of cinnamon.


- Salad consisting of 120 grams of roasted chicken breast, red grapes, a tablespoon of almonds, low-fat mayonnaise and lettuce.

- 1 banana


- 120 grams of steamed shrimp

- 1 baked potato covered with three tablespoons of some sauce and one tablespoon sour cream

- 500 grams of steamed spinach

- 1 low-fat ice cream

Day 4


- Half toast margarine combined with a low-fat apple and grated cheese.

- 1 light yogurt with 80 grams of almonds


- Soup with tomato

- Wholemeal sandwich with thin slices of roast beef, horseradish, mustard, lettuce and a couple of tomato slices

- 200 grams of raw vegetables

- 1 pear


- 100 grams of poached salmon

- Salad with 50 grams of cabbage, 2 sliced onions and a little fat-free mayonnaise

- 150 grams of cooked brown rice

- 1 tin of pineapple in its juice

Day 5


- 200 grams of fiber cereals and 250 ml of fat-free milk combined with 95 grams of berries, 80 grams of filleted almonds.


- 1 whole-wheat pancake with 200 grams of low-fat grated cheese and 50 grams of beans

- 100 grams of cottage cheese combined with mandarin segments

- 1 cucumber


- 100 grams of roast pork

- 200 grams of baked pumpkin with purée and cinnamon

- Salad with lettuce, broccoli, bell pepper and onion with two tablespoons mayonnaise or other fat-free sauce

- 1 light yogurt with 200 grams of berries

Day 6


- A waffle or toast with butter and a sliced banana

- 250 ml fat-free milk


- A tuna pita/kebab with light mayonnaise, mustard, cucumber and sliced onion

- 10 small carrots

- 1 light yogurt combined with half banana


- 150 grams of rice combined with chicken, raw ham or prawns.

- 300 grams of steamed spinach

- 1 apple

Day 7


- Half a roll accompanied by low-fat cheese, spinach, a slice of tomato and poached egg.

- 1 grapefruit


- Bean salad (100 grams) combined with mandarin segments, red pepper, onion and a teaspoon of fat-free mayonnaise sauce.

- 1 mini pita/kebab of whole wheat tuna or chicken bread

- 1 pear


- 100 grams of grilled veal

- 1 baked sweet potato spread with light margarine

- 200 grams of steamed zucchini

- 1 tin of pineapple in its juice.

For the diet to work, avoid alcoholic or sugar-rich beverages, as well as taking a multivitamin and a calcium supplement (400 milligrams a day).


Starting a diet is always dangerous if it is not properly controlled. Weight loss sometimes brings dangers to the body such as malnutrition. Some nutritionists say that eating a diet that requires you to consume less than 1200 calories is a health hazard.

Intake of fewer calories than necessary will result in a decrease in the individual's metabolism, retaining fat from protein intake and muscle tissue in order to get energy.

A low-calorie diet leads to an increase in metabolism, which in turn means encouraging the consumption of synthetic supplements that are not always effective. This lack of control would lead to problems with heart rate and blood pressure.

On the other hand, diets that ensure weekly weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds, usually have a rebound effect that causes that once you stop following, causes a rapid weight gain in the individual.

Finally, diets of less than 1200 calories try to suppress as much as possible the fats, proteins and carbohydrates, three macronutrients that play very important roles in the body.

Specialists do agree that this type of diet is not recommended for individuals who meet any of the requirements:

- People who have suffered heart disease (arrhythmias, heart attacks, angina...)

- People with cerebrovascular problems

- People with a history of anorexia or bulimia

- People who suffer from alcohol dependence

- People with diseases who take drugs that reduce the number of proteins in the body

- Pregnant and lactating

- Certain children and adolescents

- Certain people 65 years of age or older

- People with certain diseases (gout, diabetes, emotional disorders, cholelithiasis, etc.)

And what results did you get from the 1200 calorie diet?
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