Can I lose weight on 900 calories a day?

Quick Answer

Yes, it is possible to lose weight on 900 calories per day, but it is an extremely low calorie intake that should only be done under medical supervision for short periods of time. Losing 1-2 pounds per week is considered a safe rate of weight loss. To lose weight healthfully and sustainably through calorie reduction alone, aim for a 500-1000 calorie per day deficit.


Losing weight requires being in a calorie deficit, meaning you consume fewer calories than you burn each day. To lose 1 pound per week, you need a daily deficit of 500 calories. Losing 2 pounds per week requires a 1000 calorie daily deficit [1]. With 900 calories per day, most people would be at a large daily deficit, resulting in fast weight loss. However, very low calorie diets under 1200 calories per day should only be followed with medical monitoring to ensure nutritional needs are met and health is not compromised [2].

Calorie Needs for Weight Loss

The number of calories needed for weight loss depends on your age, gender, height, current weight, and activity level. Here are general calorie intake recommendations for weight loss [3]:

Gender Age Sedentary Calorie Needs for Weight Loss
Female 19-25 years 1500-1800 calories
Female 26-50 years 1400-1600 calories
Male 19-25 years 1800-2000 calories
Male 26-50 years 1600-1800 calories

As you can see from these estimates, most adults need more than 900 calories per day for safe weight loss. Consuming so few calories can put you at risk of nutritional deficiencies over time [4].

Pros of 900 Calories for Weight Loss

Here are some potential benefits of attempting to lose weight on 900 calories per day:

– Very low calorie intake can promote rapid weight loss at first. Some research shows losing weight fast in the beginning can be motivating and lead to continued weight loss success [5].

– Eating 900 calories requires extreme discipline and diligence, which can help you build healthy lifestyle habits. Planning, portioning, and tracking food intake down to 900 calories makes you highly aware of everything you eat.

– People report feeling less hungry and more in control of cravings when consuming very low calorie diets under medical guidance. Hunger-reducing medication is often prescribed, which can help with compliance [6].

Cons of 900 Calories for Weight Loss

However, there are more risks and downsides associated with severe calorie restriction:

– Nutritional deficiencies are likely over time. Consuming enough protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals through nutrient-dense foods is difficult at 900 calories per day [7].

– Rapid initial weight loss is often followed by weight regain once normal eating is resumed. Very low calorie diets may yield short-term but not long-term success [8].

– Severely restricting calories slows your metabolic rate. Your body adapts by burning fewer calories at rest to conserve energy, which can plateau weight loss [9].

– Low energy levels, fatigue, irritability, dizziness and headaches are common side effects. Low calorie diets are difficult to maintain long-term due to physical effects.

– Increased risk of gallstones, electrolyte imbalances, and loss of muscle mass. Very low calorie diets should only be attempted with medical oversight [10].

Better Alternatives for Weight Loss

To lose weight successfully long-term, aim for safe, sustainable changes you can stick to. Here are some healthier alternatives:

– Reduce calories moderately by 500-1000 per day to lose 1-2 lbs per week. This small deficit is unlikely to cause nutritional issues or rebound weight gain [11].

– Focus on filling, low calorie foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy. These provide more volume and nutrients per calorie.

– Increase activity through walking, strength training, or cardio. Building muscle boosts your metabolism to burn more calories around the clock [12].

– Work on managing stress levels and getting quality sleep, as these factors influence hunger hormones and fat storage [13].

– Get support from a dietitian, therapist, or weight loss program. Having an accountability system in place improves adherence and weight loss success [14].

Medical Supervision for Very Low Calorie Diets

If you want to try losing weight on 900 calories per day, consult your doctor first. They can assess your health status and determine if a very low calorie diet might be medically appropriate for a short period of time. Typically, medical supervision involves [15]:

– Having EKG, lab work, and vital signs monitored for cardiac issues, electrolyte imbalances, and nutrition status.

– Taking prescribed appetite suppressants or fat burning medications. These help minimize hunger and accelerate weight loss.

– Meeting regularly with the medical team for assessment of side effects and progress.

– Taking nutritional supplements to reduce nutrient deficiencies.

– Slowly transitioning back to a sustainable maintenance diet after rapid weight loss.

Without medical oversight, restricting to 900 calories daily poses major health risks. Work with your doctor to determine the safest calorie intake for your situation.

Sample 900 Calorie Diet Plan

If consuming only 900 calories per day under medical guidance, the diet may look like:

Breakfast (300 calories)

– 1 hardboiled egg (78 calories)

– 1⁄2 cup oatmeal cooked with water (150 calories)

– 1⁄2 cup blueberries (42 calories)

– 1 cup green tea (2 calories)

Lunch (300 calories)

– Tuna salad made with 1 can tuna, 2 tbsp light mayo, celery, lettuce on 2 slices whole wheat bread (300 calories)

– 1 apple (95 calories)

Dinner (300 calories)

– 85g grilled chicken breast (187 calories)

– 1 cup roasted broccoli (31 calories)

– 1⁄2 cup brown rice (108 calories)

Nutrition totals: 900 calories, 80g protein, 78g carbs, 18g fat

As you can see, hitting 900 calories requires very small portions. Meals are focused on lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Even with nutrient-dense foods, meeting all nutritional needs at this intake level would be impossible without supplementation under medical guidance.


In summary, it is possible to lose weight at a rapid rate on 900 calories per day, but this extremely low calorie intake poses major health risks and should only be done under medical supervision for short periods of time. For safe, sustainable weight loss, aim for more moderate calorie reduction of 500-1000 calories below your needs, combined with increased physical activity. Losing 1-2 pounds per week on a nutritious diet you can stick to long-term is the healthiest approach for lasting results.

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