I’ve written and recorded a lot of evidence-based content over the years on just about everything you can imagine related to building muscle, losing fat, and getting healthy.
I’ve also worked with thousands of men and women of all ages and circumstances and helped them get into the best shape of their lives.
That doesn’t mean you should blindly swallow everything I say, though, because let’s face it—nobody is always right about everything. And especially in fields like diet and exercise, which are constantly evolving thanks to the efforts of honest and hardworking researchers and thought leaders.
This is why I’m always happy to hear from people who disagree with me, especially when they have good arguments and evidence to back up their assertions.
Sometimes I can’t get on board with their positions, but sometimes I end up learning something, and either way, I always appreciate the discussion.
That gave me the idea for this series of podcast episodes: publicly addressing things people disagree with me on and sharing my perspective.
Think of it like a spicier version of a Q&A.
So, here’s what I’m doing:
Every couple of weeks, I’m asking my Instagram followers what they disagree with me on, and then picking the more common or interesting contentions to address here on the podcast.
And in this episode, I’ll be tackling the following . . .
- You should never eat fewer than a certain number of calories per day (like 1,200, 1,500 or 1,800).
Lastly, if you want to support the show, please drop a quick review of it over on iTunes. It really helps!
2:01 – What happens when you eat less than 1200 calories?
2:38 – Is there a universal calorie minimum? Is there a minimum amount of calories you should eat?
4:42 – How low should you drop calories while cutting?
6:28 – Can you develop nutritional deficiencies with a low-calorie diet?
Mentioned on the Show:
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Hello, and welcome to Muscle For Life. I’m Mike Matthews, your host. Thank you for joining me today. And if you like Muscle for Life and Mike Matthews, go ahead and subscribe to the show in whatever app you are listening in, because one, it’ll make sure you don’t miss any new episodes. They will be automatically queued up for you to review and listen to as you like.
And. Two, it will help me because it will boost the rankings of the show on the various charts, and that of course helps other people find muscle for life. And Mike Matthew. Okay, so this episode is another installment in my says You series where I address things that people disagree with me on, which I always like to hear.
I am an argumentative person by nature, and so I often reach out to Instagram followers. That’s usually where I do it. I’ll put up a little, ask me anything story. Tag sticker, whatever they call it. But I’ll ask people to give me things they disagree with me on. So if you want to tell me something that you disagree with me on, you can email me, mike, at most for life.com, or you can follow me on Instagram at most for life fitness and look for those stories that I.
Put up every so often to get more grist for the podcast. And so in this episode, I am going to be talking about something that I have heard many times over the years, but I realized I have not publicly and specifically addressed. And that is the claim that you should. Ever eat fewer than a certain number of calories every day.
1200 is a number that has been thrown around a lot. Specifically for women, sometimes it’s 1500 for women and for men, sometimes it’s a little bit higher. 1600, 1800, or even 2000 calories per day. Now, if you do eat less than. Whatever the number is, the legend goes, Many misfortunes can befall you, including metabolic damage, extreme hunger, malnutrition, hormonal disruptions, muscle loss, mood disturbances, menstrual irregularities, the list jabbers, on and on.
And I often hear from people who are concerned by this theory because some evidence based formula or calculator, usually one of my own is telling them. Eat what they believe is a dangerously low number of calories every day. Now, fortunately, a true universal caloric minimum would be much lower than any of those numbers that I gave you because many people just don’t burn as many calories as they think they do.
And even when calories are inappropriately low, the purported consequences are often overblown. For example, a five foot five, 130 pound woman who exercises one to three hours per week burns about 1700 calories per day. And if she wanted to lose about one pound of fat per week, and that would be moderate.
Reasonable weight loss, she would need to eat about 1200 calories per day. Now, if we make her five foot 10 and 160 pounds, her total daily energy expenditure rises to nearly 2000 calories per day. And then if we increase her exercise to four to six hours per week, it reaches 2,300 calories per. Finally, if we now calculate her new caloric target at 5 10, 1 64 to six hours of exercise per week, and we calculate for one pound of fat loss per week, we get 1800 calories virtually lean, gaining.
For her smaller and more sedentary self. And this works the same way in men. A five seven, one hundred and sixty pound guy exercising one to three hours per week will burn about 2100 calories per day. Whereas a 6 3, 200 pound dude exercising four to six hours per week. He’ll burn almost 3000 calories per day.
So saying that nobody, Ever eat less than some arbitrary amount of calories every day is like saying that they should never drive slower than 55 miles per hour on the highway. What if they have engine trouble? What if there’s traffic? What if it is raining, pitchforks outside? Such advice is just too schematic.
How low should you go when you’re cutting because there is a caloric threshold that you shouldn’t cross, right? Yes there is because if you restrict your calories too heavily, you won’t damage your metabolism. You won’t. Detonate your hormones. You won’t disintegrate your muscle. You won’t otherwise drange your physiology, but you’re not gonna have a good time.
Negative side effects often associated with semi starvation dieting, very low calorie dieting can and often do become more pronounced if calories are too low. So based on the findings of research, on the effects of energy avail. On athletic men and women, when you’re cutting, I recommend a cutoff of eight to 10 calories per pound of body weight per day for both men and women, regardless of activity level, meaning don’t eat less than.
Eight calories per pound of body weight per day, and that’s probably most applicable to men in women. I would say the cutoff is gonna be a little bit higher, around 10, but some women do find that, especially toward the end of a cut, where they are trying to go from lean to very lean, and they are trying to lose the last.
Bits of fat and they are exercising as much as they can within reason. They have to eat nine calories per pound of body weight per day, or even eight calories per pound of body weight per day. But generally, the ideal cutoff for women is a bit higher than the ideal cutoff for men because of the extra energy demands of the more complex female reproductive.
Now, one other matter I want to quickly comment on is the nutritional component of dieting. Because some people say that by eating significantly less food than usual, by eating 1200 calories per day, or 14 or 1800 per day, you can develop irritating insufficiencies or even debilitating deficiencies, and that’s just not true.
Not if you get most. The calories that you are eating from relatively unprocessed and wholesome foods like lean protein, fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, seeds, and the like. And if you really want to ensure that your body is adequately nourished when you are cutting, just include a high quality multivitamin like legion’s, triumph in your regimen.
All right. That’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful. And if you did and you don’t mind doing me a favor, please do leave a quick review on iTunes or wherever you’re listening to me from in whichever app you’re listening to me in. Because that not only convinces people that they should check out the show, it also increases search.
Ability, and thus it helps more people find their way to me and learn how to get fitter, leaner, stronger, healthier, and happier as well. And of course, if you want to be notified when the next episode goes live, then simply subscribe to the podcast and you won’t miss out on any new stuff. And if you didn’t like something about the show, please do shoot me an email at mike muscle for life.com.
Just muscle f o r life.com and share your thoughts on how I can do this better. I read everything myself, and I’m always looking for constructive feedback. Even if it is criticism, I’m open to it. And of course you can email me if you have positive feedback as well, or if you have questions really relating to anything that you think I could help you with, definitely send me an email.
That is the best way to get ahold of me, [email protected]. And that’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.
+ Scientific References
- MJ, M., J, E., M, P., W, B., B, E., M, L., CC, G., JJ, K., D, K., & A, B.-W. (2015). Metabolic adaptation to caloric restriction and subsequent refeeding: the Minnesota Starvation Experiment revisited. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 102(4), 807–819. https://doi.org/10.3945/AJCN.115.109173
- P, F. (2018). Negative Consequences of Low Energy Availability in Natural Male Bodybuilding: A Review. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 28(4), 385–402. https://doi.org/10.1123/IJSNEM.2016-0332
- MJ, D. S., NI, W., A, N., E, J., M, M., AB, L., G, M., MP, O., M, B., RJ, M., JC, G., M, G., JF, N., B, D., C, S., R, A., CL, O., MD, J., AZ, H., … J, M. (2014). Misunderstanding the female athlete triad: refuting the IOC consensus statement on Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S). British Journal of Sports Medicine, 48(20), 1461–1465. https://doi.org/10.1136/BJSPORTS-2014-093958