Can following the caloric restriction recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans help individuals lose weight?

Eat Behav. 2008 Aug;9(3):328-35. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2007.12.003. Epub 2008 Jan 4.


Background: The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend creating an energy deficit of at least 500 kcal a day to facilitate weight loss. This investigation examined the relationship between creating a consistent, self-reported energy deficit of at least 500 kcal a day and weight loss. The relationship between self-monitoring adherence and daily energy intake and expenditure and weight loss was also examined.

Methods: Fifty-four overweight or obese adults (BMI>or=27 kg/m(2)) participating in a 14-week weight loss program were given a 5% total body weight loss goal and instructed to create an energy deficit of at least 500 kcal a day to facilitate weight loss. Participants provided daily records of total energy intake and expenditure, physical activity, and weekly and overall weight loss during treatment.

Results: Individuals who averaged an energy deficit in excess of 500 kcal per day lost nearly four times the weight as individuals whose average energy deficit was below 500 kcal per day (p<.01). Individuals who lost 5% of their body weight during the intervention self-monitored more than twice as many days than individuals who failed to lose 5% of their body weight (p<.01).

Conclusion: Individuals interested in losing weight should continue to be advised to regularly self-monitor energy intake and expenditure as well as to create a consistent daily energy deficit (e.g., 500 kcal day).

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caloric Restriction*
  • Energy Intake / physiology
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Female
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Obesity / diet therapy
  • Overweight / diet therapy
  • Regression Analysis
  • United States
  • Weight Loss / physiology*