5 Calorie Slashes to Lose 1 Pound a Week

By Ted

2955-cookie jar.jpgTheoretically, weight loss happens when you take in less calories than you burn off.

Of course, nothing in life is quite this simple, but keeping this notion in mind throughout the week is important.

You might be surprised at how quickly you shed those last few unwanted pounds using these 5 diet tips.

Unnecessary Calories

To lose a pound a week, you need to cut approximately 500 calories a day. This may seem like a lot, but calories often add up much more quickly than you think.

Of course, knowing where to find these 500 calories is crucial. After all, you can’t cut what you don’t know. To help you out, here are a few common places unnecessary calories often lurk.

Consider limiting or reducing these five types of foods in your meal plan to successfully lose a pound a week.

Sugary Drinks

Sugary drinks are often loaded with calories. These calories can add up quickly and often provide very little else in terms of nutrition.

Instead, quench thirst with water or no calorie beverages. Remember, juice can contain as much sugar as a soda, so be careful.

Alcoholic beverages can also be a source of excessive calories and you may want to reconsider how much you drink. If you drink one to two glasses a day, consider cutting down to one or limiting your drinks to only a few days a week.

Sweet Treats

874-SNACKS CANDY.jpgCandies and sweets are another common source of excessive calories. For example, there are 271 calories in a 2 ounce Snickers bar and 537 calories in a king size!

Although its fine to indulge in your favorite chocolatey treat on occasion, eating one bar every day can really start to add up.

Consider replacing your favorite candy break with a fruit or yogurt break. You’ll still get that sweet taste you love, but the calories you consume will be far less.

Plus, fruit and yogurt are often rich in fiber and/or protein; both known to help increase overall satiety so you will be less likely to overeat later on.

Full Fat Products

Another great way to slash calories without slashing the nutritional value of your food is to swap your full-fat products for lower fat varieties.

Fat is an important component of any diet; however, fat simply has more calories per gram than the other calorie-containing nutrients.

Cut down on fat and you’ll automatically cut down on your calories.

Second Helpings

2751-1219053_untitled.jpgKeeping portion sizes in check is crucial for weight management. Whether you are tempted to refill your plate or take a few bites off your child’s, remember that those calories gradually add up.

Since you only need to cut 500 calories each day to lose an approximate pound a week, remember that it doesn’t take a lot of second helpings to put you over your calorie mark. Keep your fork to yourself and eat only what is on your individual plate.

You may also find it helpful to keep food on the counter, not the table so that you are less tempted to reach for any additional servings once your plate is empty.

Late Night Snacks

There is nothing wrong with a healthy late night snack; of course, that’s if you’re truly hungry and you pick something that’s not only delicious, but good for you.

The game changes a bit though when weight loss is your primary objective. If you struggle with late night snacking, closing down your kitchen after a set time may help you keep your calories within a more appropriate target.

Bottom Line

Removing 500 calories from your day can often result from a few minor changes.

Discover what areas of your diet could withstand a little calorie trimming and you could soon be on your way to a healthier weight.

Where can you cut back on calories each day?

By Kati Mora, RD for DietsInReview.com


  1. Jeff

    I completely disagree with the suggestion of cutting out full fat versions of products!! Fat is good, it is tasty and it satisfies our cravings. It is much better to eat LESS of a full fat product than it is to eat more of a reduced fat product. This sort of suggestion is what caused people to eat WAY TOO MUCH food simply because it is low fat or fat free. I am currently on a diet where I get 40-50% of my calories each day from fat! I feel great, I am losing lots of weight and my cholesterol is actually dropping. My diet is not the most conventional but I am losing a ton of weight eating the foods I love!!

  2. TonyK

    Well, the article wasn’t trying to provide a comprehensive plan for body recomp. It was an article on 5 simple tips to help cut calories….nothing more, nothing less.

  3. Gregory A. Buford, MD FACS

    While I agree with the crux of the article, I have to point out that the focus is not correct. As Americans, we are focused far too much on our weight and too little on what comprises that weight.

    For example, if we start an exercise regimen while on a diet, we may not lose weight if there is a balance between the “fat” lost and the “muscle” gained. When this occurs, our goal should not be to lose weight. We simply need to transform what our body is made up of.

    This is a great start and there are certainly some very nice points in your article but I strongly suggest that we veer towards examining what type of calories we are consuming and how our bodies look and focus less on our overall weight.

    Just my thoughts…

    Gregory A. Buford, MD FACS

  4. Maggie

    My point was and remains that the post claimed that one doesn’t sacrifice nutritional value by choosing lower fat products, but they do!

    Even something like reduced fat cheddar versus full-fat chedder has significant loss of micronutrients in the reduced fat version.

    Per 100g, the reduced fat cheddar has:

    43% less calcium
    43% less magnesium
    33% less potassium
    56% less thamin
    41% less riboflavin
    38% less niacin
    39% less folate
    50% less B12
    80% less A
    80% less E
    84% less D
    79% less K

  5. Dan

    I sort of assumed you were on an Atkins type of diet- I didn’t mean that your diet was unhealthy but that many persons do well consuming a lot less fat than you or I do. My point was that reduced fat products are legitimate, not that full fat products were not. Low but not non fat diets are not harmful as long as a person gets their essential fatty acids and it doesn’t take a lot of fat to do so. A person can healthfully choose to consume more than a little and eat full fat products, but that is their choice. I personally have not found a 10% low fat or for that matter a low carb diet necessary, but a person can do well on it. And a person technically does not need to eat any carbs, but there often are a lot of good substances that often go with the carbs.

  6. Maggie

    Interesting list of misconceptions there Dan – in fact, I eat more vegetables than most vegetarians – typically about 9-12 servings a day…..my fat is around levels in healthy European countries, about 45%. Not sure where you’re getting 70% from, but the only time I ever ate that much fat was when I was doing a very low-carb diet for about three weeks, since then, I haven’t gone past 50%.

  7. Dan

    I tend to be against all *very* restrictive kinds of diets PERIOD and believe in getting energy deficits from exercise. Cutting carbs, fats or calories too much does indeed slash nutrients- although I question whether *reduced fat* as opposed to *non fat* does- you indeed need *some* but not *a lot* of fat to absorb some nutrients. If a person exercises a lot, they would not have to drastically slash any of these things. However, I am beginning to warm up to the ZONE diet macro nutrient percentages that SueK talks about a lot. I think the amount of fat that is on the Atkins kind of diet is way too high. The Zone seems not to be too high nor too low a percentage (30%) as opposed to your diet which is probably about 70% fat. 10% of calories coming from fat seems to me to be a bit low- one would be restricted in how much healthy nuts and seeds they could eat therefore. When a person drastically slashes carbs, they have to drastically slash their consumption of plant foods. A person won’t get enough fiber, phytonutrients, as well as all kinds of antioxidants on this kind of diet. Fiber is a very satiating item to consume and it also keeps a persons digestive tract working. Esp. if a person wants to go to ZERO carb, they have no choice but to become a complete carnivore- and they cannot consume any dairy products either. YES, a person can *live* without any carbs, for instance, the body can convert protein to glucose. This, however, is not a very efficient process and doesn’t serve athletes well who will need quick energy.

  8. Maggie

    You might want to note that I specified that stating that lower/fat-free products DO indeed SLASH the nutritional value of foods – that was the claim in the post, not absorption of nutrients with fat.

  9. Dan

    I asked the dietitian at work and she said that it does not take a *lot* of fat to be able to absorb the fat soluble vitamins. So therefore, reduced as opposed to non fat is fine. One does not have to, for example, pour a whole bottle of salad dressing over one’s salad to be able to absorb the beta carotene, which of course is a fat soluble nutrient. It just takes perhaps a few nuts. Personally, my impression of the science is that the fat in nuts and fish is healthier than that from dairy or red meat.

  10. T. Kallmyer

    There are exceptions to every rule, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a valid tip and I believe the article said “lower fat” options, not “fat-free” options. 🙂 There’s often a big difference.

  11. Maggie

    Another great way to slash calories without slashing the nutritional value of your food is to swap your full-fat products for lower fat varieties.

    Not necessarily true.

    Take cottage cheese – the full-fat, 4% variety, has fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K….the fat-free variety has 70% less A, 98% less E, 90% less K and 100% less (zero)D.

    You should be careful when you say things like one isn’t slashing their nutritional value when they choose fat free because they are and it can have an impact on meeting nutrient requirements!

  12. Dan

    I exercise everyday for at least an hour and therefore I don’t find that I have to limit my calories all that severely to maintain my weight loss. However, I still track them and make sure I don’t eat too few or too many. Exercising to lose weight involves increasing one’s exercise to burn at least an extra 500 calories a day without increasing one’s caloric intake from the number of calories that would take to maintain one’s present weight. One would not need to *cut* calories, but rather not increase them if one increases one’s expenditure of them. In this kind of scenario, one could cut the empty calories out of one’s diet in many of the ways this article suggests and then add back the same number of calories that are more nutrient dense, while of course keeping the calorie deficit produced by the exercise. For instance, cutting down on fat in meats and dairy, as well as cutting out all processed fats, but then adding back the equivalent number of calories in monounsaturated fat from nuts and seeds- this goes along with what SueK stated. Cutting down on processed sweets and then adding back the equivalent number of calories from fruit is also a good idea. One could make one’s own sweets with whole wheat flour, oatmeal, ground flaxseed and other high fiber ingredients and not use trans fats as well. I do just like Pater states- I do eat the smaller pieces of chocolate, but not the bigger bars. One could also replace chocolate bars with dark chocolate as well. I tend to avoid sugared soft drinks, as well as fruit juices, but I do eat a lot of fruit. I never have been a drinker at all. In summation, one could improve the quality of one’s calories if one does not need to cut them per se.

  13. Pater Rolf Hermann Lingen

    “Candies and sweets are another common source of excessive calories.”
    Yes. Milk chocolate and other candies (cake etc.) consists mainly of sugar and saturated fat. Both ingredients should be kept very strictly under control.
    The bad news is: Exactly this combination of sugar and saturated fat often leads to a loss of control. I know it personally, and I have read other testimonies: You can eat milk chocolate and similar products in gigantic amounts before you even feel full.
    But the good news is: If you are really craving for sweets (which can have several and profound reasons), you can be already satisfied by eating really tiny amounts.
    Many sweets are sold in tiny packages. You can use these tiny packages to put your intake under control. In any case: Enjoying regularly tiny amounts of sweets (say: 20gr of milk chocolate a day) is probably way better than consuming 500gr of milk chocolate a week.

  14. Spectra

    Before I really started eating healthy, I decided to keep track of what I was eating in a normal day so I could figure out where I was getting my calories from. I found out I was eating a LOT of cheese, salad dressing, and other “extras” on my foods that I really didn’t miss if I took them off. I also ate huge portions–growing up, my parents never really paid attention to what a real serving size was supposed to be, so I’d eat a huge plateful of spaghetti with meat sauce or a huge bowl of chili with cheese and sour cream on it. Once you know where you’re getting all the extra calories, it’s a lot easier to cut them out.

  15. Jim

    Some good points here. Especially the alcohol. So many people have a few drinks a night, not realizing they are adding on a few hundred calories.

  16. Sue k.

    Oops, typos, sorry!

  17. Sue k.

    Lots of good points in this article. I’ve been successfully following the Zone diet and lifestyle for many years and much of the info in this article goes hand in hand with my eating plan. Here’s some additional insight. Alcohol basically acts like a carbohydrate in the body. Having a protein chaser with that drink will help lessen the negative affects on your weight loss efforts. Some chicken or shrimp appetizers will do the trick. A small pieced of cheese will work too. I like that you mentioned choosing reduced fat foods over full fat. My tip, also choose reduced fat over fat free and try to go for monounsaturated fats whenever possible, foods like olives/ olive oil, avocados/ guacamole and almonds, to name a few. Monounsaturated fat won’t negatively impact your cardiovascular system. Alos, a little fat some proteins eaten with carbohydrates wil slow the entry of the carbohydrates into the bloodstream and improve your health and your weight loss at the same time. Think of the fat as controlling the rate of entry. A little goes a ling way. A miderate amount of healthy fat is food, but take care not to over do it and wind up with extra calories your body doesn’t need. Thanks for the excellent info in this article!