It's a fact that cutting calories too severely slows down the metabolic rate and causes the loss of lean body mass, so that leaves us with the question, "How low can you go without negative effects?
There definitely seems to be a certain cutoff or threshold point where further reductions will begin causing problems. The most common guideline for fat loss is to reduce your calories by at least 500, but not more than 1000 below your maintenance level.
For some people, especially those with low body weights and low activity levels, 1000 calories may be too large of a deficit. The ACSM's guideline for recommended safe calorie levels is a 1200-per-day-minimum for women and 1800-per-day-minimum for men. Your lowest allowable calorie level should be: A) 1000 below maintenance or, B) 1200 for females/1800 for males, whichever is higher. A more individualized method is to reduce your calories by a percentage relative to your personal calorie needs.
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