What Are the Dangers of a Very Low Daily Calorie Intake?

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Food provides your body with the energy it needs to perform all of life's basic functions, from breathing and pumping blood to more complicated movements and tasks. Even in a state of rest, your body is constantly working. Case in point: your body uses most of its energy stores while resting, which is why it's important to replenish those stores by consuming enough calories each day.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a person assigned male at birth should consume between 2000 and 2800 calories per day, whereas a person assigned female at birth should consume between 1600 and 2400 per day on average. Any diet that contains 800 calories a day or less is considered a low-calorie diet. While unhealthy fad diets might lure folks into visions of ultra-quick weight loss, an 800 calorie diet can pose serious health risks, especially if it's not prescribed by your doctor. 

In some cases, doctors prescribe low-calorie diets to patients, but, unlike the folks behind fad diets, a medical professional will ensure that there's not only a legitimate, urgent need for the diet, but that the patient will receive all the nutrition and support they need while following the regimen. 

Here, we'll delve into the ways a very low-calorie diet can be unsafe and unhealthy as well as some more realistic alternatives when it comes to weight loss goals.