This year we’ve seen the 1,200 calories meal plan become one of the fastest adopted weight loss tactic and while it’s not technically a fad diet (and you know how we feel about those), it still deserves to be examined through a lens of scepticism.

Some people might be looking at that number and thinking, “isn’t that just denying yourself 800 calories of food you need?”. And they’d be right but this diet has been adopted by thousands so it obviously isn’t as simple as that.

People being described as fitness “gurus” swear by the 1,200 number and their propaganda, sorry, diet advice is spreading like wildfire. There’s even a dedicated subreddit to the cause called ‘1200isplenty‘.

The Independent report that Google searches have shown the term “1,200 calories” spiking every January for over a decade – people really want to shift that Christmas weight.

But how much damage is this calorie method actually causing people?

An expert dietitian from the British Dietetic Association has warned against this weight-loss regiment with fears that some bodies will switch on “starvation mode” and start damaging themselves.

Ursual Philpot compared the diet to “saying all men should wear size 9 shoes. You get people who can live on 1,200 and other who need 2,400”. There is no one size fits all solution to dieting and this particular diet is advertising exactly that kind of mentality.

Even if you do lose weight, the side effects will probably leave you in worse shape. Not only would your metabolism be ruined but your circulation will suffer and anxiety could become a serious issue.

For women in particular, “it could temporarily shut down their fertility”.

The reality is that calorie counting is just an easy and manageable way to start dieting. The rest really depends on your body and lifestyle. We would recommend adopting a Mediterranean diet.

Do whatever you have to do to be happy but, more importantly, still enjoy food!