Calorie Deficit and Muscle Degradation; How to Stay Healthy

What is a prolonged calorie deficit and how does this relate to muscle degradation?

What is a deficit example?

“The definition of a deficit occurs when there isn’t a sufficient amount of money to cover all of the expenses and debts, or when you are not as good at something as you should be. An example of a deficit is when you owe $100 and only have $90.” src

How many calories should you eat per day?

“Most adults need a minimum of 2000 calories to sustain metabolism, muscle activity, and brain function. However, too many calories can lead to weight gain and a variety of diseases. This article examines the daily calorie intake based on a person’s sex, age, physical activity and overall health and lifestyle.” src

What is a calorie deficit?

“To lose weight, you need to eat and drink fewer calories than you burn. That’s called a calorie deficit. If you take in more than calories than you burn, then you don’t have a calorie deficit and you won’t lose weight. There are two ways to raise your calorie deficit: changing what and how much you eat, and exercise.” src

What is a prolonged calorie deficit?

A prolonged calorie deficit is where a person eats in a negative total caloric intake for an extended period of time.

If you are overweight, eating in a caloric deficit is a good thing – this will lead to weight loss.

If you are at ideal bodyweight or underweight and you are eating a calorie deficit or prolonged calorie deficit, this could lead to serious health issues.

Prolonged Calorie Deficit and Muscle Wasting/Degradation

Let’s assume person A is supposed to eat 1800 calories per day. For whatever reason, either not knowing how much to eat, stress, or other factors, they eat at a caloric deficit: -200 calories per day.

Total Calories needed: 1800 cals

Total Calories consumed: 1600 cals

7 days: 1400 (200 calories * 7) calorie deficit

30 days: 6000 (200 calories * 30) calorie deficit

365 days: 73,000 (200 calories * 365) calorie deficit

10 years: 730,000 (200 calories * 3650) calorie deficit

Prolonged calorie deficit

If person A eats at a 200 calorie deficit over 10 years, they are in a prolonged period of muscle wasting, and will have health consequences because of this, including muscle degradation.

730,000 calorie deficit over 10 years will definitely contribute to a Parkinson’s patients issue with depression and anxiety.

This problem exasperates if the higher the calorie deficit is for over a period of time.

Caloric deficit and mental health

“Does a calorie deficit affect mental health?

Although dieting itself may lead to moodiness, outright anxiety can occur in response to very low calorie intake. In a large study of more than 2,500 Australian teens, 62% of those who were classified as “extreme dieters” reported high levels of depression and anxiety ( 28 ). ” src

“What happens if you have too much of a calorie deficit?

In addition to sabotaging your weight-loss efforts, eating too few calories can also harm your health. When your body goes into starvation mode, you are at increased risk for the following: Abnormally low blood pressure and slow heart rate. Heart rhythm abnormalities.” src

Caloric Deficit and Hypothyroidism

“Unfortunately, with hypothyroidism, your body is less able to metabolize calories. So even if you cut back the calories, you may not be able to burn them as effectively as someone without a thyroid condition. The cause of this is complex, but it is ultimately associated with a diminished supply of thyroid hormones.” src

Prolonged Caloric Deficit Leads to Nutrient Deficiency,

Nutrient Deficiency Leads to Hypothyroidism

The logical line of thinking here is that if you are at an extended period of caloric deficit, you will begin to develop health issues like depression and anxiety (which can lead to neuron cell death).

You will also develop serious nutrient wasting, including iodine, which regulates the thyroid hormones.

This will begin to induce hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism makes your body less able to metabolize calories, increasing the likely hood of a more severe caloric deficit.

Loss of calories, increase stress, depression, anxiety, less energy, fatigue, loss of muscle mass(muscle degradation), loss of dopamine neurons, increase the odds of overproduction of adrenal fatigue (due to anxiety and hypothyroidism), leading to tremors and worse quality of life: a negative feed back loop.


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Eating a balanced diet with proper calories, macro nutrients and nutrients will help the body achieve balance and optimal health.

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