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If you're trying to lose weight to keep a New Year's Resolution, fit into your favorite swimsuit for summer, or just want to feel healthier, you may have heard about the 1200 Calorie Diet. In a nutshell, this diet allows you to eat whatever foods you like, as long as your calorie count is 1200 or under. This meal plan has had its share of detractors, but no one can argue with the result. Browse progress pictures of the 1200 Calorie Diet followers, or their older cousin, Calories In, Calories Out, and you might be a believer. But is 1200 really enough?

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1. What is a Calorie?

A calorie is a unit of measurement of how much energy is in the food we consume. Your body uses food for energy, and calories are the currency it's measured in. Eat too many calories, and your body stores the excess energy as fat. Eat too few calories, and your body uses the stored fat to meet its energy requirements. Calories are found in every food. Some, like a donut, have a lot for their size, while others, like broccoli, have fewer. Choosing low-calorie foods instead of high-calorie foods is a long-understood necessity for weight loss.

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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.