What is Negative Energy Balance?

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Negative energy balance refers to a caloric deficit where more calories are expended than consumed. Sustained negative balance results in weight and fat loss over time.


  • A negative balance creating a deficit of 500-1000 calories daily leads to 1-2 pounds of fat loss per week on average.
  • Combining exercise with reduced caloric intake through diet enhances negative energy balance and fat loss.
  • Appetite tends to increase during caloric deficits. Hunger management becomes crucial to sustain an optimal deficit.
  • Too severe of calorie restriction slows metabolism over time and risks nutrient deficiencies. A moderate deficit prevents this.


  • Burning 300 calories through cardio and eating 200 fewer calories daily.
  • Losing weight by taking in 1400 calories with a daily expenditure around 1900-2000.

Related Terms

  • Caloric deficit, energy balance, calories in vs. calories out, weight loss

Common Questions

  • How much of a deficit should I target? A 500-1000 calorie daily deficit for 1-2 lbs weekly fat loss. Don’t exceed 1000 calories.
  • Won’t my metabolism slow down? Metabolic adaptation occurs but is often exaggerated. Deficits under 20% of intake help prevent this.

Do Not Confuse With

  • Positive energy balance – Eating surplus calories exceeding expenditure that stores fat.
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