By Height By Weight  

Caloric Deficit

A caloric deficit is when you consume fewer calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight. This leads to a drop in body weight, as your body starts to draw energy from stored fat to meet its energy needs. A caloric deficit is a fundamental reason behind weight loss and is achieved by reducing your calorie intake or increasing your physical activity level or doing both together.

Example of Caloric Deficit

If you typically consume 2000 calories a day and burn only 1800 calories a day, then you are in a caloric deficit. To achieve bigger deficits, you can consume fewer calories, exercise more or do both at the same time. For example, you could consume 1500 calories and burn 2000 calories a day, which would create a caloric deficit of 500 calories a day. Over time, this will lead to weight loss.

Synonyms for Caloric Deficit

  • Negative energy balance
  • Negative calorie balance
  • Negative energy intake

Related Terms

  • Basal metabolic rate (BMR) - the amount of energy your body burns at rest.
  • Total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) - the total number of calories your body burns in a day.
  • Macronutrients - the three main nutrients our body needs: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

Madeleine Smith

Content Lead at

Madeleine is passionate about empowering individuals with the information and tools they need to transform their bodies and lives.