Very Low Calorie Diet

Another calorie-based diet plan, the very low-calorie diet is a medically-supervised diet that bring about rapid weight loss. Very-low calorie diet programs are designed to help moderately to extremely obese people.

Since very low-calorie diets produce rapid weight loss, they are used as a part of a comprehensive weight loss program which also includes therapy, nutrition counseling and exercise.

How it works

Very low-calorie diets are designed to bring about rapid weight loss at the start on an ongoing weight-loss program. Regular foods are substituted with liquid shakes or replacement bars anywhere between several weeks to several months.

What you can eat

Since patients on a very low-calorie diet only consume about 800 calories a day, meal replacements are specially formulated to contain the sufficient amount of vitamins to meet the patients’ nutritional requirements.

These meal replacements are not the type you buy at the grocery store. Some very low-calorie diet diets may include lean proteins such as fish and chicken.

Who are very low calorie diets for?

Very low-calorie diets are designed for patients with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 and above with significant comorbidities or illnesses or diseases related to morbid obesity, such as diabetes.

People with a BMI of 27 to 30 are not usually recommended to go through a very low-calorie diet program unless they have a medical condition related to their weight.

Very low-calorie diets are not usually recommended to teens, children and elderly people because of the possible side effects, pre-existing medical conditions and medication needs.

Very low-calorie diet programs are recommended to patients on a case to case basis.

How effective is it?

Very low-calorie diets can reportedly bring about an average weight loss of about 44 pounds for a 12-week very low-calorie diet plan. For an obese patient, he/she can lose about 3-5 lbs. a week. Within 3-6 months, a person who has followed a very low-calorie diet and followed that up with total lifestyle changes can lose about 15-25 percent of their initial weight.

Side effects

Patients who follow a very low-calorie diet for 1-4 months may experience side effects such as fatigue, nausea, constipation or diarrhea. Fortunately these side effects last for only a few weeks and rarely keep a patient from finishing the program.

A fairly serious side effect of very low-calorie diet is gallstones. Gallstones are common in people, particularly women, who are obese. Gallstones are even more common in people who are experiencing rapid weight loss. Your health care provider can prescribe medication to prevent gallstones from forming during rapid weight loss.

Long-term results

Recent researches show that very low-calorie diets have various long term results. A common long-term result is weight gain. Very low-calorie diets coupled with behavior therapy, exercise and follow-up treatment may stop patients from putting weight back on. Very low-calorie diets usually maintain a five percent weight loss after four years if they follow healthy eating habits and an exercise plan.