low- calorie diet (VLCD) may be the right choice in a few cases, it should be followed for a limited time only. So talk
to your doctor before you start. It can help support you.
Achieving a healthy weight is achieving the right balance between the energy you put into your body and the energy
To lose weight, you must use more energy than you do with food and drinks throughout the day.
You can do this by making healthy changes to your eating habits and increasing physical activity in your daily life. In many cases, this will be sufficient to achieve a healthy weight.
But you may benefit from following a very low-calorie diet (VLCD) if you have already made these changes and the weight loss you did not lead to a healthy weight.
The benefits are short-term, and there is limited evidence of long-term benefit.
Before you start the very low-calorie diet (VLCD), make sure it is the right choice for you.
It is also important that the diet you choose is safe and that you follow it properly. This means talking to your doctor
for more advice.
What is an extremely low-calorie diet (VLCD)?
A very low-calorie diet is for any diet to include eating 1,000 calories or less per day.
It should be followed for a period of 12 continuous weeks only or intermittently – for example, every two or three
days – with a low-calorie or regular diet.
The recommended daily amount of calories is 2000 for women and 2500 for men. This means that low-calorie diets contain much fewer calories than most people need to be able to maintain a stable healthy weight. Therefore, a very low-calorie diet can cause faster weight loss than a traditional weight-loss program.
It is important that very low-calorie diets are only followed by the people who need them and that the diet is safe and followed properly. Dramatically cutting calories can lead to health problems like gallstones, heart problems, and other ailments associated with not getting the nutrition you need, such as fatigue and anaemia.
An extremely appropriate low-calorie diet ensures that you continue to get all the nutrients you need, and is usually followed under supervision, so action can be taken if health problems arise.
A group of private organizations sell low-calorie diet plans. During a typical very low-calorie diet a person following the diet would stop eating all-natural foods and replace them with special drinks, soups, porridge containing milk protein, soy, or eggs. Alternative foods are designed to contain all the nutrients we need, while still providing 1,000 calories or fewer per day.
The person who follows the diet regularly will meet with a trained member of the organization’s group – usually
called a counsellor or expert – and they will monitor progress.
Who Should Follow the Very Low-Calorie Diet?
- An extremely low-calorie diet is only suitable for people who are very overweight (obese) and are still very obese despite making healthy changes to their diet and lifestyle.
- Most people who want to lose weight do not need to eat very-low-calorie diets.
- But it may be appropriate for you if the following three conditions apply to you:
- You made really healthy changes to your diet and level of physical activity.
- ِِAnd, You are still very obese (a BMI of 30 or more).
- You are no longer losing weight.
A very low-calorie diet is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, nor is it suitable for children. You can learn more about healthy eating during pregnancy.
How to follow the very low-calorie diet (VLCD)?
If you think a very low-calorie diet (VLCD) is right for you, the first step is to talk to your doctor. He or she can give you advice on whether a very low-calorie diet would help: It will measure your BMI (Body Mass Index) and tell you about other steps you need to take to lose weight.
Very low-calorie diets (VLCD) are not suitable for people with certain health conditions, such as eating disorders and epilepsy, and your doctor can talk to you about this.
If your doctor agrees that a low-calorie diet (VLCD) is a good idea, the next step is to find a good provider for a low-calorie diet. Your doctor may be able to help you with this as well.
During your first session, a counsellor from the Very Low-Calorie Diet (VLCD) will talk to you about how this diet works, the weight loss you can expect and the side effects that may occur to you during the diet.
Side effects are usually secondary and can include: fatigue, diarrhoea, constipation and nausea.
You will usually be asked to keep a record of your weight loss and any side effects.
Your consultant will refer you to a doctor if you encounter any health problems during the diet.
Multiple benefits of a calorie diet
People prefer a calorie-restrictive diet for its flexibility and ease of use, as you can enjoy any food or drink on a low-calorie diet as long as it matches your daily calorie quota. The low-calorie diet has also been linked to other health benefits.
For example, animal studies show that restricting calories in the short term may reduce levels of several markers of
inflammation of all kinds.
Maintaining high levels of inflammation over time is thought to contribute to the development of chronic diseases
such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Other research suggests that cutting calories can slow ageing and extend life.
It may also improve heart health by lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure, all of which increase the risk of