What Is a Very Low-Calorie Diet?

Weight loss is usually about utilising more calories than you consume. This has led to several diets where people reduce their caloric intake, which helps them to shed the pounds. Very low-calorie diets are diets that severely restrict the number of calories that someone on the programme consumes. Very low-calorie diets require that participants eat 900 calories or fewer every day. It is classified as a rapid weight-loss diet due to the amount of weight one can lose in a few months of sticking to the diet.

Very-Low Calorie Diets: An Overview

Very low-calorie diets have been around for 40 years now and have always been recommended for people to have a body mass index of over 30. People with a BMI over 30 might need to lose weight fast because of the health consequences of their weight and this is where these diets come in. Also, people with a BMI of 27 and 30  might be advised to go on a very low-calorie diet if they have weight-related medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

How it Works

Very low-calorie diets are used as part of an overall weight loss programme. In the beginning, these diets lead to fast weight loss, usually 3-5 pounds per week. Over the recommended 44 weeks of this diet, the average weight loss is usually 42-45 pounds. This can have profound positive outcomes, including the improvement of conditions such as high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure.

A healthy lifestyle is also part of the programme, as is an exercise regime and a calorie-controlled eating plan after the initial weight-loss programme ends. Combining these three after the initial very low-calorie diet usually leads to a loss of 15-25% of the initial weight in 6 months.

What to Eat

Since a very low-calorie diet is a restricted diet, the type of food you can eat is severely limited. In most cases, these are liquid protein shakes or meal-replacement bars and foods. These shakes and bars can be used for a period ranging from several weeks to several months.

To ensure the body is getting the right nutrition, these diets will sometimes incorporate lean proteins or focus on one food group. Meal replacements shakes from companies like Shake that Weight also come with minerals and vitamins added in for a well-balanced meal. Shake that Weight sells affordable weight loss products that taste great and come in different forms, including bars, cereals, ready meals, shakes and soups. To learn more about these replacement meals, you can find more information here.

Pros and Cons of Very Low-Calorie Diets

One benefit of very low-calorie diets is that they are very effective where other diets and plans have failed to show positive results. These diets have shown to be very effective for people with obesity who have a hard time losing weight in any other way. Very low calorie diets have been recommended by the NHS for obesity for some time now.

Another benefit is that the foods included in low-calorie diets are nutritionally complete. In many cases, weight gain and obesity are caused by eating the wrong foods, and the replacement meals incorporated in many very low-calorie diet plans provide the nutrients you might not be getting from your current diet.

The two main disadvantages of following a very low-calorie diet are side effects and sustainability. If you follow a very low-calorie diet, you might experience side effects that include constipation, fatigue, nausea and diarrhoea. The good news is that these side effects disappear within a few weeks and do not affect most people’s ability to complete the diet plan. If you follow this diet plan and these side effects last for more than a few weeks, you should call your doctor and let them know about it.

A very low-calorie diet is great for rapid, short-term weight loss, especially for obese people who want to transition into healthy living after this rapid weight-loss phase. This diet plan is not meant to be used as a long-term solution and people on the plan should transition to exercise, healthy eating and other healthy living programmes after the initial six months or after they hit their weight loss goals.

Very Low-Calorie Diets Are Not for Everyone

For most people, especially those using these diet plans due to medical issues related to obesity, these diets should be supervised by a physician. This is so that the nutrition levels and side effects can be monitored and taken care of should they appear. However, it is important to find meal replacement plans that clearly outline the nutritional value their ingredients contain, and that can meet your nutritional needs, regardless of whether you are getting supervised or not.

Following the right diet plan can have a profound effect on your health, especially if you are obese. A very low-calorie diet is a great weight-loss option, especially where other weight loss options do not seem to be working.

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