What Is a Very Low-Calorie Weight loss program? – Health Fitness, Diets, Weight Loss

What Is a Very Low-Calorie Weight loss program?

At Verywell, we consider there isn’t any one-size-fits-all strategy to a wholesome life-style. Profitable consuming plans have to be individualized and take the entire individual into consideration. Previous to beginning a brand new weight loss program plan, seek the advice of along with your healthcare supplier or a registered dietitian, particularly in case you have an underlying well being situation.

A really low-calorie weight loss program (VLCD) is a speedy weight-loss program by which energy are severely restricted. It was developed within the Nineteen Seventies for sufferers whose physique mass index (BMI) is 30 or larger—individuals who have to reduce weight shortly due to the well being penalties of their weight problems.

These diets are sometimes used to assist overweight sufferers obtain important, short-term weight reduction as a part of a complete weight-loss program. As a result of meals consumption is so restricted and energy are restricted to about 800 a day, very low-calorie diets ought to solely be adopted in sure circumstances and have to be supervised by a physician.

For instance, VLC diets usually are not usually used for sufferers with a BMI between 27 and 30 except they’ve medical circumstances associated to their weight, similar to diabetes or hypertension. Very low-calorie diets usually are not often prescribed for kids or teenagers.

They’re additionally not often thought of applicable for older folks on account of potential uncomfortable side effects, pre-existing medical circumstances, and/or treatment wants. Your doctor will determine whether or not a really low-calorie weight loss program is suitable for you.

What Specialists Say

“A really low-calorie weight loss program is a medically supervised plan eliciting speedy weight reduction in these with a excessive BMI. As a result of sufferers eat 800 energy or much less per day, it ought to solely be accomplished underneath a physician’s supervision and paired with specialty meals to forestall nutrient deficiencies.”
—Chrissy Carroll, RD, MPH

What Can You Eat?

Normally, folks following a VCLD devour liquid protein shakes or meal-replacement bars instead of meals for a delegated time period, starting from a number of weeks to a number of months. Nevertheless, some very low-calorie weight loss program plans embrace lean proteins, similar to fish and hen, or restrict consumption to at least one kind of meals (a sort of mono-diet).

What You Have to Know

Very low-calorie diets are designed to provide speedy weight reduction, about 3 to five kilos per week, in the beginning of a weight-loss program. The common weight reduction for a 12-week VLCD is about 44 kilos. This quantity of weight reduction can considerably enhance obesity-related medical circumstances, similar to diabetes, hypertension, and excessive ldl cholesterol.

Inside three to 6 months, a affected person could possibly lose about 15% to 25% of their preliminary weight if they begin with a really low-calorie weight loss program and transition to a wholesome life-style, a calorie-controlled consuming plan, and an train program.

Analysis has proven the long-term outcomes of VLC diets differ considerably. Weight regain is widespread. Combining a VLC weight loss program with habits remedy, train, and follow-up remedy might forestall this. VLCD members sometimes keep a 5% weight reduction after two years in the event that they undertake a wholesome consuming and train plan.

What to Eat

  • Physician-prescribed meal replacements (bars, shakes, particular meals)

What To not Eat

  • Meals aside from these prescribed

Your doctor-prescribed VLCD might include strategies for when throughout the day to devour your meal replacements and when to devour any meals you is perhaps consuming outdoors of the substitute objects (if any; usually, you don’t devour something aside from the prescribed meals).

The bars and shakes utilized in a VLCD usually are not the identical as weight loss program merchandise on the grocery retailer. Quite, meal replacements are specifically formulated to include enough nutritional vitamins and vitamins, so sufferers’ dietary necessities are met.

Execs and Cons


  • Might succeed (short-term) the place different weight loss program plans have failed

  • Nutritionally balanced


  • Might have uncomfortable side effects

  • Have to be medically supervised

  • Not a long-term resolution



Medical doctors usually prescribe very low-calorie diets when different consuming plans and weight-loss makes an attempt have failed. Research present that these diets usually work properly, at the least within the brief time period. However they have to be adopted fastidiously and have a habits element that teaches sufferers how one can change their consuming habits for the long run.

Common Vitamin

As a result of the meal replacements in very low-calorie diets are specifically ready for this objective, they assist sufferers get the important vitamins they don’t seem to be in any other case getting from meals. That is why medical supervision is crucial to the protection of a VLCD.


Aspect Results

Many sufferers who observe a really low-calorie weight loss program for 4 to 16 weeks expertise uncomfortable side effects similar to fatigue, constipation, nausea, or diarrhea. These signs often enhance inside a number of weeks and infrequently forestall sufferers from finishing this system. The most typical critical aspect impact of a really low-calorie weight loss program is gallstones.

Medical Supervision

To soundly observe a really low-calorie weight loss program, you should have a prescription and be monitored by a doctor, which would require money and time. Usually, medical insurance doesn’t cowl the price of the meal replacements (after all, you’ll not be shopping for any groceries or restaurant meals throughout the VLCD).


A really low-calorie weight loss program is a short-term resolution for weight reduction. It’s meant to be adopted for a restricted time. After that, sufferers might want to transition to a upkeep plan that features wholesome consuming, train, and different life-style modifications.

Is a Very Low-Calorie Weight loss program Proper For You?

Very low-calorie diets are distinctive in that they’re medically supervised, and so they eradicate all meals apart from specifically formulated meal replacements. Another diets take features of the VLCD and modify it for extra normal use.

The USDA recommends a weight loss program of about 2000 energy (this could differ based mostly on age, intercourse, weight, and exercise degree) for weight upkeep and lowering your energy relying on particular person well being and life-style elements for weight reduction. The VLCD reduces this severely, right down to 800 energy or much less, which is why it have to be overseen by a physician.

Well being Advantages

A VLCD could be a good selection for particular folks and conditions. It’s virtually all the time prescribed for medical causes, to assist handle weight problems and circumstances associated to it.

Improved Physique Composition

A larger fee of weight reduction in a shorter interval may end up in higher bodily enhancements, together with fats loss, waist circumference, the relative quantity of lean mass in comparison with physique fats, dietary standing, and strolling stride.

Diminished Aspect Results of Some Situations

Following a VLCD can enhance signs in sufferers with diabetes, psoriasis, osteoarthritis, and obstructive sleep apnea. Weight problems might trigger signs and uncomfortable side effects with these circumstances, so weight reduction helps alleviate them.

Preparation for Surgical procedure

In some circumstances, preliminary weight reduction is necessary previous to bariatric surgical procedure. A VLCD can assist folks with weight problems reduce weight to arrange for surgical procedure.

Well being Dangers

Due to the extreme calorie restriction in a VLCD, there are some well being dangers. Well being care practitioners will weigh these towards the potential advantages of the weight loss program.

Low Calcium

The character of VLCD signifies that it may be tougher to acquire sufficient vitamins. One detrimental results of VLCD is the potential for bone density loss on account of low calcium ranges.

Opposed Aspect Results

VLCD may cause momentary uncomfortable side effects similar to complications, weak point, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, constipation, dehydration, low blood sugar, unhealthy breath, diarrhea, and dizziness. Hair loss is a possible long-term aspect impact of VLCD.


Gallstones usually develop in people who find themselves overweight, particularly in girls. They’re much more widespread throughout speedy weight reduction. Your healthcare supplier could possibly prescribe treatment to forestall gallstone formation throughout speedy weight reduction.

A Phrase From Verywell

Many individuals who go on very low-calorie diets rebound and binge eat once they get too hungry. It’s potential to regain any weight you lose and even placed on further weight because of this. For these causes, it is usually not a good suggestion to observe diets or weight-loss applications that present 900 energy a day or much less. You may see many plans marketed in magazines and on-line, some with wholesome claims hooked up to them. However with out correct vitamin, you might be more likely to get drained and develop or exacerbate well being issues.

A health care provider-supervised very low-calorie weight loss program can provide that vitamin, at the least, though it’s more likely to be robust to stay with. Nonetheless, in sure circumstances, a physician might advocate a VLCD as one of the simplest ways to reduce weight within the brief time period. It’s going to have to be adopted up with behavioral modifications and a wholesome life-style.

Bear in mind, this or any weight loss program is probably not crucial for you and lots of diets on the market merely don’t work, particularly long-term. Whereas we don’t endorse fad weight loss program developments or unsustainable weight reduction strategies, we current the info so you can also make an knowledgeable resolution that works finest in your dietary wants, genetic blueprint, finances, and targets.

In case your aim is weight reduction, do not forget that shedding weight isn’t essentially the identical as being your healthiest self, and there are lots of different methods to pursue well being. Train, sleep, and different life-style elements additionally play a significant position in your total well being. The most effective weight loss program is all the time the one that’s balanced and matches your life-style.

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