Very Low Calorie Diet VLCD: What Is It All About?
Well, a very low calorie diet or VLCD as the name suggests is one where the total daily calorie content allowed is severely restricted. By definition, the caloric value of this type of diet should be about 800 Calories per day and sometimes even less.
As you can imagine, this daily allowance of calories is dangerously low. As such, very low calorie diet should be carried out under medical supervision as there are risks involved with its use. It is not to be used in children under any circumstances.
When Should You Use This Diet?
The main benefit of this diet is that rapid weight loss is very feasible.
Best used in very obese individuals (BMI greater than 30) who are committed to long term weight loss program.
Its also been found to be effective in achieving good blood sugar control in people with Type 2 diabetes who are seriously overweight.
What Are The Very Low Calorie Diet Foods?
These foods in this category are usually high fat, high protein with little or no carbohydrates.
The best foods to use for this type of dieting are the ones that have been factory formulated specially for this purpose.
The specially formulated foods are presented in the liquid form as soups, shakes or drinks. The manufacturers have taken steps to make these meals nutritionally wholesome despite containing very low amount of calories.
I’m referring to the fact that these liquid foods contain the necessary vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and trace elements necessary to maintain vital body metabolic functions.
Well known diets in this category include:
- The Cambridge diet – available in the UK
- The Cabbage Soup diet
- Lighter life
- Medifast – made popular by the John Hopkins Weight Management Center
What Are The Very Low Calorie Diet Risks and Side effects?
Just as it is possible to lose weight rapidly with this dieting method, so can you encounter some side effects and risks. This is why medical supervision is advised.
People on this diet are more prone to developing gall stones.
If the fibre content of the diet is not adequate, you may become constipated.
Conversely, some individuals have had problems with diarrhoea on this type of diet.
Not surprising too that you may feel really tired for the most part due to insufficient calories.
Is It Possible To Maintain The Weight Loss From This Diet In The Long Term?
You can but practically speaking this method of dieting is not sustainable in the long term. The weight loss will definitely be rapid but you soon get bored of it. Inevitably you may then return to your normal eating pattern.
What happens then is that, you will put the weight back on as quickly as you lost it. This is because your metabolic rate had slowed down during the weight loss process as your body goes into the starvation mode.
The slower metabolic rate makes it difficult for your body to deal with the new load of calories once you revert back to your previous eating pattern.
Slow metabolism equals fat storage.
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