A Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD), is a diet where people eat a very low number of calories each day, typically between 500-800 calories, in order to lose weight. Sometimes these types of calorie restrictive diets are wrongly considered unhealthy and information on their benefits is not readily available.
However, there are many positive aspects of being placed on a VLCD.
Improves Medical Conditions
There are a number of obesity related medical conditions that can cause fatigue and even lead to death. If a person is at high risk for serious medical illness or death, their doctor may place them on a VLCD to get the weight off as quickly as possible. If time is of the essence, a VLCD can reduce the chances of suffering from the following conditions:
- High blood pressure and pulmonary hypertension
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease and stroke
- Certain cancers, including breast and colon cancer
- Sleep apnoea
- Hypoxemia (a gradual decrease in the level of oxygen in your blood)
A difficult aspect of obesity is the emotional toll it takes on people. Everyone tends to place an emphasis on physical appearance, and this includes weight. It can be hard on a person to start a weight loss venture if they have a lot of weight to lose.
- By following a VLCD, a person will lose the weight quicker and will start feeling better about them and more confident even sooner than with a traditional diet.
- A person who is obese can lose 3 to 5 pounds each week, for a total average of 44 pounds in a 3 month period.
- Other diets promote a weight loss of 1 or 2 pounds a week. For a person with a large amount of weight to lose, the rapid weight loss can be a great motivator and they may be more likely to stick to their weight loss efforts seeing the rapid weight loss.
Long Term Weight Loss
People who lose weight by following a VLCD that includes lifestyle changes (exercising, learning about portion control, etc.) typically lose about 15 to 25 percent of their initial weight during the first 3 to 6 months. If they continue to follow a healthy eating plan and exercise regularly, they may maintain a 5-percent weight loss after 4 years.