Risks and Benefits: The Very Low Calorie Diet
When you want to lose weight the go-to answer is to eat less and move more. But for those who have struggled with weight gain and obesity for most of their lives, simply eating less isn’t enough of an answer. Exercise will help tone muscle, but if you are eating the wrong foods then you could just be breaking even every day, even with those daily trips to the gym.
Medical weight loss programs are able to help so many people lose weight and keep it off by introducing them to strategies that actually work. Cutting calories and regular workouts are part of this plan, as they are such a fundamental aspect of any weight loss program, but they don’t tell the whole story. A good medical weight loss program isn’t going to just cut calories and leave you hungry. Instead, a good weight loss program will direct you to food alternatives and will help you shape your daily diet with the right nutrients to ensure that you are staying healthy as you lose weight.
Starting a Very Low Calorie Diet
For the average person who wants to lose just a bit of weight, simply making a few changes to dietary habits and cutting out those extra snacks may do the trick. But for someone who has struggled with obesity long-term, and who may be struggling with obesity related illnesses like increased risk for heart disease or diabetes, then a more intense dietary change may be necessary.
Very low calorie diets, or VLCDs, are often recommended for those who:
- Have tried losing weight through traditional diet and exercise in the past
- Have a BMI over 30
- Are not able to lose weight through other means
Very low calorie diets provide just enough calories to meet your basic nutritional needs, but cut calories so drastically that it supports rapid weight loss. There are a lot of fad diets out there that attempt to use this model by encouraging you to replace all of your food with a cookie or meal bar, but without medical supervision these very low calorie diets can actually be quite dangerous.
As part of a medical weight loss program, the very low calorie diet is used as a temporary tool. The program lasts only a predetermined amount of time, usually several weeks, and throughout the entire program you have regular check-ins with your medical weight loss doctor. Many people are also given the opportunity to use weight loss medications like appetite suppressants during these types of dietary programs, as they help suppress hunger and increase comfort during the weight loss program.
Starting a very low calorie diet is something that should only be done under the guidance of a medical weight loss specialist. For more information about this type of dietary plan, contact Dr. Scinta.