A very low calorie diet is a medically supervised eating regimen that entails consuming less than 800 calories per day. Obese and very obese patients who are controlling diabetes, undergoing surgery, or preparing for reproductive therapy may benefit from them.
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Low-calorie smoothies, soups, bars, or milk porridge are commonly substituted for regular food in this diet.
Adults who are obese or seriously obese, defined as having a BMI of 30 to 40, who need to reduce weight quickly should follow a very low calorie diet. They are not the first line of defence against obesity and should not be used on a regular basis.
Very low calorie diets should only be continued for a maximum of 12 weeks under medical supervision. If your doctor has recommended it, don’t go on a very low-calorie diet.
Very low calorie diets are hard to follow
Because they supply significantly fewer calories than are required to maintain a healthy weight, very low calorie diets are less likely to be nutritionally adequate. Men should consume 2,500 calories per day and women should consume 2,000 calories per day.
It is not an easy diet to follow. Side effects can include:
- feeling hungry
- feeling low on energy
- a dry mouth
- constipation or diarrhoea
- hair thinning
While very low calorie diets can provide weight loss in the short term, the weight will most likely return after the diet is over.
Very low-calorie diets are not a long-term weight-loss approach and should only be used as part of a larger weight-loss strategy.
Very low calorie diets are not suitable for most people
If you think a very low-calorie diet would help you, consult your doctor.
Diets that are extremely low in calories are not recommended if you are:
If you’re under the age of 18 and nursing, you’ve probably experienced an eating disorder.
Learn how to eat a well-balanced diet.
If your doctor feels an extremely low-calorie diet will help you, make sure:
The diet is well-balanced in terms of nutrients.
The diet is followed for a maximum of 12 weeks (consistently or irregularly), after which you will receive continued care.
Diets that are very low in calories are the most restrictive, significantly lowering calorie intake, thus medical monitoring is essential.