Very Low Calorie Diets (VLCDs) are nutritionally complete formulated liquid meals that provide less than 800kcal per day. Most VLCD’s these days include meal replacement shakes and bars to help aid rapid weight loss. If used correctly they are more than just a fast weight loss diet, whilst following a VLCD your getting in tune with your body and will learn to understand how your body reacts to certain foods, identify your triggers, reasons for overeating, realise your old portion size, you even detox whilst using meal packs and therefore taste buds and need for high carb – sugary foods decrease and with a little self control maintaining your target weight is generally easier than ever before.
How do VLCDs work?
VLCDs provide a strictly limited amount of food energy for your body to use each day. As the amount of energy provided is less than your body needs, you will start to use your stored fat as a source of energy, this is known as Ketosis. The high quality protein provided by the VLCD helps preserve your muscle mass while your stored fat is burned for energy. As your body burns this stored fat, you will start to lose weight.
Ketosis – what is it?
Ketosis occurs when your body uses fat for energy. When people eat less carbohydrate, their bodies turn to fat for energy. When the body is in ketosis the individual tends to feel less hungry, and will probably eat less than he/she might otherwise do. The body switches from being a carbohydrate-burning organism into a fat-burning one. The fat stores become a primary energy source, and the person loses weight. That is why low-carb diets have become popular, and effective, especially among obese people.
Can anyone follow a VLCD diet?
No, not everyone, VLCDs are recommended for individuals who have a lot of weight to lose and who have remained overweight despite making healthy changes to their diet and lifestyle.
The majority of people who want to lose weight do not need to eat a very low calorie diet.
However, it may be right for you if the following apply:
You have already made healthy changes to your diet and level of physical activity.
You are still very overweight (your BMI is 30 or over).
You are no longer losing weight.
VLCDs are not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, and they are not suitable for children.