When faced with the prospect of a very low or low calorie diet some people are skeptical because of horror stories and warnings that exist over drastically cutting food intake to lose weight.
Most overweight people have at one time or another tried what is commonly called a crash diet so they are well aware of many of the issues involved. During a crash diet a person will restrict intake to an extremely low level, in some cases as low as 500 calories a day.
Crash diets are usually too severe for people to stay on for long. This is just as well as crash diets have been implicated in deaths related to lethal heart arrhythmias. For the average person it is not possible to get enough vital nutrients each day to maintain health when food intake is cut so drastically.
Very low calorie diets (VLCD) under medical supervision are not crash diets. While they share the practice of reducing intake to around 800 calories a day, those calories are provided by a medical weight loss food source that is fortified with the nutrients that your body requires each day. These products focus on high protein content to reduce hunger and make the restricted intake easier to maintain.
On a very low calorie diet, weight reduction can be 2 to 5 pounds per week depending on the starting weight and the person’s gender. Men, for example, tend to lose weight at a faster rate than women when both are on a very low calorie diet.
Low Calorie Diets without Medical Supervision
Given the success of a VLCD some people assume that replacing food with a protein shake may be the right method for weight loss. It is important to remember that the majority of protein shakes are designed to help people put weight on. They are meant to supplement normal food intake for people working out to build muscle bulk. These products are usually protein as well as sugar and fat to provide energy for workouts. Even those claiming to be complete nutrition sources are rarely appropriate for complete meal replacement. The result is nutritional deficiencies that may be hard to detect without blood testing but can quickly turn dangerous.
Those who have tried crash diets have also observed that the weight lost is usually found again quite quickly after the diet is stopped. This is because your body knows it is not getting enough nutrition and as soon as it receives a normal diet it quickly deposits the weight back again in case your plan is to diet again. Your body is trying to help you by being super-efficient at converting your food to stored energy – in other words, fat.
Because of this tendency to bounce back, medical weight loss plans are combined with education programs to teach you how to regulate normal food and maintain the weight that has been lost. In many ways, this is the real weight loss plan and certainly the one with the longest results. Learning to change behaviors that make you gain weight is part of a life-long plan of weight control while VLCD is just a part of the overall plan to get you to a healthy weight.
When next you consider the prospect of a crash diet, remember your previous experience of discomfort and rapid weight regain. Consider making this attempt at weight loss the last one by getting help from people that understand what you are going through and how to help you. Try medical weight loss.