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A Thought About Very Low Calorie Diets…

A few weeks ago, I have been interviewed on Very Low Calorie Diets and I thought I would share snippets of that interview. I have come across a few people who have embarked on such diets with limited knowledge of their seriousness, hence I’m shedding some light on all the bits n pieces you should know…

Yay or Nay? Most dietitians will discourage the use of VLCDs as there is no reason to recommend them over more moderate calorie restriction except in very extreme cases & only under medical supervision. A common VLCD program used under medical supervision is Optifast. It is prescribed for people who are morbidly obese, especially prior to having surgery to reduce operating times, recovery times and reduce some risks associated with surgery. It is used for medical reasons. The use of such diets should include a team of doctors, dietitians, nurses and psychologists. Other  extreme dieting programs include “fasting” diets which provide no more than 200cal/day with the promise of cleansing and purifying your body from toxins. Such extreme diets are dangerous as they can cause serious neurological, hormonal and physiological imbalances and side effects – dehydration,  muscle breakdown, hyoptension, gall stones and so on.

What are the pros & cons of such diets?  In my opinion, there are no “pros” to using VLCDs as a large number of people struggle to maintain their weight loss when food is reintroduced. Individuals requiring rapid weight loss for procedures/surgeries may be placed on a VLCD for a short period of time however, as mentioned previously, medical supervision is vital. The cons of such diets include all the possible adverse side effects – fatigue, high risk of gall stones and gout, nervousness, constipation, light-headedness, dry skin, anaemia and irregular periods for women. Also, rapid weight loss is not maintained when foods are reintroduced.

Is there tight regulation of weight loss centres? Depends where you are, authorities are involved with controlling centres who practice unorthodox methods ways of weight loss and so on. In regards to where I am right now, I feel like  better control and regulation is still needed, especially with products that are purchased over the counter and other unorthodox ways of allergy testing and weight loss programs.

If  you do come across such restricted diets, ask your GP or a dietitian on whether it is suitable for you to try out. It is important that your team involves all the right health professionals to monitor your case and prevent any adverse side effects from happening. Remember, losing weight should help promote your health and not put it at risk….

1 Comment
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