Very low-calorie diets are often used for obese patients.
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You can lose 3 to 5 pounds following a very low-calorie diet, or VLCD, for one week, according to Weight-control Information Network. Very low-calorie diets are often used for rapid weight loss in obese individuals at high risk for obesity-related health problems. However, since VLCDs only contain up to 800 calories daily, don't attempt one without supervision from your doctor.
VLCDs are specifically designed by your doctor or dietitian to meet your individualized nutrition needs. Very low-calorie diets often contain meal replacements, which usually consist of nutrient-dense medical nutrition shakes or bars. The meal replacements used in VLCDs are rich in protein, vitamins and minerals.
Very low-calorie diets are beneficial because they lead to rapid weight loss and reduce chronic disease risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that losing just 5 percent of your body weight can improve blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels. For example, a 200-pound overweight individual should see improvements after losing just 10 pounds. Weight-control Information Network reports most very low-calorie diets are used for about 12 weeks, but following a VLCD for just one week can help you lose up to 5 pounds.
Rapid weight loss poses some health risks, such as nutrient deficiencies, especially when used long term. Common side effects that occur when following a very low-calorie diet for one week include nausea, constipation, diarrhea and fatigue. Gallstone formation is also a concern during rapid weight loss, especially for women, reports Weight-control Information Network.
Low-calorie diets, or LCDs, are just as effective as very low-calorie diets long term and are generally less expensive, according to a review published in a 2006 edition of the journal вЂњObesity.вЂќ Weight-control Information Network confirms these study findings, and notes LCDs are often easier to adhere to than VLCDs. Low-calorie diets often contain 1,000 to 1,600 calories daily.