If you have decided to go on a weight loss journey, no doubt you are deciding the best place to start. Most people know that the best way for maintainable weight loss is with long-term lifestyle changes. Still, if you’re looking to lose weight quickly, a very low calorie diet (VLCD) could be a good way to kick start your weight loss.
What Is a Very Low Calorie Diet?
A very low calorie diet is an eating plan which restricts caloric intake to less than 800 calories per day. A number of the more fashionable diets actually only allow 500 calories per day.
Many people believe that a very low calorie diet is the best way to lose weight. But there are some things to consider before starting a VLCD eating plan.
Firstly, a very low calorie diet is not a realistic long term option. Restricting calories to as low as 500 per day can result in missing key nutrients from your diet. Although they can be very successful, they should only be followed for around 12 weeks, no more.
Often, many very low calorie diets that are followed full-time will rely heavily on liquid meals. They are also usually low carb diets, as carbohydrates are dense in calories. Therefore, full-time maintenance should only be done under the supervision of a doctor.
With that said, there are many intermittent fasting diets which are continuing to increase in popularity. These diets offer so many days of fasting with a maximum allowance of 500 calories, followed by days following a normal diet. As these very low calorie diets offer only short bursts of fasting, you should be able to maintain proper nutrition while following them.
What Are the Benefits of a Very Low Calorie Diet?
The obvious benefit most people find is rapid weight loss. Another major benefit can be the positive effects a very low calorie diet can have on your overall health. For those with type 2 diabetes, following the blood sugar diet can treat, or even reverse, symptoms.
What Are the Downfalls of a Very Low Calorie Diet?
Firstly, a very low calorie diet is only meant to be followed by someone who is obese. A person within a normal weight range who is looking to just lose a few pounds should try a different low calorie option.
Also, a VLCD can be difficult to stick to. Not only do most people find limiting themselves to so little calories a challenge in itself, they often suffer minor side effects, like headaches and nausea. These factors can cause people to lose motivation quickly.
There are some studies that suggest there’s a link between very low calorie diets and gallstones when followed long term. This is another reason that a VLCD should be classed as a short term option and monitored by a medical professional.
Which Very Low Calorie Diets Are the Best?
For people who are obese with high blood sugar, or already suffering from the effects of type 2 diabetes, the blood sugar diet could be an excellent option. This diet follows an eight-week plan which aims to lower blood sugar as well as reduce weight rapidly.
The Mediterranean style 5:2 diet is great for people who are just looking to lose a few pounds quickly. Whether to kick start a long-term weight loss plan for a special event, this very low calorie diet may work really well for you.
The Mediterranean diet promotes overall health and well-being by eating like those in the bordering countries of the Mediterranean sea. With lots of fresh fish and healthy fats, the Mediterranean diet has been shown to have positive effects on both physical and mental health.
Following a 5:2 intermittent fasting scheme is easier to maintain. This comprises five non-fasting days and two days with a maximum of 500 calories each day.
So, if you are thinking of losing weight quickly in order to make a positive lifestyle change, a very low calorie diet could be a good place to start. But be sure to consult your doctor before starting anything new, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.