Very Low Calorie Diet
Use of Very Low Calorie Diets for Weight Management
(The following information has been taken from the “Position Statement” of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians)
The Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) is defined as 400 to 800 Cal/day diets. Meal Replacement Very Low Calorie Diets use meal replacement products that contain all of the macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals needed for proper nutrition. The VLCD works better on people who have a substantial amount of weight to lose, and is less effective for people who have just a few pounds to lose. Here at Sopris Medical Practice, we use 800 Cal/day for the VLCD program.
This type of diet can work well:
- for people who have been unsuccessful on other diets
- for people with 30 pounds or more to lose
- to help people lose weight in preparation for surgery
- for people who do not want to make food choices
- as a deterrent for those who use food as psychological support
A person will generally lose 3 to 5 pounds per week on a Meal Replacement VLCD. These average losses are 2-3 times greater than those resulting from conventional calorie-reducing diets used for the same time period. These improved results are attributed to the balanced nutrition and controlled-calorie servings that Meal Replacement VLCD diets offer, and also due to the facilitation for better dietary adherence.
The pre-diet exam should include:
- Weight history
- Physical exam
- Body composition
- Lab tests for Hemoglobin, Thyroid, Blood sugar, Electrolytes, and Liver functions
- Nutritional evaluation
- Behavioral evaluation
- Screen for eating disorders
Patients put on a VLCD should have a complete work up by a physician specifically trained in the clinical use of VLCDs. Patients on a VLCD should be closely monitored by a physician during the course of the diet.