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What Are Very Low Calorie Diets?

Our residential nutrition expert, Georgia, is always giving her advice and guidance on certain topics over on our Facebook Page. She’s regularly giving the low down on particular diets and their effects on the body & fitness, and we’re keeping all the writings here on our website for you to refer to when necessary!

Check out what she has to say below…

Here’s the scoop on VLCD (very low calorie diets).

Anything under 1,200 calories is something I would class as a VLCD as that is what the average toddler requires per day. Such a low calorie diet should not be followed unless you are obese/morbidly obese, preparing for bariatric surgery for example and should only be followed for a short period of time.

Your body needs a certain amount of energy (calories) and nutrients for the daily function of our metabolic processes such as digestion, respiration and blood circulation. By undereating, you can actually stunt your weight loss and put your body at risk in several ways:

  • It is very hard to meet nutrition requirements on a VLCD, making sure we consume enough fibre, calcium, protein, fats and carbs for example is vital for fitness goals and long term health status.
  • Under-eating can cause the metabolism to slow, meaning that your natural daily calorie burn will decrease. The body will start to take energy (glucose) stored in the muscles to function, these can make you feel lethargic and cold and impact digestion (such as constipation).
  • Other side effect from such a low calories diet such as hunger pains, tiredness, headaches and dizziness can impact our daily lives and for a potential short term weight loss which you are more than likely to put straight back on, is it worth it? Absolutely NOT – focus on the long term and cut your calories down slightly (250-500 at the max).

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