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Have You Heard Of Very Low Calorie Diet (VLC)?

July 3rd, 2010 · 5 Comments ·


Have you heard of Very Low Calorie Diet (VLC or VLCD)?

VLC diet is a medically supervised diet plan which restricts patient for about 800 calories intake a day. Yes, only 800 calories a day! To eat merely 800 calories is like asking me to eat only 30% of my daily consumption and I can’t imagine how hungry and weak I will be.

Therefore, VLC is not for everyone. Supposedly, it has to be “prescribed” by doctors. It is designed to help obese patients, whose Body Mass Index (BMI) close to 30, to lose weight between 3 and 6 months. A person with the height of 5′ 3″ (1.6 meter ) and weight of 169 pounds (76.8 kilogram) has BMI of 30.

Not all obese people having BMI 30 will be advised to take VLC diet. VLC is prescribed for patients with BMI 30 having obese related health issues such as diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood blood pressure. Therefore, a doctor normally decided on a case-by-case basis whether VLC is appropriate.

VLC products are usually powder which is mixed with water or other low calorie liquid. It can be meal replacement bars too. VLC meals are specially formulated to contain adequate vitamins and nutrients. VLC diet plan typically lasts at least 3 months and some patients lose about 3 to 4 pounds (less than 2 kilogram) a week. So, losing a total of 40 pounds for the entire 3-month is possible.

As good as VLC seems to be, it does have side effects.

  • Many patients who have followed VLC have experienced fatigue, constipation or even diarrhea.
  • During that period, not only the body breaks down fat, it make break down muscles which can eventually slow down the metabolism. It may happen because your body conserve energy when it thinks it is starving. If that happens, your fat loss process will slow down.
  • A more serious side effect will be gallstones. Gallstones often develop in obese women who had rapid weight loss.

I understand that some companies are selling similar VLC diet plan which also restrict of about 800 calories a day. Please bear in mind that patients taking VLC are under medical supervision whereas those you are on your own if you buy those diet plans outside. Because of its extremely low calories per day, VLC diet cannot be used by children no matter how obese he is. A more “normal” weight loss diet plan consists of 1500 to 1800 calories a day.


Based on what I have found from the discussion in the Internet, most patients who took VLC diet have regained their weight after some time. The problem with VLC is that patients are not educated about normal eating habits. Once VLC diet plan is over, they go back to the normal way of overeating or eating junk food. Needless to say, they are back to square one. In other words, VLC diet is not sustainable yet the number one principle of weight loss is sustainability. Therefore, a more complete weight loss plan should incorporate regular exercise and a proper diet. The faster you lose weight, the higher the risk of you suffering from other side effects and the sooner you will regain the weight.



Category: Weight Loss

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5 responses so far ↓
  • jarkody // Jul 4, 2010 at 10:32 PM

    Wow I would starve to death on this diet lol! Even for obese people this is not enough calories I think.

  • Ines Garcia // Jul 8, 2010 at 12:37 PM

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  • Callie Durbrow // Jul 9, 2010 at 10:18 PM

    I’ve never heard of this diet, sound incredibly intense and should only be medically supervised.

  • Carrie // Jul 15, 2010 at 3:38 AM

    Thanks for sharing this info… been terribly wanting to shred these bulges in my belly. I’ll take your advice and hope it’ll work for me.

  • chocolate // Apr 21, 2011 at 9:25 AM

    i have been doing the vlcd for about 2weeks . and i can say it really works
    i started at 210 lbs and have already lost 10 lbs. i have read all the risk and
    the side effects. some say yea and some say nea i say if the doctors presribe it then it cant be all that bad.

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