The Trouble with Very Low Calorie Weight Loss Programs
If you’ve thought about weight loss, chances are good that you have come across diets that seem fantastic. In exchange for a several weeks of a very low calorie diet and expensive supplements, they promise:
- “Quick and easy weight loss.”
- “More energy.”
- “Better health.”
- (and my personal pet peeve ) “detoxifying.”
Doesn’t this sound great? If you are thinking that these results are too good to be true, then you are correct! The truth is, dieting does not work. A vast number of people, especially women, will go on multiple diets in their lifetime, sometimes multiple times a year.
Think about this.
If diets worked, people wouldn’t have to repeat them.
Starvation Protocol And Weight Loss
Very low calorie programs typically restrict clients to 500 calories a day. This can hardly be considered a diet- rather it is a starvation protocol.
Less than 500 calories a day does not provide enough energy or nutrients to sustain your cardiovascular system, brain health, and internal organs.
What’s more, participants are likely to regain all of their weight, plus more, following a very low calorie diet. This is because prolonged periods of hunger trigger the body to suppress its metabolism and decrease its need for calories, even after normal eating is resumed. Additionally, the rapid loss of body fat will trigger changes that increase the hormones that make you feel hungry, and decrease hormones that make you feel full.
As for the advertised one-half to one pound weight loss per day? It’s a basic biological fact that most human bodies cannot burn one pound of fat a day. If you see those numbers on the scale, that weight loss is due to water loss, and then a combination of lean muscle, fat, and even reduction in bone density.
The body’s tendency to attack lean muscle and affect bone density on a very low calorie diet is one of the reasons why reputable weight loss programs advise their clients to consume never less than 1000 calories per day while participating in regular exercise that includes weight training.
Many programs will make big claims about dietary supplements, telling clients that these pills will result in fat loss rather than muscle, particularly in the stomach, hips, and thighs, with little hunger and no weight regain.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a magic pill for weight loss?
Unfortunately, scientific evidence does not support over-the-counter diet supplements performing any of these promised functions.
Simply put, there is no drug or supplement on the market today that can target the fat in specific parts of your body.
Anyone who tries to sell you on this is dispensing baloney and taking your money.
What’s The Alternative?
The simple truth is that a good “diet” is a lifestyle change that supports the health of your body while you lose weight and is sustainable.
You should feel great on your new eating plan, with increased energy and well-being from consuming nourishing, nutrient-dense foods and moving more. You won’t need to take a long list of supplements, because you’ll get what you need from real food.
As for “detoxing?” Support your kidneys and liver with a nutritious diet and plenty of water and let them do the work for you.
Expect a healthy, sustainable weight loss to be at a rate of about 1-2 lbs. per week. Weight doesn’t pile on overnight, and it doesn’t come off overnight, either. A steady, reasonable rate of weight loss will increase your chances of keeping it off forever.
Take a look at how one of my patients Daphnee recently lost 25 pounds and now enjoys a feeling healthier and has high level of energy.
If you’re worried about eating healthy and following a well-balanced, healthy weight program, I can help get you on the right track.