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Low calorie diet: dangerous for weight loss?


Very low calorie diets are not the most effective way to approach fat loss for a variety of reasons. First they are dangerous and second, they are very difficult to sustain for long periods of time so you wind up on the same weight loss roller coaster you were hoping to avoid this time around.
Although very low calorie diets (VLCDs) come in all shapes and sizes, there is one thing that unites them; the ultra low calorie count associated with these types of diets.
Despite the fact that very low calorie diets can be quite dangerous, and while it is not recommended at all, there are some instances in which a physician may recommend a closely monitored low calorie diet. This means that, only under the care of a physician, should you even consider this type of diet as it is intended for those who:

  • Severely obese (BMI 30 or higher)

  • Have made lifestyle changes yet still are severely obese

  • Your weight loss has stagnated

If all 3 of these conditions apply to you then consult your physician, but do not just decide to undergo this type of diet without supervision.
When under the care of a doctor, very low calorie diets are not inherently dangerous. However when you undertake one on your own there can be side effects, depending on how long you decide to stay on this type of diet. Those on these types of diets for just a few months report minor side effects that could be more accurately described as discomfort, such as diarrhoea, nausea, constipation and fatigue. More serious side effects of a very low calorie diet can include the formation of gallstones due to fast weight loss, particularly in the obese because it interferes with the gall bladder’s ability to contract bile. This is one of the most serious side effects but there are others associated with long term participation in a VLCD.
Successful fat loss requires a healthy, nutritious diet and regular physical activity; at least it does if you don't want all that fat coming back within a few months of going back to your old eating habits. To lose weight and keep it off you want to get into the habit of eating smaller portions, eating healthier foods and being more physically active, none of which you learn how to do on a very low calorie diet. These diets rob you of your energy to work out and make smart food choices, while also teaching you nothing about healthy eating for fat loss.

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