Rapid weight loss is often associated with a negative stigma as people believe it is not sustainable once they return to usual eating patterns. However, there has been extensive research conducted to suggest otherwise.
Very low-calorie diets (VLCD) have been used for years to induce rapid weight loss. These diets usually include a consumption of around 700-800 calories a day and are complete for the recommended daily allowance of essential vitamins and minerals. This type of diet is designed to produce rapid weight loss while preserving lean body mass when completed with a suitable dietary plan which provides sufficient levels of protein. The restriction of carbohydrates allows glycogen (carbohydrate) stores to be depleted, and ketones (the by-product of fat breakdown) to be produced. This process, called ketosis, assists in suppressing your appetite by reducing hunger hormones, which in turn results in rapid weight loss without feeling hungry.
There are a range of short and long-term health benefits of a VLCD. Blood glucose levels are affected by the amount of carbohydrates and total energy we consume. When we consume a high calorie, high carbohydrate diet without sufficient physical activity, our blood sugar levels increase, resulting in the storage of sugar into glycogen initially and then excess may be converted to body fat. Typically a VLCD restricts total carbohydrate intake resulting in reduced blood glucose levels, enabling more efficient fat metabolism.
Pre-diabetes or insulin resistance occurs when our blood sugar levels are too high for too long. This is a widespread problem that, if not properly managed, can lead to Type II diabetes. VLCDs have been proven to help lower insulin resistance thus reducing the risk of diabetes as well as even reversing it in some people.
Most people are able lose weight initially but find it hard to keep the weight off. Therefore to prevent weight regain the VLCD should be combined with an active follow-up program which includes a reduced total number of calories and carbohydrates and which can be sustained long-term along with regular physical activity. Consultation with an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) who understands VLCDs and the benefits of ketosis and low carbohydrate diets may also be useful.
There is a significant amount of published studies now which show that VLCDs are associated with greater short and long-term weight loss success (mostly up to two years) when compared with slow weight loss approaches and conventional low fat diets. For more information on rapid weight loss visit befitfood.com.au or speak to an Accredited Practising Dietitian to find a suitable weight loss program to meet your individual needs at healthandnutrition.com.au