Weight Loss Tips: Downsides Of Following A Very-Low-Calorie Diet

VLCDs can impair the body’s ability to absorb nutrients properly, leading to deficiencies

A Very-Low-Calorie Diet (VLCD) is a type of diet that severely restricts calorie intake, typically to around 800 calories per day or less. These diets are often used for rapid weight loss in obese individuals or as a short-term intervention under medical supervision.

While VLCDs can lead to significant weight loss in a relatively short amount of time, they are not without risks, and their use should be carefully monitored. Following a Very-Low-Calorie Diet (VLCD) can have significant downsides and negative impacts on health. Keep reading as we share why VLCD can be bad for your health.

Here are 10 potential drawbacks of following a very-low-calorie diet:

1. Nutritional deficiencies

VLCDs often lack essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and protein, which are crucial for overall health and well-being. Prolonged deficiency can lead to various health issues.

2. Muscle loss

Rapid weight loss from VLCDs can result in loss of muscle mass along with fat, which can decrease metabolic rate and make it harder to maintain weight loss in the long term.

3. Slowed metabolism

Severely restricting calories can cause metabolic adaptation, where the body adjusts to lower calorie intake by slowing down metabolism to conserve energy, making weight loss more difficult.

4. Fatigue and weakness

VLCDs can lead to low energy levels, fatigue, weakness, and dizziness due to inadequate calorie intake, which can impair daily functioning and quality of life.

5. Gallstones

Rapid weight loss, particularly from VLCDs, increases the risk of developing gallstones, which are painful and may require medical intervention.

6. Hormonal imbalances

Severely restricting calories can disrupt hormonal balance, including thyroid hormones, insulin, and cortisol, which can negatively affect metabolism, energy levels, and overall health.

7. Nutrient absorption issues

VLCDs can impair the body’s ability to absorb nutrients properly, leading to deficiencies even if adequate nutrients are consumed, further exacerbating health problems.

8. Bone density loss

Inadequate calorie intake, especially from protein, can lead to loss of bone density and increase the risk of osteoporosis and fractures over time.

9. Negative psychological effects

VLCDs can contribute to mood swings, irritability, depression, and anxiety due to low energy levels, hunger, and restricted food choices, impacting mental well-being.

10. Risk of binge eating and weight regain

Extreme calorie restriction can trigger intense cravings and lead to binge eating episodes, followed by feelings of guilt and shame. Additionally, once the diet ends, weight regain is common due to metabolic changes and unsustainable eating patterns.

Instead of following a VLCD, it’s important to adopt a more balanced and sustainable approach to weight loss and overall health:

  • Emphasise whole, minimally processed foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats to ensure you’re getting essential nutrients while controlling calories.
  • Instead of severely restricting calories, aim for a moderate calorie deficit to promote gradual, sustainable weight loss without compromising health or metabolism.
  • Incorporate regular exercise into your routine to support weight loss, improve metabolic health, preserve muscle mass, and enhance overall well-being.
  • Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues, practice portion control, and savour each bite to prevent overeating and promote a healthier relationship with food.
  • Consult with a registered dietitian or healthcare provider to develop a personalised nutrition plan that meets your individual needs, goals, and health status.
  • Instead of quick fixes, prioritise long-term lifestyle changes that promote overall health and well-being, including balanced eating, regular physical activity, stress management, and adequate sleep.

By adopting a balanced and sustainable approach to weight loss and health, you can achieve your goals without compromising your well-being or risking negative health outcomes associated with extreme dieting.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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