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Very Low Energy Diets (VLEDs) and Weight Loss
Effect of Very-Low-Calorie Diets on Weight Reduction
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Very Low Energy Diets (VLEDs) & Weight Loss

Very low energy diets (VLEDs) are defined as diets which contain energy levels of less than 3.4 MJ (800 kcal) per day and contain daily allowances of all essential nutritional requirements. These diets have been in clinical use for more than 20 years. They are used as the only source of nutrition for 8-16 weeks, which usually achieves a weight loss of 1.5-2.5 kg per week. Before using this type of diet a medical investigation is necessary to evaluate contraindications and to check medication use during the diet. To facilitate maintenance, cognitive behavioural counselling should always be included in a weight reduction program using a very low energy diet. VLEDs have no serious harmful effects and can safely be used in patients with various chronic diseases. Programs using VLEDs produce better short-term weight loss than programs without the diet. However, in randomized controlled trials VLED-based programs have not achieved significantly better long-term maintenance than conventional programs. VLEDs are used when rapid weight loss is necessary because of an obesity-related disease. In other patients with obesity it is an alternative to other conservative approaches for treatment of obesity. In type 2 diabetes it may improve long-term glucose metabolism better than conventional weight reducing diets. Some studies suggest that after a VLED-based program long-term maintenance is better among men than women. This possible gender difference is an important topic for further research.

Source: Mustajoki P, Pekkarinen T. Peijas Hospital, Department of Medicine, Sairaalakatu 1, 01400 Vantaa, Finland. 2002

Weight Loss Methods
The science of weight loss and obesity management is constantly evolving, along with research into weight loss drugs, supplements and gastric bypass surgery. At present, however, a balanced diet combined with regular exercise remains the favored weight management strategy of most weight loss experts.

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