Evaluation of the effectiveness of VLCD diets

Effectiveness of VLCDs


To prove the effectiveness of VLCD diets, a study among women aged 20-52 was carried out

All the women were diagnosed with simple obesity upon calculated BMI index. In the studied group, BMI was of 30-40kg/m2. At the same time, the risk of secondary obesity in the patients was excluded. Having calculated waist to hip ratio (WHR), 14 patients were categorised as abdominal obesity type whereas 6 as gluteo-femoral type. It needs to be added that all the women that participated in the study used unsuccessfully many weight loss diets before. During the therapy, they did not take any medicine. Control group was made of 37 women suffering from simple obesity that followed 1000 kcal diet.

Over the first 3 weeks of the diet, the patients ate 3 to 4 portions of VLCD products daily. The products provided the daily need of minerals and the energy value of three meals amounted to 414 kcal. Physical activity was the same as before the therapy.

From the 4th week, all the patients were given 3 VLCD products and one conventional meal that did not exceed 400 kcal daily.

In week 5 and 6, the energy value of meals increased to 600 kcal. Additionally, the patients drank at least 2 litres of calorie free drinks throughout the day.

Adherence to the diet was controlled upon the reports on daily food consumption. The patients also noted down the occurred side effects, mostly constipations.

During check-ups, body weight, waist and hips circumference were observed. Each three weeks total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, insulin, fibrinogen, thyroid hormones were marked in blood serum. In addition, level of glucose, uric acid, sodium, potassium and magnesium was checked.

Effectiveness of VLCDs

The results prove that VLCD diet is very effective. Being 6 weeks on VLCD diet, the patients lost on average 10.1 kg. To compare, patients from control group lost approximately 5.5 kg.

The greatest loss of weight was noticed in the first week of VLCD diet.

Once conventional meals were added to the diet, the loss of weight slightly slowed down.

What is important, the results of biochemical tests improved significantly. The level of total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and glucose was lower. The level of HDL cholesterol increased whereas the level of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium remained the same.

In case of the patients from the control group, total cholesterol and the level of insulin decreased. The level of triglycerides and glucose was not reduced.

12 patients being on VLCD diet suffered from constipation but herbal laxatives helped. In one patient, dyspeptic symptoms developed and other reported muscle spasms that receded after applying potassium and magnesium salt.

An additional advantage of VLCD diet is that patients do not feel hungry, which is a problem of 1000 kcal diets, especially at the early stage.

Lower waist to hip ratio is also very important since reduces the risk of atherosclerosis and diabetes. There is a positive correlation between these illnesses and the excessive amount of fat in abdominal part.

Nonetheless, VLCD diet needs to be modified with due diligence. Adding many carbohydrates suddenly may result in swollen legs. It is caused by insulin secretion affecting water-electrolyte balance.

Conclusion: VLCD diet appeared to be much more effective than a traditional low calorie diet. VLCD diet helps women suffering from morbid obesity, which used without success other diets, reduce body weight and improve the result of biochemical tests.

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