Low Calorie Diets: Are They Safe for Weight Loss?

Is a low calorie diet an effective weight loss method or a dangerous dieting plan?

Low calorie diets have long been a favorite among the Hollywood elite. Recall, for example, the Grapefruit Diet craze. There’s no doubt that they can be very successful – but are they safe? Let’s take a look.

What is a Low Calorie Diet?
A low calorie diet (LCD) is typically comprised of about 800 to 1,500 calories per day. These kinds of diets are focused on low-fat, high-nutrition foods. A sample LCD meal plan might look like this. In order to ensure that enough nutrients are being consumed, LCDs are usually started under physician supervision.

Is a Low Calorie Diet effective?
LCDs can be an effective weight loss method for obese dieters. Here’s the catch, though – most weight lost through a LCD alone will only stay off for as long as the diet goes on. Why? Without the proper changes in diet, exercise, and overall lifestyle, most people who have struggled with obesity are at risk of regaining the weight. Researchers from the University of California Los Angeles noted that across a variety of weight-loss programs, the biggest challenge to diet plans is keeping weight off after the initial loss. LCDs are no exceptions.

Which is better: LCD or VLCD?
An alternative to LCDs are VLCDs, or Very Low Calorie Diets. These consist of 500-800 calories per day, and it is not recommended that an individual go on a VLCD without physician supervision. VLCDs are effective in promoting quick weight loss among obese patients, but they are generally not recommended as a long-term weight loss strategy.

Is a Low Calorie Diet safe for me?
Low calorie diets are safe for weight loss, provided that you consult a physician before beginning your plan. Aim for foods with a high calorie density, such as those that are high in fiber and low in fat content.

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