Very Low Calorie Diet: How Much Weight Can You Lose Quickly?

For people who’ve really tried an ultra low calorie diet in the past, the thought of cutting calories perfectly each day probably brings back bad memories.

When you’re really on a low-calorie diet and follow it regularly, you usually get between 800 and 1,500 calories a day very easily.

Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD)
Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD)

For some people, an alternative for some very short-term weight loss is actually a very low-calorie diet at all. Many very low-calorie diets are actually commercially made formulas of 800 calories or fewer that generally replace all the food you usually eat.

Others, such as the regular and well-known grapefruit diet rely on eating a lot of the best and same low-calorie food or foods. Actually, low-calorie diets are not the exactly same as over-the-counter meal replacements, which you substitute for one or two meals a day.

A 500-calorie diet is really an extreme form of an ultra-low or very low-calorie diet (VLCD). It actually requires you to perfectly and drastically reduce the amount of food you eat on a regular basis, usually to a maximum of 800 proper calories per day.

Is Ultra Low Calorie Diet Right For You?

Ultra Low Calorie Diet plan
How effective Ultra Low Calorie Diet in weight loss?

Very low-calorie diets or ultra low calorie diets are really unique in that they are medically supervised, and they perfectly eliminate all foods except for specially formulated meal replacements. Some other diets take aspects of the VLCD (Very Low-Calorie Diet) and properly modify it for more general use.

The USDA actually recommends a diet of near about 2000 calories (this can vary based on age, sex, weight, and other activity levels) for weight maintenance and reducing your calories actually depending on individual health and lifestyle factors for weight loss. The VLCD perfectly reduces this severely, down to 800 calories or less, which is why it must be overseen by a doctor.

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How Effective Are Ultra Low Calorie Diets?

If you actually have a BMI over 30 (which your doctor will call “obese”), then a very low-calorie diet or ultra low calorie diet may let you lose about 3 to 5 pounds per week very easily, for an average total weight loss of 44 pounds over 12 weeks.

Losing that amount of weight or a large amount of weight loss may improve weight-related medical conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. But in the long run, very low-calorie diets actually aren’t more effective than more modest diets. Once you go off a diet, you need to perfectly change your lifestyle, committing to healthy eating and regular physical activity in a proper way.

Are Very Low-Calorie Diets Safe?

Clearly say that very low-calorie diets are not really OK for everyone. Talk to your doctor to see if this kind of diet is really appropriate for you.

If your BMI is greater than 30, then very-low-calorie diets are generally safe and perfect when used under proper medical supervision. For people who are overweight but not obese (BMI of 27-30), very low-calorie diets should be reserved for those who actually have weight-related medical problems and are under medical supervision.

Very low-calorie diets are actually not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women and are not appropriate for children at all or teens except in specialized treatment programs. They also may not be OK and safe for people over age 50, either, depending on the potential need for medications for pre-existing conditions, as well as the possibility of other major side effects.

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What Can You Eat?

Generally, in most cases, liquid protein shakes or meal-replacement bars are properly taken in place of food for a period of time, ranging from several weeks to several months. However, some ultra low-calorie diet or very low-calorie diet plans include lean proteins, such as chicken and fish, or only eat one type of food (such as the mono-diet).

What You Need to Know

Very low-calorie diets are actually designed to perfectly produce rapid weight loss at the beginning of a weight-loss program. An obese patient can really expect to lose about 3 to 5 pounds per week while following a very low-calorie diet.

The average weight loss for a 12-week VLCD (very-low-calorie diet) is about 44 pounds. This amount of weight loss can really significantly improve obesity-related medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Within three to six months, a patient may be able to lose weight near about 15 percent to 25 percent of their initial weight if they start with a very low-calorie diet and transition to a healthy lifestyle and proper lifestyle, a calorie-controlled eating plan, and an exercise program.

Research has shown the very long-term results of VLC diets vary significantly. Weight regain is actually common. Combining a very low-calorie (VLC) diet with behavior therapy, regular exercise, and follow-up treatment may prevent this. VLC participants typically maintain a 5-percent weight loss approximately after two years if they properly adopt a healthy eating and exercise plan.

During Ultra Low Calorie Diet, What to Eat & What Not to Eat

What to EatWhat Not to Eat
Doctor prescribed meal replacements (bars, shakes, specific foods)Foods other than those doctor prescribed
What to Eat and What Not to Eat During Ultra Low Calorie Diet

Your doctor-prescribed ultra low or very low-calorie-diet may come with perfect suggestions for when during the day to consume your meal replacements and when to consume any other regular food you might be eating outside of the replacement items (if any; often, you do not consume anything other than the prescribed foods by your doctor).

The bars and shakes used in a VLCD are not the exactly same as diet products at the grocery store. Rather, meal replacements are actually specially formulated to contain adequate vitamins and pure nutrients, so patients’ nutritional requirements are easily met.

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Pros and Cons of Ultra Low Calorie Diet


  • May more possibility to succeed (short-term) where other diet plans have failed
  • Nutritionally balanced


  • Side effects
  • Must be medically perfectly supervised
  • Not a long-term perfect solution



Doctors often prescribe ultra low or very low-calorie diets when other eating plans or diet plans and weight-loss attempts have failed. Studies show that these best and effective diets often work well, at least in the short term. But they need to be followed perfectly, carefully, and have a behavior component that teaches patients how to perfectly change their eating habits for the long term.

General Nutrition

Because the meal replacements in very low-calorie diets are specially and perfectly prepared for this exact purpose, they really help patients get the essential nutrients they are not otherwise getting from our regular food. This is why medical supervision is really essential to the proper safety of a VLCD.

These positives do not actually necessarily mean a very low-calorie diet is perfect and right for everyone. It can be a good choice for specific people and situations.

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Side Effects

What are the side effects of very low-calorie diets? Many patients who actually follow a very low-calorie diet for 4 to 16 weeks experience some actual side effects such as fatigue, constipation, nausea, or diarrhea. These symptoms usually improve within a few weeks and rarely prevent patients from actually completing the program. The actual most common, serious side effect of a very low-calorie diet is gallstones.

What Are the Drawbacks of Ultra Low Calorie Diet?

Can you really lose weight on 800 calories a day? To be healthy and fit, you need a balance of healthy foods from very different food groups. It’s really difficult to get good nutrition and feel satisfied on a very low-calorie diet. In addition, consuming as few as 800 calories daily may not give you the actual energy you need for daily living and regular physical activity, especially if you eat the same foods or same food regularly on a daily basis.

Talk to your doctor or dietitian to perfectly make sure you get the nutrients you need while on a very low-calorie diet.

Hard to follow

Very low-calorie diets (VLCD) or ultra low calorie diets are really less likely to be nutritionally complete as they provide far fewer calories than actually needed to perfectly maintain a healthy weight. The actual recommended calories are 2,500 for men and 2,000 for women in a day.

It is really not an easy diet to follow. Some side effects can include:

  • feeling hungry
  • feeling low on energy
  • a dry mouth
  • constipation or diarrhea
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • cramps
  • hair thinning

While very low or ultra low calorie diets can actually lead to very short-term or temporary weight loss, it is likely that the weight will easily come back on after the diet ends.

Very low calorie diets are actually not long-term weight management perfect strategy and should only be used as part of a wider plan.

Medical Supervision

To safely and perfectly follow a very low-calorie diet, you must have a doctor’s prescription and be monitored by a physician, which will actually require time and money. Typically, health insurance does not totally cover the cost of the meal replacements (of course, you will not be buying any groceries or restaurant meals during the VLCD).

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A very low-calorie diet is actually a very short-term and temporary solution for weight loss. It is meant to be followed for a very limited time. After that, patients will need to transition to a maintenance plan that includes best healthy eating, exercise, and other lifestyle changes.

Health Benefits

Body Composition

A greater rate of weight loss in a very shorter period can result in better physical improvements, including fat loss, waist circumference, the relative amount of lean mass compared to your body fat, nutritional status, and walking stride.

Reduced Side Effects of Some Conditions

VLCD can also perfectly improve symptoms in patients with psoriasis, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and obstructive sleep apnea.

Prepare for Surgery

VLCD can actually help people with obesity lose enough weight to prepare them for bariatric surgery.

Also Read – Types of weight loss surgery, Best stomach surgery–GASTRIC BYPASS

Health Risks

Low Calcium

The nature of VLCD means that it can be really more difficult to obtain enough nutrients. One negative result of VLCD is the enough and potential for bone density loss due to low calcium levels.

Adverse Side Effects

VLCD can cause some side effects such as headaches, fatigue, nausea, weakness and vomiting, constipation, dehydration, low blood sugar, bad breath, diarrhea, and dizziness.


Gallstones often develop in people or women who are obese, especially in women. They are even really more common during rapid weight loss. Your healthcare provider may be able to prescribe medication to perfectly prevent gallstone formation during rapid weight loss.

Hair Loss

Actually, hair loss is a potential long-term real side effect of VLCD.

Alos Read – Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss – Steps by Step

Can you Eat Less Than 1200 Calories a Day?

A 1,200-calorie diet is actually a low calorie eating pattern that typically involves counting calories and eating proper reduced-calorie foods to perfectly promote quick weight loss.

Although a 1,200-calorie diet is likely to promote very short-term, rapid weight loss, metabolic adaptations that sometimes occur during calorie restriction make keeping the weight off long term extremely and really difficult.

What’s more, 1,200 calories is actually well under the average number of calories that most adults — even small women — need to fuel their bodies.

While diets actually providing 1,200 or fewer calories are a popular tool for fast weight loss, it’s better for your overall health to choose the best diet that actually fuels your body in a healthy way and properly promotes slow yet sustainable weight loss that can be maintained for life.

How Many Calories Should I Eat to Lose 5 Pounds in A Week?

If you really want to perfectly lose weight 5 pounds in a week, you will need to properly reduce your regular food intake by 17,500 calories, which is really a huge calorie deficit. If you weigh 250-pound, you will actually need to reduce your daily calorie intake to near about 1,250 calories per day, an amount that is really too low amounting to starvation.

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How many calories do I burn a day?

The average person burns around 1800 calories a day doing actually absolutely nothing. According to the Healthy Eating Guide, only sitting burns an estimated 75 calories per hour easily. A sedentary woman aged 19 to 30 burns calories near about 1,800 to 2,000 daily, while a sedentary woman aged 31 to 51 easily burns about 1,800 calories per day.

While we all want to actually believe that you can lose weight without diet or exercise, this is largely really untrue. So, when you’re actually thinking about what exercise you may want to include in your regime, if you want to burn calories in the long-term then it really helps to build muscle properly– or at least hang onto the muscle you already have.

A Word From Verywell for Ultra Low Calorie Diet

Many dieters who go on very low-calorie diets rebound and binge eat when they actually get too hungry. It is actually possible to regain any weight you lose and even put on extra weight as a result.

For these reasons, it’s generally not a good idea or perfect diet plant to follow diets or weight-loss programs that provide only 900 calories a day or less. You’ll see many weight loss and diet plans advertised in magazines and online, some with healthy claims attached to them.

But without proper and perfect nutrition, you are likely to get really tired and develop or exacerbate health problems.

A doctor-supervised very low calorie diet can actually offer that nutrition, at least, although it is likely to be tough work to stick with perfectly.

Still, in certain cases, a doctor may recommend a VLCD as the best and perfect way to lose weight in the very short term. It will need to be followed up with behavioral changes and a healthy and fit lifestyle.


How many calories should I eat to lose 5 pounds in a week?

If you really want to perfectly lose weight 5 pounds in a week, you will need to properly reduce your regular food intake by 17,500 calories, which is really a huge calorie deficit. If you weigh 250-pound, you will actually need to reduce your daily calorie intake to near about 1,250 calories per day, an amount that is really too low amounting to starvation.

Can you Eat Less Than 1200 Calories a Day?

A 1,200-calorie diet is actually a low-calorie eating pattern that typically involves counting calories and eating proper reduced-calorie foods to perfectly promote quick weight loss.

What snack has zero calories?

Watermelon is a perfect, refreshing and tasty option for a zero calorie snack, along with being a proper and great way to stay hydrated due to its high water content. Watermelon is sweet and delicious without being unhealthy, and it’s very useful full of an amino acid called arginine that is known to help burn fat quickly and you will lose weight fast.

What causes big tummy?

There are actually many reasons why people gain belly fat, including poor diet, lack of exercise, and stress. Improving nutrition properly, increasing activity regularly, and making other lifestyle changes can all really help. Belly fat actually refers to fat around the abdomen.

Meet Natalia, a New York City-based writer whose work has graced publications. She’s not just a wordsmith—Natalia is a fitness professional, life coach and yoga instructor. As a top barre and dance instructor, and Broadway performer, she brings a creative and dynamic touch to everything she does.

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