What is a VLCD?


By Staff Reports

(DGIwire) – VLCD is a term used to describe a very low calorie diet.  Calories on a VLCD are usually limited to somewhere between 300 and 800 per day.  Most commercially available or medically supervised VLCD’s are built around formulations (liquids or powders) which contain proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals.

A VLCD formula is intended to imitate the weight loss properties of starvation while providing adequate protein to prevent the loss of lean body mass.  They also include a level of carbohydrate which will promote a mild ketosis (a by-product of using body fat for energy) which eliminates hunger and provides supplemental levels of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and trace elements necessary to maintain good health.

VLCD’s have been studied extensively for safety as well as effectiveness for weight loss.  In addition, many health benefits have been consistently cited.  According to Wikipedia, “A 1997 study concludes that the short-term use of a VLCD is very effective in rapidly improving glycemic control and promoting substantial weight loss in obese patients with Type 2 diabetes.  Moreover, a VLCD increases insulin sensitivity and reduces the substrate for gluconeogenesis.  Thus VLCD treatment may improve glycemic control more than calorie restriction alone.  A VLCD is typically undertaken by an obese patient who wishes to lose a lot of weight quickly, as the risk to health that obesity presents is considered much greater than any risks of the diet itself, so long as it is undertaken with medical supervision.”

Caloric restriction (CR) without malnutrition has been shown to improve age-related health and to slow the aging process in a wide range of animals and some fungi.  There has been some research showing that CR may reduce atherosclerosis risk factors and improve memory in normal to overweight elderly patients.  CR also results in decreased insulin levels and reduced signs of inflammation which may be the result of lower insulin levels (high insulin levels are usually associated with lower memory and cognitive function).

“It seems that over our long evolutionary timeline that we have adapted to deal with periods of very low to no food intake.  These times may in fact trigger beneficial survival mechanisms which serve to heal and increase the efficiency of our bodies and minds.  Our fat storage mechanisms are specifically designed to supply our energy and nutrient requirements during such times,” according to Dian Griesel, Ph.D. and Tom Griesel, co-authors of TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust .

Anthropologists have determined that the incidence of very low calorie periods and caloric restriction in general was common for our early human ancestors. They estimate that hunger from lack of available food was the norm 30% of the time.

Tom Griesel adds, “The problem today is that food is always readily available and it does not require any physical labor to procure it.  As a result, we continue to eat more than we need to, accumulate body fat and never experience a time when it can be put to good use.  A modern diet of predominately concentrated carbohydrates and processed foods promotes fat storage and compounds the problem.”

Finding a way to counteract these primal mechanisms is critical if you want to eliminate your excess body fat and experience optimal health.

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