Home Diet Very Low-Calorie Diet Plan: Recipes, Menu, Results with Cautions.

Very Low-Calorie Diet Plan: Recipes, Menu, Results with Cautions.

What is the very low-calorie diet plan?

In the vast world of nutrition and clinical diets, recently there have been proposed new and revolutionary diets, the VLCD or Very Low Calories Diets (very low-calorie diets or strongly low-calorie diets) and they have assumed a certain notoriety. While some diets can be potentially dangerous, other menus can be tolerated over a short period of time.

Extrapolated from their clinical context – mostly dedicated to the control and management of obesity, also in preparation for bariatric surgery – the VLCDs have been a particular success even in an early stage of overweightness or undiagnosed obesity.

Some celebrities use these diets on the TV shows; the Very Low Calories Diet has become part of the current dietary scenario as a possible nutritional alternative in the hands of the professional.

VLCD or very low-calorie diets (classically should not exceed 800 calories per day) are commonly used in the treatment of advanced obesity.

These diets are significantly below the average daily calories of an adult (roughly estimated in 2000 Kcal), so these types of diet can potentially induce a state of malnutrition.

For this reason, to avoid nutritional deficits especially in the sphere of micronutrients, it is necessary to replace the forgotten meals with supplements able to comply with the strict calorie restrictions, while providing all the required micronutrients to preserve a state of health.

Remember that those who promote these type of diets are the same persons who will sell you these types of supplements.

Also, in this case, the starting assumption is represented by a strong caloric and carbohydrate limitation, which pushes the human organism towards the use of lipid reserves as the primary energy source.

Under these circumstances, the increased oxidation of lipids to acetic acid, under conditions of oxalacetate deficiency, causes the formation of ketone bodies (precious nourishment for the brain in the absence of glucose), identified as a physiological situation known as ketosis.

Precisely for these accentuated metabolic implications, VLCD should not be prolonged for more than 12 weeks and should necessarily be supervised by medical personnel.

Indications for a VLC-Diet, a robust hypocaloric diet is indicated:

  • In the treatment of pathological obesity;
  • In preparation for particular surgical procedures in the context of obesity (e.g. adjustable gastric banding or intragastric balloon)
  • In rapid weight loss linked to specific medical needs;
  • In the treatment of obesity, even non-pathological, resistant to other dietary interventions.

In the literature, there is evidence that would describe the efficacy of this type of diet, always under strict medical supervision, in the treatment of some psychiatric manifestations even at a young age.

Precise indications do not yet exist, given the experimental nature of these studies.

very low-calorie diet recipes

Here we have a list of food to eat or avoid these type of diets. The list contains a lot of tasty food but maybe something that you love and can’t cut from your diet.

There are tips about foods rich in protein to choose from; and apparently, you know all of them, but maybe you don’t think that these type of foods can be good for a VLCD diet. These foods are:

  • red meat and poultry, steaks and game, raw ham and bresaola, eggs;
  • salmon;
  • lean cheese like cow’s milk ricotta cheese and cottage cheese;
  • dried fruit such as hazelnuts and almonds;
  • vegetables with a low carbohydrate content;
  • a little bit of fruit rich in carbohydrates like strawberries, melons, and watermelon.

Foods to avoid or limit as much as possible because the high intake of sugars and carbohydrates are:

  • bread, pasta, pizza
  • carbonated and sugary drinks, sweetened juices, sweets and sugar, milk;
  • fruit rich in carbohydrates (fructose) such as grapes, apricots, bananas, peaches, vegetables high in carbohydrates like carrots, peas.

If you don’t know how it is structured, here is an example of a very low-calorie diet menu:

Breakfast: 3 eggs in an omelet with little oil

Snack: 1 lean white yogurt + dried fruit to taste

Lunch: 200 g of fish + broccoli or steamed green beans

Snack: milk flakes

Dinner: 150 g of grilled chicken or turkey + salad of rocket and lettuce

An easy and tasty recipe for your low-calorie diet

The chicken rolls are a second course suitable for those who have a little bit of time to spend cooking; they are easy and quick to prepare. The filling is tasty thanks to the bacon and light thanks to the presence of the escarole.

As a side dish, you can add sweet peppers or bell peppers to the rolls if you do not love the spicy taste too much. In any case, the taste is assured thanks to the presence of bacon.

Chicken rolls are also rich in health benefits because each ingredient has an important nutritional content: chicken is a source of protein, the escarole is a source of vitamins and minerals, and the pepper protects against cardiovascular disease and stimulates the metabolism.

Calories per portion: 389 kcal

Ingredients for four people:

  • 550 g of chicken breast thin sliced
  • 250 g of sweet peppers or peppers
  • 70 g of sliced bacon
  • 50 g of escarole leaves
  • One glass of white wine
  • Four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • One clove of garlic
  • salt
  • pepper


Carefully wash the peppers, remove the cap and empty the inner seeds. Wash the leaves of escarole, dry them and cut them into thin strips. With a meat tenderizer, beat the chicken slices to make them thinner.

Place the bacon and then the escarole leaves on top of each slice of chicken, roll the chicken slices to form the rolls and close them with a little bit of roasting wire.

In a non-stick pan fry the garlic clove in two tablespoons of oil and start cooking the peppers. Heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in another pan and place the chicken rolls inside.

Brown on all sides for about 5 minutes, then pour the glass of white wine. When it is evaporated, transfer the rolls into the same pan of peppers and add salt and pepper. Add half a glass of water and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, turning the rolls a couple of times per side.

Finally, the chicken should be well browned and the peppers soft but still firm. Remove the string, cut the rolls into slices that are not too thin and serve them with peppers or peppers.

Very low-calorie diet results

Here we will illustrate the potential benefits and results of that type of VLC diet, but after we going to talk about the side effects.

Several studies would seem to agree on the metabolic benefits of highly calorie-restricted and time-limited diets.

Among the improvements observed there would be:

  • An improvement in the glycemic profile in diabetic and obese patients, with a reduction in insulin resistance;
  • An improvement of the lipidemic profile, in particular of blood concentrations of cholesterol and triglycerides;
  • Improvement in joint mobility in the presence of obesity;
  • A reduction of some inflammatory markers;
  • A rapid weight loss, estimated between 1 and 2.5 kg per week.

A VLCD diet can have a minimum of weight loss estimated between 1 and 2.5kg per week, for a total average weight loss of about 20 kilos in 12 weeks. It can help for the diseases related to obesity including diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol. You can also take a look at the Yes You Can diet plan.

The rapid weight loss that many patients experience during a VLCD diet can be extremely motivating. But many other diets can yield similar results; think of the carb cycling sample diet.

Patients involved in a VLCD diet usually lose 15 to 25 percent of their initial weight during the first 3 to 6 month period. After this period they adopt a healthy diet and start with regular physical activity.

very low-calorie diet side effects

And now let’s talk about the side effects of that type of diet, as there are surely more side effects than benefits.

Given the nature of very-low-calorie diets, these diet regimens are contraindicated during pregnancy and lactation, in growing children and adolescents, in subjects already malnourished and in the presence of particular clinical conditions. For healthier diets, check the Special K diet before and after.

Precisely because of the invasiveness of these diet approaches, it would be advisable to request careful medical supervision during all the phases of this diet.

Side effects: VLCD, especially if protracted over time, could bring to nutritional deficiencies of micronutrients, constipation, recurrent abdominal discomfort, lethargy, nausea, and migraine.

Contraindications: When the VLCD should not be used.The use of VLCD is contraindicated during pregnancy and breastfeeding, in cases of sarcopenia and cachexia, diabetes of the first type, hepatic and renal failure. You can also check Forskolin diet plan.

Pharmacological interactions: Which drugs or foods can change the effect of VLCD? Insulin therapy and that with diuretics would expose the patient subjected to VLCD respectively to a greater risk of hypoglycemia and dehydration.

What do you need to know before starting a VLCD?

Precisely because of the invasiveness of the dietary method, the VLCD must necessarily be supervised by a doctor or nutritionist. You cannot just rely on before and after results, you need supervision. This system of dieting cannot be used as a bodybuilding diet plan.

  • The strong caloric restriction, the metabolic effects of the diet and the induction of the ketogenic process, could expose the patient to possible side effects, such as lethargy, increased appetite, confusion, nausea, constipation or diarrhea, and headache. For celebrity diets, take a look at the Emily Ratajkowski diet.
  • Also, prolonged use could lead to an increased risk of nutritional deficiency, especially in micronutrients, with alterations in the normal functioning of organs and systems. So, if you think you need to keep your system healthy, you can check the Heart Healthy diet plan.
  • Moreover, interesting studies would show how, despite the VLCD results more effective in short-term weight loss, in the long run, they would instead make further gains compared to balanced diet plans.