A diet of 500 calories per day is an extreme form of a very low-calorie diet (VLCD). Choosing this diet requires you to drastically reduce the amount of food that you eat. Most people on this diet will consume a maximum of 800 calories each day. Instead of meals, most people who choose to do a VLCD will use meal replacements like shakes, drinks, and food bars for at least two meals of the day. This type of diet is recommended for anybody who is seriously overweight or obese and has struggled to lose weight on other diet plans. If you’ve been struggling to lose weight and want to give this type of diet a try, here are some key things to know before you start.
Don’t Go it Alone
Dramatically reducing the amount of food that you eat like this can be dangerous, so it’s important to have the go-ahead from your doctor before you start. Your doctor can prescribe an NHS recommended very low-calorie diet like the programme offered by Shake That Weight, and they will take your weight and other health factors into account to recommend how many calories you should consume each day. They will also invite you back for regular check-ups to determine how well the diet is working for you and if any changes need to be made. Very low-calorie diets have been recommended by the NHS for obesity, but you should only embark on this type of diet if your doctor has personally recommended it for you. If your doctor thinks it’s a good idea, Shake That Weight offer tasty meal replacement shakes in a wide range of flavours that have been approved for people on this diet plan.
It’s important to be careful with your nutrients when eating a very low-calorie diet since if you are not, one meal alone could be your entire calorie allowance for the day. And, meals that are high in calories like this do not often come close to providing you with the nutrients that you need for the day. When you’re drastically reducing your calories like this, it’s more important than ever to ensure that you are getting a well-balanced diet that includes lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. Vegetables, in particular, are an excellent way to fill up as many are extremely low in calorie value yet very nutrient-dense.
Consider Taking Supplements
One of the biggest risks of a very low-calorie diet is that you could end up with mineral and vitamin deficiencies since you are simply unable to get as much as your body needs from your foods. And, these deficiencies can lead to a wide range of health problems. You could suffer from hair thinning and loss, for example, if you’re not getting enough zinc from your diet, while there’s a higher risk of osteoporosis for those who are not getting enough calcium from their diet. Along with being careful to consider the full nutritional value of the foods that you eat, consider taking supplements alongside your diet to ensure that you are getting enough. Your doctor can advise you on the best supplements to take.
Consider the 5:2 Diet Plan
The 5:2 intermittent diet plan is a popular choice with people who want to switch to a very low-calorie diet, as it does not require consuming a very small number of calories every day. On this diet plan, you will eat a balanced, healthy diet of around 2,000 calories for five days per week, and then limit your diet to no more than 500 calories per day for the remaining two days. Not only does incorporating a low-calorie diet into your lifestyle this way help you stay on track by curbing hunger and cravings, but you can also ensure that you are getting the nutrients that you need compared to daily calorie reduction.
It’s Not a Long-Term Diet
For most people, a very low-calorie diet is not a long-term solution. It is recommended by medical professionals to help seriously overweight and obese people kick-start their weight loss. Over time, sticking to a very low-calorie diet for too long can actually slow your metabolism down and make weight loss harder, which is why it’s so important to be supervised by a doctor when you change your diet to one that restricts calories a lot. After losing weight, your doctor will likely advise you to change to a different diet plan with more calories, or gradually increase your calories in order to maintain your new weight. This transition phase is important since once you have lost weight with a very low-calorie diet, you will not be able to go back to eating the same diet as before without regaining it.
Medical professionals recommend a very low-calorie diet if you are overweight and struggling to shift the extra pounds with other diet plans. But this diet has several risks that you should be aware of before you get started.