Meal Replacement Diets – A Quick Fix?

Meal replacement or very low calorie diets (VLCD) have been around for many years, but more and more of these diet plans are becoming widely available all the time, and there are various health and fitness tips around them.These total meal replacement diets differ from plans like Slim Fast, where you replace just two meals with shakes and have a ‘proper’ balanced dinner. These are true VLCD – where you live on just shakes, soups or meal bars – which are cleverly created to contain all the vitamins and minerals you need to survive. Here we look at how these plans work and the effect they can have on your body and your life.

These ultra-strict diets permit you to survive on between 500 and 800 calories a day, with most of the allowing you no real food at all, not even a piece of fruit or a bowl of salad. VLCD are normally recommended for people who have three stones or more to lose, or those with a BMI of over 30.

The Positives

On the plus side, these meal replacement diets are fast and very effective. They are perfect if you need to lose weight quickly, for example before a beach holiday or your wedding. On average, you can expect to lose a stone or so within the first few weeks of embarking on a VLCD plan.

A number of the VLCD plans combine the meal replacement products with weekly counseling or support sessions, which means that you do receive help and encouragement along the way, as well as helping you to recognize problems with your eating patterns and habits or whether you are an emotional eater.

You are also advised to drink at least 3-4 liters of water a day to flush out fat and toxins. Drinking this amount of water will also help to fill you up.

The Negatives

Of course, as well as rapid weight loss, these diets can also have a number of side effects. These can include nausea, tiredness, dizziness, weakness and insomnia. It is said though, that once your body becomes used to its reduced calorie intake, these symptoms should subside somewhat. Partaking in a VLCD can also lead to diarrhea, constipations, skin problems, hair loss and dry skin.

More seriously, losing weight very quickly can cause gallstones and gout as well as leaving you with loose skin – which only surgery can solve. The lack of variety in foods can also make you feel bored and unmotivated, as well as feeling left out at meal times and social occasions.

There are a number of different VLCD plans available, all at different prices, but generally, this sort of diet can be costly and expensive. Often, the meal replacement products can be found unofficially online, but as it is recommended that the diets are followed only under medical supervision, this isn’t a good idea. It is advised that these VLCD are followed for 16 weeks or less, as it is very extreme.


Generally, these diet plans supply all the essentials you need to live on, are convenient and promise extremely quick weight loss to begin with. You can even go for weight loss miracle drugs for that, check out garcinia cambogia reviews if you don’t believe in anything like this. However they do not really teach you how to change your eating habits and cannot help with keeping the weight off in the long term. They may be ideal for obese people to kick-start a weight loss plan, but overall, you may be better off following a low-fat, reduced-calories healthy eating plan with plenty of lean protein, wholegrains, fruit and vegetables.