A very low calorie diet, also known as a VLCD diet means consuming less than 800 calories a day. It would be very difficult to create your own VLCD using conventional food that is nutritionally balanced, giving you all the quality protein, good fats and vitamins and minerals that your body requires. It’s for this reason that VLCD’s usually utilise formula foods. These are foods specifically formulated to meet all the bodies’ nutritional needs while being very low in calories, such as our delicious diet shakes, bars soups & meals. These products can be used alone to replace the whole of the daily diet, like our Exante Total Solution or in conjunction with a small amount of conventional food, like our Flexi Solution to create a diet of less than 800 calories a day.
How do Very Low Calorie Diets work?
Very Low Calorie Diets (VLCDs) work by creating a calorie deficit. The amount of calories you take in is significantly less than the amount your body needs to function. Your body therefore turns to its fat stores to make up this deficit. This means your body runs on a combination of low carb shakes, bars, soups & meals you take in and energy derived from your own fat.
VLCD’s are usually low in carbohydrate. This is important when calories are very low as you’ll enter a state called ketosis (see below for details). Ketosis is protective for the body, meaning you burn fat rather than lean tissue when losing weight.
What is Ketosis?
When you consume fewer calories than your body requires, your body enters a natural metabolic process called ketosis. Once your body has used up its energy reserves of glycogen it starts to burn fats from its fat stores; this process normally begins after 2 - 4 days after carbohydrate intake is significantly cut (when you start the diet).
When fat is burned rapidly the body produces a by-product called ketones and the person is said to be in ketosis. While following Exante Diet your body will consume fewer calories than your body requires on a daily basis creating a calorie deficit. After 2-4 days your body will enter a normal metabolic state called Ketosis where your body will use its fat stores to produce energy. Even if you weren't following a diet most people will enter a state of ketosis at some point in a 24-hour cycle, usually when asleep.
You still need carbohydrates as part of a healthy daily diet which is why your Exante Meal Replacements contain a certain amount. It is still possible to remain in a mild state of ketosis while following one of our low calorie diet plans involving conventional food. You will already be receiving carbohydrates from your Exante Meal Replacements, so make sure you make low carbohydrate food choices for your extra food allowance.
You should be able to stay in ketosis by having around 60-70g Carbohydrate per day, but you may still be in a mild state of ketosis if you consume more than this.
Am I still going to be hungry all day?
A lot of people worry that they’re going to be hungry when they’re only eating around 600 calories per day so you’ll be pleased to know that hungry shouldn’t be an issue. Ketosis has additional benefits: While it’s not fully understood why most people report feeling less hungry or not hungry at all when in ketosis and some people report feelings of euphoria and extra energy.
People often confuse hunger with thirst so it’s important to stay well hydrated whilst on a VLCD. Hunger cravings can also be psychological rather than physiological. If you’re craving something really specific like a take away for example then it’s unlikely to be true physical hunger and is more likely to be your mind playing tricks on you.
Who is suitable for a VLCD plan?
Most people can do a VLCD as long as you are overweight and in good health. Check our ‘Who is Exante suitable for’ section on our website for full details. If a VLCD isn’t for you then you may want to consider a higher calorie plan such as our Flexi Solution which still gives great weight loss but is more suitable for those at lower weights or with health issues.
Are Very Low Calorie Diets safe?
Very Low Calorie Diets are very safe, they’ve been used for over 30 years and have lots of evidence about their safety and effectiveness. The National Institute of Care Excellence (NICE) supports their use in suitable individuals and they are used in many hospitals as well as being commercially available through companies like Exante.
The composition of meal replacement products such as meal replacement shakes, bars, soups & meals is tightly controlled by the EU commission to ensure that the body is correctly nourished while losing weight. For complete confidence, you should only buy these types of products from a reputable company who are happy to provide you with all the information you need about the products and how to use your meal replacement shakes, bars, soups & meals so you can have confidence while losing weight.
Can I be on a VLCD diet whilst pregnant?
No I’m afraid not. You’re going to need more calories so your baby develops properly and it’s advisable to avoid Vitamin A supplements in pregnancy (all our packs contain Vitamin A).
Weight loss in pregnancy should only be attempted under medical supervision, so speak to your midwife or GP about the best way forward. If you are currently on an Exante diet plan and find out you’re pregnant then you need to stop and return to conventional food. Your GP/Midwife can support you with advice on a healthy diet during pregnancy.
How quickly should I expect to lose weight?
A lot of people are attracted to VLCDs because they are known for fast weight loss. Rapid weight loss can be very motivating and help you stick to the plan knowing that you’re going to quickly achieve your goal. It’s normal to lose a large amount in the first week and then steadily after that. The exact amount will vary from person to person depending on your start weight/body mass index (BMI), your age and activity levels. Someone with more weight to lose will find they have bigger losses each week than someone with much less to lose. Men typically get similar weight losses each week but with women it’s much more up and down. This is because menstrual cycle plays a role, this can cause water retention which masks weight loss some weeks. For this reason its important not to fixate on the amount each week, it’s better to take a broader view and look at weight loss across the month.
What if I find the diet too difficult?
Exante has a range of plans to suit everyone’s needs. Total Solution is an abstinence based programme which replaces the whole of the daily diet with products. This is great for people who are really focussed and are looking for maximal results. However, sometimes real life gets in the way or some people simply decide abstinence is not for them. If this is the case then one of our other plans which contain some conventional food may be more suitable. Exante Solutions are very flexible, you can either pick one plan or stick to it or mix and match days according to your needs. Achieving your goal will come from creating a calorie deficit every day over a period of time rather than doing a plan for a short period of time that’s actually not for you.
Support is very important when doing a VLCD and we’re here to help! We have an amazingly supportive closed Facebook community who are extremely active 24/7 as well as a forum for those who prefer their support as a slightly slower pace. Customer Services can also be contacted for support by phone, email, through your online account or through our live chat facility on the website.
How long can I be on a Very Low Calorie Diet?
VLCDs can be used until you achieve your goal though you’ll be asked to take a break now and again in line with regulations that exist on this type of diet.
If you’re following Total Solution you’ll need to do a ‘Low Calorie Week’ after each 3 consecutive weeks on Total. This means you’ll need to increase your calories to over 800 per day for 1 week before returning to VLCD. You should continue to repeat this pattern until you’ve reached your goal. Full instructions for low calorie week are found on the Total Solution page.
If you’re on Flexi Solution then you don’t need a Low Calorie Week as you’re not replacing all of your daily diet with products. Flexi Solution is a sustainable lifestyle change and enables you to keep your weight off for good or continue your loss at a steady pace.
Should I consult my doctor before starting a VLCD diet plan?
Your health and wellbeing is paramount to us so it’s important you firstly check your eligibility on our website and then speak to your GP about your participation and how they might support you according to your individual needs. It’s recommended that you consult your GP before embarking on any diet.
Why choose the Exante VLCD plan?
Exante is Europe’s Number 1 VLCD Company! Not only do we have a massive range of products they’re also at the best prices. Exante food packs are high in quality protein, high in fibre and aspartame free. Our plans are designed to meet 100% requirements for vitamins and minerals.
You’ll also receive fantastic support through our online community and subscribing to our newsletter will mean you'll have the latest top tips and special offers.
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