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Genuinely curious.

S: 13st12lb G: 9st5lb
I read a lot of posts saying if you don't eat enough calories then your body will go into starvation mode and you won't lose weight.

I am just wondering how vlcd's work as they are around 600-800cals yet people lose heaps of weight on them.

What is the difference between consuming 600 cals a day on shakes or on real food?
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Slimming down the aisle
S: 19st1.5lb C: 18st6.8lb G: 13st0lb BMI: 38.2 Loss: 0st8.7lb(3.25%)
Like hannata said, the shakes are all carefully balanced. They make sure you get all the vitamins and minerals that you need. It's impossible to do that with 600-800 calories of food if you're picking it all yourself. That said, I wouldn't recommend a VLCD anyway and I know because I've done them. They're great for losing weight quickly but it's really not the healthiest of ways - you'll lose muscle as well as fat, you're more likely to be a lot more saggy and you'll screw up your metabolism. If you take in 600-800 calories over a period of time, your metabolism will come down to match that and once you give it more, it won't know how to deal with it. I can understand why people do a VLCD, I did myself and lost 3 stone but I didn't learn any new healthy eating or lifestyle habits and so it didn't last long. In my opinion, they should be a last resort when you've tried other things and they just don't work. But then, if you can't stick to eating a healthy 1200-1500 calories a day, I don't know how you can stick to 3/4 shakes a day personally. I find counting far easier to stick to than a VLCD!
S: 12st3lb C: 11st1lb G: 9st0lb BMI: 24.3 Loss: 1st2lb(9.36%)
If you google the phrase "starvation diet myth" you'll see some comments on this... I don't want to wade into a controversy but suffice to say I don't take the idea that seriously, especially when it's touted that missing a single breakfast plunges your body into starvation mode... though that said I think 600cals a day is just begging for a rebound binge in most people (in me anything below 1300 = a guaranteed binge within days).

S: 11st12.6lb C: 10st0.8lb G: 9st4lb BMI: 22.7 Loss: 1st11.8lb(15.49%)
Hey RachBlue, so glad you said this, i was about to launch into a big speech about the 'starvation mode myth'...

...redmel, the short version is that there is a starvation response but this only happens once your body reaches it's essential fat %, e.g. 5% for men, at this point your body will learn to reduce the amount of calories it needs but you will still lose weight... you'll also be close to death at this point (sorry for the morbidity) this doesn't happen therefore with anyone 'overweight'. The official line from the medical community is that on a diet of less than 800 calories a day it would be difficult for a person to get the correct nutrients in a day, which is why vlcd's like cambridge and lighter life are run with medical supervision/counsellors who make sure you're staying healthy, so the healthiest way is still to eat a good amount of calories per day and exercise but there is no such thing as 'starvation mode'

sorry for the essay, hope it helps :) xxx
S: 11st11lb C: 9st0lb G: 9st0lb BMI: 21.6 Loss: 2st11lb(23.64%)
I have to agree with the previous two posts and say I am sick of hearing/ reading the words 'starvation mode', it's nonsense imo and people seem to love repeating pseudo science like it's rock solid fact. I think it's a good idea to have enough calories to not be too hungry so as to avert any potential binges, and it's a good idea to eat as well as possible within your limit and supplement if necessary for nutrients as obviously the lower you go calorie wise the more difficult it is to receive adequate vitamins and minerals from your diet. But the starvation mode thing is rubbish, the downsides of going too low have nothing to do with damaging your metabolism.
S: 13st12lb G: 9st5lb
Thank you for all the comments they are very interesting x

The Moog

Silver Member
S: 15st3lb C: 13st6lb G: 10st7lb BMI: 28.6 Loss: 1st11lb(11.74%)
I was doing a 800 cal a day (supervised medically) between December and June and lost over 4 stones with no ill effects.

Due to sheer workload and insanity in life I've been off the diet between June and September, but only regained 2lbs.

If the starvation myth did exist, that wouldn't have happened ;)

Having said that, I'm finding it quite hard to get back down to 1000-1200 cals a day at the moment. I keep nibbling... ARGH!
S: 12st3lb C: 11st1lb G: 9st0lb BMI: 24.3 Loss: 1st2lb(9.36%)
This might have been posted elsewhere in here: there was a recent study where 11 obese diabetic people were put onto a medically supervised 600 calorie a day diet to reverse Type II diabetes - it was successful for all of them at the end of the trial, with their pre-breakfast blood-sugar levels returning to normal within one week of beginning the extreme restriction. Three months on, seven of them were still completely free of diabetes.

I can't link yet but it's the first few results for the search terms diabetes 600 calories - methinks if that level of very low restriction was going to totally nobble their "metabolism" (a much abused word, hence the quotation marks :rolleyes:) then their doctors would never have suggested it for obese people who, by definition, their doctors will be trying to support in their weightloss. It would be highly unethical to slow weightloss in that way IF there was a medically recognised link between a VLCD and long-term effects on the metabolism, and that kind of thing is assessed before any medical trial.

Just another bit of medical-based debunking of the "starvation mode"/metabolism myths, and OBVIOUSLY anyone with diabetes or any health concerns should seek qualified medical help and supervision before making such a drastic change to their diet, these people had supervision and were no doubt fully monitored throughout to check there were no adverse effects on their heart muscle, etc. ;)

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