FAQ's About Losing Weight Under Medically Supervised Weight Loss Programs

Did you know that obesity is a disease? And, being overweight or obese puts you at risk for developing other diseases and aggravates existing medical conditions.  The good news is, weight loss has been shown to improve medical conditions and eliminate certain medications.

If I lose weight, would it make a difference in my high blood pressure or the medication I take to treat it?

Yes, weight loss actually helps reduce high blood pressure – sometimes to a level where you could reduce or even eliminate your blood pressure medication entirely.

I have diabetes. Can losing weight lower my blood sugar?

Yes, losing weight can lower your blood sugar if you have type 2 diabetes.  Just a 10% weight loss can greatly affect your blood sugar and possibly minimize your use of diabetic medications.

Can I lower my high cholesterol by losing weight?

Yes, you can boost your chances of lowering your  cholesterol with a three-prong approach: modify your fat intake, exercise regularly and lose weight.

Can being overweight make me more susceptible to cancer?

Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for many different cancers, including colon, breast and endometrial cancer.

Could my excess weight be the reason I’ve been unsuccessful in getting pregnant?

Obesity can be a risk factor for infertility and weight loss can often improve success of conception.

Is my excess weight ruining my joints?

It’s difficult for the natural cushions in our joints to withstand extra body weight. Losing weight can reduce the wear and tear on your joints.

I was recently diagnosed with sleep apnea, which causes me to snore and sometimes stop breathing during sleep. Will it help if I lose weight?

For those with sleep apnea, even modest weight reduction may alleviate the need for long-term therapy or upper-airway surgery.

I suffer from a lot of back problems. Would losing weight alleviate the pain?

If you carry your extra pounds around your abdomen, this can put excess stress on your back muscles. Losing weight and strengthening your abdominal muscles can greatly relieve discomfort.

If I’m overweight, does that increase my risk for developing heart disease?

The occurrence of cardiovascular disease increases as your body mass index rise with increased weight gain. Losing weight may be one of the best ways to control or reduce cardiovascular disease.

What is VLCD (Very Low Calorie Diet)?

A Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) is a restricted eating plan that helps you accelerate your weight loss.  In addition to losing weight, you can also experience improvement in medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol and others.  While on the plan, you’ll enjoy nutritional supplements that replace grocery foods so you can also focus on learning new healthier behaviors.  in some cases, a VLCD may include nutritional supplements and one meal.

Is a VLCD Safe?

Under proper medical supervision, VLCDs produce quick, significant weight loss in patients who are moderately to extremely obese.  This type of diet has been in use for several decades and has been endorsed by NIH’s Weight-Control Information Network and the AMerican Council on Sports Medicine.

How do I know if this program is right for me?

Very Low Calorie Diets are designed for patients with a BMI over 30 (or over 27 with other medical conditions).  If you are at least 30-40 pounds overweight, you may be a good candidate for a VLCD.

What kind of results can I expect?

VLCDs deliver rapid weight loss – typically, 3-4 pounds per week, for an average of 42 pounds in 12 weeks.  Your results will depend on many factors, including your starting weight, other medical conditions, and individual program design.

Does the program offer other benefits besides weight loss?

The many potential health benefits include lower blood pressure, lower blood-sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, lower serum cholesterol, improved cardiovascular health, and reduced pain in weight-bearing joints. Weight loss with a VLCD can reduce or eliminate the need for related medications. Self-esteem and energy levels can also soar dramatically!

What do the supplements taste like?

Good news here! The beverages, pudding shakes, soups, and nutrition bars for this program are delicious and available in a variety of flavors.  They’ll help you stave off “diet fatigue” and give you the flavor and satisfaction you crave.

What is protein?

The word “protein” is derived from a Greek word meaning “of first importance.” A daily supply of protein is necessary to support the body and promote or maintain many metabolic functions.

In addition to helping with weight loss, protein helps:

  • Build and repair body tissues including muscle, major organs, and collagen
  • keep hair, skin bones, and nails healthy
  • Regulate body processes including digestion and metabolism
  • form hormone, enzymes, and immune system antibodies to help your body function properly

Providing your body with adequate protein throughout the day as part of a balanced diet allows you to maintain good health while you lose weight!


How is this program different from other diets?

When on a VLCD, calories and carbohydrates are limited and your body burns its own stored fat for energy.  The fat is released into the bloodstream, travels to the liver, and is converted to ketones. Ketones are then released back into the bloodstream and used for energy.

Will I be hungry on this plan?

Most patients report that their hunger diminishes within 2 days due to the presences of ketones and reduced food temptations.

Are there side effects to this diet?

You may experience mild, temporary side effects as your body adjusts to the program.  These include greater sensitivity to cold, headaches, fruity breath, fatigue or light-headedness.  Physician supervision and medical monitoring during a VLCD are important to help evaluate and manage possible side effects and changes in medications.

Who should not attempt this diet?

VLCDs are not recommended for children or for pregnant or nursing women.  In addition, a VLCD may not be warranted in people who have conflicting medical conditions or are taking certain medications.  Your physician will assess whether a VLCD is right for you.

I’m considering bariatric surgery. Why do I need a diet?

All insurance companies and many bariatic surgeons require patients to participate in a weight loss program before surgery. Doing so can reduce the risk of surgical complications and prepare patients for their post-surgery lifestyle and eating plan.