Simple advice can reduce the risk of weight regain after a
very-low-energy diet: the secret to keeping the weight off is to switch
back to normal food gradually, reveals a dissertation from the
Sahlgrenska Academy, at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, which
also contains new research results for patients who have undergone obesity surgery.
For 12 weeks a group of just over 260 patients swapped their normal
food for a very-low-energy diet in the form of soups and milkshakes. 169 of the patients lost a lot of weight, averaging 16% of
their body weight.
They were then divided into two groups so that they could switch back
at different rates from the very-low-energy diet to energy reduced
portions of normal food. One group completed the refeeding in a week,
while the other took six weeks.
"After ten months the patients with the six-week refeeding period had
gained four percent in weight from their minimum weight, while the
patients with the one-week refeeding period had gained eight percent,"
says Lena Gripeteg, researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy.
Very-low-energy diets have been used for many years in the health
service to achieve rapid and safe weight loss in obese patients. While
this treatment method is well-studied, there is a risk that patients
will gain weight when they start to eat normal food again.