VLCD stands for "Very Low Calorie Diet". Very low calorie diets (also known as VLED or Very Low Energy Diets) have been shown to be very effective in the management of obesity, with weekly weight losses averaging approximately 1-2.5kg per week, providing greater initial weight loss than other forms of calorie restriction. A VLCD is a low carbohydrate, total food replacement for the dietary management of obesity. It is a nutritionally complete program providing 800 calories or less per day. It also contains the recommended daily requirements for vitamins, minerals, trace elements, fatty acids and protein.


The OPTIFAST® VLCD™ Program Intensive phase is suitable for people with a body mass index:
  • BMI > 30
  • BMI > 27+ risk factors, poor mobility, or a need for weight reduction prior to surgery.

Risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or triglycerides, high blood sugar levels, family history of heart disease, sleep apnoea, or over 45 years of age with a BMI of >27. Alternatively, if BMI measurements are not available or applicable, waist circumference measurements can also be used as an indicator of suitability. You are considered to be at high risk and therefore eligible for the OPTIFAST® VLCD™ Program Intensive phase if, as a male, your waist circumference is above 102 cm or as a woman, if your waist circumference is above 88 cm. For BMI of 25-30 or for individuals that might find intensive phase too restrictive, Transition phase restricts calorie intake (not as much as Intensive phase) and if combined with regular exercise, a weight loss of 1-2 kg/week can be achieved. Medical supervision is always advised when following a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) program, especially if you have a risk factor.