Medically Supervised Weight Loss Plans Moderate Health Risks - dummies

Medically Supervised Weight Loss Plans Moderate Health Risks

By Jane Kirby, The American Dietetic Association

Some diet plans require medical supervision because they involve rapid weight loss that can stress your body. For example, a complication of some of the very low calorie diet (VLCD) programs is gallbladder stones. The condition is caused by the very lowfat nature of the diets and the fact that the individuals who go on these programs tend to be obese and are predisposed to developing stones.

Be aware that long-term weight loss maintenance on VLCDs is disappointing. Although participants initially achieve impress losses, after five years, the majority of patients regain all their weight.

Health Management Resources (HMR)

This is a medically supervised rapid weight loss program for moderate or high-risk weight loss patients. It’s administered in hospitals and healthcare settings.

Participants who use a very low calorie diet (VLCD) of about 500 to 800 calories a day must be under the care of medical personnel. A second option of a 1, 200-calorie-a-day diet is also offered. Both plans require meal replacement shakes, entrees, and bars. Weekly 90-minute classes are mandatory. Expected weight loss is 1 to 5 pounds per week. Medical screening is required for all participants.

Staff: Physicians, registered dietitians, registered nurses, and psychologists developed the program. Programs offering the VLCD have an MD, RN, and health educator on staff.

Comments: The side effects of a very low calorie diet may include intolerance to cold, constipation, dizziness, dry skin, and headaches.

Availability: The program is available at more than 200 hospitals and medical settings in the United States.

Contact: 59 Temple Place, Suite 704 Boston, MA 02111 800-418-1367


This medically supervised rapid weight loss program is administered in hospitals and clinics. The plan requires liquid meal replacements and/or fortified food bars. As weight loss progresses, more regular foods are added.

Dieters are assigned to an 800-, 950-, or 1,200-calorie plan. Participation is limited to individuals who must lose at least 50 pounds. The weight loss portion of the program lasts about three months and transition takes six weeks; participants are transitioned to maintenance after five months. Emphasis is on behavior modification, problem-solving skills, physical activity, and individual counseling.

Staff: Group meeting leaders and one-on-one counselors are psychologists or dietitians. Physicians, registered nurses, registered dietitians, and psychologists regularly see each dieter at most locations.

Availability: The program is available in numerous hospitals and clinics in the United States and Canada. Residents in the U.S. can find a clinic on the Optifast Web site by typing in their area codes and zip codes. Residents of Canada can call (800) 986-3855 ext. 4067 for clinic locations. No information on Optifast is available outside the United States or Canada.

Contact: Novartis Nutrition 1441 Park Place Blvd. Minneapolis, MN 55416 800-662-2540