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The principles of a low-calorie diet

[The principles of a low-calorie diet]

Principles behind a low-calorie diet

The classical dietary approach for obesity, i.e. low-calorie diets, remains the core of the treatment of obesity. These diets are the most prescribed, and have the best short-term results.
One can distinguish three types of low-calorie diets:

- Personalized and moderately restricted diet: this diet depends on a pre-therapeutic assessment. It takes into account the daily energy expenditure of each individual, their food-habits and their professional and family environment. The desirable level or calorie intake will equal to two thirds of the average energy expenditure, that is 1200 to 2000 calories per day.

- Low-calorie diet: here the total calorie intake averages between 800 and 1200 calories per day, which represents a considerable reduction of the normal daily intake, which becomes inferior to the need. This is a most ambitious treatment which the human body cannot afford to follow for a long period of time, because it hinders physical activity and exposes the patient to nutritional deficiencies. In general, this treatment is proposed during a hospitalisation, possibly in a dedicated institution.

- Very low-calorie diet: That corresponds to less than 800 calories per day. This diet is also called protein-diet, and in France at least, it is strictly regulated. Indications are very rare, and the medical follow-up must be very accurate. Lighter protein-diets have since been developed which are based on the more restricted version.

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