HealthDay News — Very-low-energy diets (VLEDs) seem to be beneficial for long-term weight loss, according to a review published online Jan. 18 in Obesity Reviews.

Noting that guidelines suggest that VLEDs should be used to treat obesity only when rapid weight loss is clinically indicated, Helen M. Parretti, MD, from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, and colleagues reviewed the literature to examine weight change associated with use of VLEDs. Data were included from randomized trials where the intervention included a VLED and the comparator was no intervention or an intervention that could be given in a general medical setting with overweight adults.

The researchers found that VLEDs combined with a behavioral program achieved −3.9kg at one year compared with a behavioral program alone. At 24 months and 38 to 60 months, the differences were −1.4kg and −1.3kg, respectively. Premature discontinuation of treatment occurred in 19 and 20% of the VLED and comparator groups, respectively (relative risk, 0.96; 95% confidence interval, 0.56 to 1.66). There was one serious adverse event in the VLED group (hospitalization with cholecystitis) and none in the comparator group.

“Very-low-energy diets with behavioral programs achieve greater long-term weight loss than behavioral programs alone, appear tolerable, and lead to few adverse events, suggesting they could be more widely used than current guidelines suggest,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the weight loss industry.

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