Myth #1: A 500 calories a day must be bad for your health.
If done without physician supervision, a very low calorie diet can indeed be unsafe for some people. That is why physician supervision is required. A physician needs to make sure that you are healthy enough for the program by seeing you in the office and by evaluating the results of various blood tests that are ordered after your initial evaluation. After the doctor has seen you and reviewed both your history and your blood test results, he will let you know if you are a good medical weight loss candidate. In reality, most overweight individuals are good candidates for the diet. In our office, we have only a few definite contraindications. We DO NOT believe doing the hormonal physician-directed diet is appropriate for people with underlying heart disease or a history of breast or prostate cancer. People with diabetes may also be turned away if their blood sugar is not controlled adequately. Safety is our number one priority and we will not allow you to do the program unless we feel that it is safe for you to do. Once you have been cleared for the program, a physician should see you in follow up and blood tests should ideally be performed every two weeks to make sure that you do not develop electrolyte disturbances.
Myth #2: Low calorie diets do not provide enough protein.
Proteins are the building blocks of life. One of the myths about being on a 500 calorie diet is that it is insufficient to provide adequate daily protein needs. However, this is not true.
Most sources suggest that the recommended amount of protein required by the human body is around 0.8 - 1 gm/kg/day, or around .4-.5 gm/pound/day. On average, this means most of us should be eating somewhere between 50 gm to 100 grams of protein per day. Our physician-directed diet requires that you eat about 200 gm of protein per day. Therefore, adequate protein intake is provided by the physician-directed program.
Most dietary authorities recommend a diet that contains varied protein foods. Our physician-directed diet program recommends that all meals should vary in the protein eaten, i.e., you should pick a different protein food and vary your protein foods for each meal. In this regard, the physician-directed diet fulfills this dietary recommendation as well.
Myth #3: The physician-directed low calorie diet is a muscle wasting diet.
People do not typically experience muscle wasting while on this diet if it is done as directed. Muscle is made up of protein and the recommended daily protein intake of the diet is sufficient for the vast majority of people. Because of this, the body does not need to mobilize protein from your muscles. Some have suggested that the metabolic boosters actually protects your muscle from being broken down. This may suggest why, despite the low calorie intake, physician-directed diet patients rarely complain of weakness and fatigue.
Myth #4: The physician-directed diet requires you to be on a 500 calorie diet for the rest of your life.
This is simply not true. The 500 calorie diet is only for the first 40 days of the program. After this, the diet involves gradual transition into, a healthy, sustainable diet along with lifestyle changes. The 40 days of rapid weight loss is a "jump start" that provides you with the motivation to continue losing weight or maintaining your new figure.
There are lifestyle changes that are learned during the program that help people keep the weight off long term. In addition, our program includes a consultation with a well-known Chicago area health and fitness trainer that can further help you plan for the rest of your life. Our patients frequently describe their experience with the physician-directed diet as "life changing". This is not a fad. This is a program that will "jump start" your life by helping you rapidly achieve your goals.