Successful dieters believe total diet replacements are best for weight loss, as crunch time approaches for legislation that could wipe out these programmes

Posted On: 11th September 2017

80% of dieters believe that the best way to lose weight is through a total diet replacement (TDR) and that no other option is as successful, according to a survey of current and former TDR participants run by the European Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) Industry Group.

The survey demonstrates the popularity of TDRs amongst European consumers as a safe, effective way to lose weight ahead of a crucial vote on proposed legislation that risks removing TDRs from the market altogether. The legislation put forward by the European Commission sets specific rules changing how TDRs should be made, which preliminary trials carried out by the Group has found would make TDR products taste awful, have an unappealing texture, turn rancid quickly and be much more expensive for consumers.

The VLCD Industry Group is calling on MEPs to reject the proposed act ahead of a vote in plenary in the European Parliament on Wednesday 13th September, and for the European Commission to reconsider these proposed rules, in order to ensure the continued existence of TDRs, which the survey shows are by far the consumers’ favoured choice to lose weight. 76% of respondents had tried other interventions, including alternative diets such as paleo, low-carb, HCG and intermittent fasting, but stopped the diets because they didn’t lose enough weight, while 33% found the diets too difficult to follow. 69% of users joined a TDR programme specifically because they’d tried various other weight loss plans and nothing worked as well.

The survey also showed that consumers could rely on TDRs to help them keep weight off. 82% of respondents are currently maintaining all or part of their TDR weight loss, 84% feel such programmes are good value for money, and 94% feel their health and quality of life have improved since losing weight on the programme.  If the legislation is passed unchallenged, this will leave tens of thousands of obese and overweight people across Europe without one of the safest and most effective options available to lose weight, and is likely to be met with outrage from the weight loss consumer.

Professor Anthony Leeds, Medical Director of the VLCD Industry Group said:

“TDRs have proved time and time again to be effective, safe, convenient and easy to follow. They provide the public with what they need to lose weight and successfully maintain that weight loss. There is no clear rationale in depriving a significant section of the population, of this safe, tried and tested option to better their health and their lives.

It is crucial that this legislation is reconsidered and revised to ensure the continued existence of these vital products and we urge MEPs to take these issues into consideration when the time comes to vote on Wednesday.”


Notes to Editors

The figures are based on a sample of 877 individuals aged 18-74. Full survey responses are attached.

The European Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) Industry Group is the European trade body for manufacturers and distributors of VLCD products which provide weight loss programmes for the very overweight and obese. Members of the Group currently operate predominantly in the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Ireland, Cyprus, Greece and Poland.

TDRs, which include VLCDs and LCDs, are specifically formulated programmes that are based around, though not exclusively in the case of LCDs, formula foods. These formula foods are nutritionally balanced with key vitamins, minerals, high quality protein, essential fats, fibre and other nutrients, and are designed to replace conventional foods for a period to facilitate optimal weight loss.

VLCDs which contain less than 800 kcal (3360 kJ) are primarily aimed at those with significant weight problems and encourage a greater initial weight loss, which has a great motivational effect. LCDs, in turn, have a slightly higher energy content of between 800 kcal (3360 kJ) and 1200 kcal (5040 kJ).

Both programmes are strictly regulated and provide guaranteed amounts of required nutrients. This gives them an advantage over ‘normal foods’ for those wishing to lose weight. It is almost impossible to maintain nutritional requirements through the consumption of ‘normal foods’ alone once daily consumption falls below 1200 kcal.

Formula-based programmes can be made into shakes or soups, rehydrated meals, bars, porridge, or desserts. There are also ready-to-drink options. Consumers beginning a TDR programme can select their daily meals from a range of products and according to their own personal tastes.