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According to a study, overweight teenagers can safely follow a strict diet if they are supervised by a registered dietitian.

According to a study, overweight teenagers can safely follow a strict diet if they are supervised by a registered dietitian.

Australian researchers discovered that for overweight teenagers, short-term diets with very low calorie intake can be deemed safe as long as they are under careful supervision by a qualified dietitian. They will be sharing their findings at the upcoming European Congress on Obesity in Venice this spring.

A study conducted by Sydney University researchers found that a significant number of teenagers who participated in the study believed that these diets were a suitable method for weight loss, despite experiencing negative side-effects such as fatigue, headaches, irritability, constipation, and nausea.

VLEDs, or very low-energy diets, require consuming less than 800 calories per day and are typically recommended for individuals struggling with obesity who have not had success with traditional diet and exercise plans.

There have been raised concerns about the potential dangers of quickly decreasing body weight, especially with regards to ensuring proper nutrition for young individuals. The effects of very low energy diets (VLEDs) on growth, heart health, and mental well-being of individuals are not thoroughly documented.

The research conducted in Sydney showed that these concerns are unfounded. According to Dr. Megan Gow, who headed the study, there should be a focus on promoting their usage in treating severe obesity and related health issues in adolescents, particularly before resorting to medication or surgery.

Seventy-one men and seventy women who were classified as obese and had at least one related condition, such as high blood pressure or insulin resistance, participated in the study. They were assigned to follow a four-week diet plan that included prepackaged meal replacements and low-carbohydrate vegetables, including broccoli and tomatoes.

Out of the initial 141 participants, 134 successfully finished the study and had an average weight loss of 5.5kg. Almost all (95%) of them reported experiencing at least one side-effect, and 70% had three or more. The most commonly reported side-effects were hunger, fatigue, and headaches.

The majority of the participants noted that losing weight was their favorite aspect, with the least liked being the restrictive diet and the taste of meal replacements.

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The study findings indicate that a VLED supervised by a healthcare professional can be safely utilized for a brief period and, in spite of potential side effects, is well-tolerated by numerous teens with moderate to extreme obesity.

Source: theguardian.com