Medically Supervised Diet Programs
The meal replacement programs at NYU Langone’s Weight Management Program are designed for you to lose weight safely, conveniently, rapidly, and comfortably, without hunger, pills, or shots and while under clinical supervision. We offer medically supervised and dietitian-led plans.
The New You program and the very-low-calorie diet (VLCD) plan, both created by Dr. Holly F. Lofton, are medically supervised ketogenic weight loss plans. As part of these programs, you are required to meet with a member of our medical team, which includes a physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner, and a registered dietitian. We also provide you with nutritional and behavioral support. The Flex program is a non-ketogenic diet led by a dietitian.
All programs incorporate prescribed meal replacement products that can be shipped to your home. Depending on the program you choose, the plan includes one to five meal replacements per day. The number of calories in the daily meal depends on your gender and weight. These programs help you learn how to keep hunger at bay by using behavioral tools and low-glycemic, high-protein foods at every meal. The goal is to enable you to develop your own unique eating lifestyle, which promotes sound cardiovascular, behavioral, and nutritional health.
Follow-up appointments take place either at one of our offices or through an online visit conducted by video chat through the NYU Langone Health App. Your provider may ask you to use online tools such as health tracker apps to monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, and weight. This data can be uploaded to your NYU Langone Health MyChart account for the doctor, nutritionist, or nurse practitioner to review during your online appointment.
As a board-certified internal medicine and obesity medicine physician, Dr. Lofton strongly recommends long-term follow-up to maintain weight loss, monitor obesity-related health issues, and deal with expected deviations from a maintenance program.
The Flex Diet is an 8-week dietitian-led program that incorporates certain carbohydrates into a healthy eating plan. Estimated weight loss is 1 to 2 pounds per week. You have weekly visits with a registered dietitian.
New You and Very-Low-Calorie Diet
Both the New You and VLCD diets are designed to trigger ketosis. This is a metabolic state that is triggered by low intake of carbohydrates. Once your body uses up all its available carbohydrates, it is forced to use body fat, in the form of ketones, as an energy source. A medical evaluation is required before starting either of these programs.
The VLCD is a carbohydrate-free 2-week diet that results in weight loss of 5 to 10 pounds per week. You meet with your doctor or dietitian once a week.
The New You diet is offered in 12- or 24-week packages. Weight loss averages 3 to 5 pounds per week. You meet with a doctor, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or dietitian once every two weeks.
Details About Our Medical Weight Loss Programs
Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about our weight loss programs.
Is ketosis safe?
Yes. Many recent clinical studies have shown the safety and efficacy of ketogenic, or low-carbohydrate and high-protein, diets. Ketosis is a natural physical state for your body.
Humans have evolved over time to efficiently store fat as energy for later use. The opposite is also true: we have evolved to efficiently use our fat stores in times of famine. When this occurs, we enter a state of ketosis.
In addition, everyone’s body starts to produce ketones whenever food is not consumed for a few hours. In particular, this occurs overnight while sleeping or after exercising.
Am I going to feel hungry while participating in a ketogenic diet?
When your body is in ketosis, it is still fueling you with the energy you need. Ketones suppress appetite naturally, and you should not feel significant hunger. During the first week on the diet, your body consumes all of its carbohydrate reserves and you may experience some slight hunger.
However, this passes. If it becomes a concern, you can always contact us.
Can I expect to feel any changes while in ketosis?
Some people may experience minor side effects while in ketosis. Dizziness, fatigue, and muscle cramps are the most common, especially if you are not drinking enough water.
Some people may also experience a decrease in energy when starting the diet because their body is switching from burning carbohydrates to fat. This usually subsides after the first week, and many people then experience a burst of energy. If you don’t, you should contact us.
How many pounds can I expect to lose?
Weekly expected weight loss varies depending on the program you choose. VLCD is our most intensive program and can yield 5 to 10 pounds of weight loss per week. The New You plan averages 3 to 6 pounds a week. Participants in the Flex program average 1 to 3 pounds of weight loss per week. Please note that this is an average and is different for each person.
Following an exercise program while on the diet speeds up the rate at which you lose weight.
Do I need to exercise during the diet?
Although you can still expect to lose weight while on the diet without exercise, the rate of weight loss may increase with regular exercise. It is also important to begin an exercise program during weight loss to provide a basis for the maintenance phase.
We recommend that you exercise at least 150 minutes per week while on the program and as part of your weight loss maintenance. One of the most important behaviors for maintenance is following an exercise regimen. Ceasing to exercise is one of the primary reasons people regain weight.