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.

Dr. Holly Lofton with Patient

Dr. Holly Lofton counsels a patient.

We offer two specialized diets for weight loss. Both the New You program and the very low calorie diet (VLCD) plan were created by Dr. Holly Lofton. These plans combine unique meal replacements with a curriculum of nutrition education to help you meet your goal while controlling your appetite. These options are also available at NYU Langone Ambulatory Care West Side, where Dr. Anelise M. Engel directs our program.

Depending on the program you choose, the plan includes three to five meal replacements per day, with or without one meal. The number of calories in the daily meal depends on your gender and weight. The program helps 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.

As part of the program, you are required to meet with a member of our medical team, which includes Dr. Lofton, Dr. Engel, a physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or registered dietitian. We also provide you with nutritional and behavioral support.

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.

FAQs About the New You Program

Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about the New You program.

What is ketosis?

The New You program is designed to trigger ketosis. This is a metabolic state that occurs when all of your carbohydrate stores are exhausted and fat, in the form of ketones, is used as the main energy source for your body.

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 the New You program?

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.

What happens if I don’t adhere to the diet?

It does not take much to reduce or reverse ketosis. For example, if you consume a can of sugared soda or a piece of cake, ketosis is affected and it may take up to a week to re-establish it.

In some cases, consuming extra carbohydrates can cause an uncomfortable “carb crave.” This could lead to regaining some or all of the weight you have lost. This is why it is critical that you adhere to the diet. If you are having difficulty sticking to the diet as prescribed, we are here to help you.

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?

While on the program, women can expect to lose an average of three to five pounds per week. Men may lose more rapidly. 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. If you are unable to follow the diet as directed, the diet becomes a low-calorie meal plan, not a ketogenic meal plan, and less weight loss can be expected.

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.

Do I need to take vitamins while on the diet?

No. Our New Direction meal replacement beverage contains all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you need to thrive. Women who take calcium supplements may continue to do so. We recommend that you take omega-3 in the form of fish oil capsules to ensure your body has an adequate supply of essential fatty acids.