American Family Children's Hospital

Medical Weight Loss: Modified Very Low Calorie Diet Program

Contact Information

(608) 265-7090

(608) 265-1211 (fax)

UW Health's Medical and Surgical Weight Management Program offers a safe and effective medical option for weight loss through our Modified Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) program.
What is a Modified Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD)?

The Modified VLCD is similar to full VLCD except:

  • The program consists of a mixture of foods and specialized shakes and bars
  • The calorie level is a little higher (1,000-1,200 per day rather than 700-1,000)
  • Patients may experience a lower level of ketosis, or negative energy balance.
Likely weight loss is about three pounds per week. This level may be more appropriate if you have a lower body mass index (BMI) and fewer health issues or health conditions that would be negatively affected by high levels of ketosis.
Three Phases of Modified VLCD
  1. Ketosis/weight loss phase with weekly medical monitoring and classes
  2. Transition back to food with classes and individual meetings with registered dietitian
  3. Maintenance/lifestyle (classes) for long-term management of obesity

Who can participate in the Modified VLCD program?


Participants need to:

  • Have a primary care doctor
  • Have had a complete physical exam within the last year
  • Have a BMI of 35 or greater
  • Be able to purchase VLCD products and vitamins (approximately $130 per month plus regular food costs)
  • Have a goal of losing more than 25 pounds
  • Be committed and able to participate in the required follow-up (clinic/class every week for three to six months or longer
Our programs are designed for adults 18 years and older. For information about pediatric weight loss, please contact UW Health's Pediatric Fitness Clinic.

Who should not participate in the Modified VLCD program?


People should not participate in VLCD if they:

  • Have had a recent heart attack or stroke
  • Have heart rhythm abnormalities (may require cardiology referral and clearance)
  • Have significant kidney or liver disease
  • Are currently undergoing treatment for cancer
  • Have Type 1 diabetes
  • Have significantly uncontrolled mental illness, including active or recent eating disorders (anorexia or binging with purging), that may interfere with weight loss

People who are incompatible to the VLCD program may be eligible for the Lifestyle tier of our Medical Weight Management program.