Fact sheetDiet specifications

Published on 1 Nov 2011 ; Partial revision Apr 2022

Energy diet - VLED replace 1 meal

This document is part of the ACI Diet Specifications for Adult Inpatients. It is not to be used for patient education.


To provide a very low-energy diet (VLED) with nutritional intake from one oral liquid feed and two low-energy meals only (at breakfast and lunch).


A diet of foods with a low-energy content, to be combined with one meal replacement supplement per day (eg Optifast® VLCD, Optislim® 2000, KicStart™ VLCD), to provide a total intake of <6500kJ (1500kcal) per day. One breakfast meal (cereal + low-fat milk, one egg, one slice toast), one sandwich and fresh fruit lunch, plus two cups of additional vegetables (cooked or salad) are allowed per day.


Morbid obesity or overweight (BMI >27) with complications.

Nutritional adequacy

This diet may not be nutritionally adequate. Check with a dietitian.


VLEDs must be ordered and supervised by a medical officer and a dietitian. An additional two litres of water should be consumed daily (part of this allowance may be replaced by low-calorie soft drink). Nil to eat at mid-meals. A fibre supplement (eg Benefibre™ or Metamucil™) may be required to maintain normal bowel function.

Depending on individual requirements, additional protein may be required to maintain skin integrity and lean tissue.


Not suitable for use in paediatrics.

Specific menu planning guidelines

Allowed Not allowed
Hot main dishes-All
Sauces, gravies-All
Starchy vegetables / pasta / rice-All
VegetablesSteamed / boiled asparagus, beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, silverbeet, snow peas, squash, zucchini, without any margarine or saucesAll others, including corn, green peas, legumes, pumpkin, sweet potato
SoupsClear soups onlyAll others
SandwichesOne sandwich with low-fat fillings and wholegrain bread at lunchCheese or full-fat mayonnaise fillings
Salads, dressingsSide salad (including any of: celery, capsicum, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, radish, sprouts, tomato) with low-joule dressing

All other salad vegetables

All other dressings

Breads, cereals

One slice wholemeal toast at breakfast

One serve high-fibre breakfast cereal

All others
Hot breakfast choicesOne boiled or poached eggAll others
FruitOne serve fresh fruit at lunchAll others
DessertsLow-joule jellyAll others
Milk and cheese150ml low-fat milk at breakfastAll other milk and cheese

Black tea and coffee

Low-joule cordial or soft drink

All others
MiscellaneousArtificial sweetener, lemon wedge, salt and pepperSugar portions, alcohol


  1. Bereznicki L. Very-low calorie diets: a review of the evidence. Aust Pharmacist 2008;27:724-7. 2
  2. Delbridge E, Proietto J. State of the science: VLED (very low energy diet) for obesity. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2006;15 Suppl:49-54.
  3. National Health and Medical Research Council. Clinical practice guidelines for the management of overweight and obesity in adults. Canberra: NHMRC; 2003. [accessed 17 May 2010].
  4. Nestle Australia. Optifast VLCD. Additional allowances. [accessed 17 May 2010].
  5. Optislim. Getting started.
  6. KicStart. About KicStart VLCD. [accessed 17 May 2010].

Change log

April 2022

Section updatedChange
Nutritional adequacy Deleted Nutritionally adequate
Added This diet may not be nutritionally adequate. Check with a dietitian.
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