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Is Angel Locsin’s 800-Calorie Diet Right For Me?

Expertly reviewed by Chris Icamen · Dietetics and Nutrition

Written by Fred Layno · Updated Mar 10, 2022

Is Angel Locsin’s 800-Calorie Diet Right For Me?

Philippine actress Angel Locsin did not keep her weight gain a secret. She celebrated it and talked about body positivity. But her recent posts on social media featuring her rapid weight loss has certainly gone viral, prompting the curiosity of several people. As it turns out, Angel has been on an 800-calorie diet, prescribed by a health clinic for weight loss.

Diet can be attractive to people who are struggling to get rid of the extra pounds they have put on during the long months of community quarantines. There is no doubt that lack of calories always leads to weight loss. However, achieving a healthy weight range is also essential for optimal health. Before going on a diet, other factors should be considered. Are you healthy? Does it promote emotional and mental well-being? Will it help the body recover? Is it sustainable?

What is a very low-calorie diet?

A very low calorie diet, like Angel Locsin’s, is a clinically-supervised diet plan that includes eating less than about 800 calories a day. Doctors recommend it for obese people and those who are managing diabetes, undergoing surgery, or preparing for treatment to give birth.

A very low calorie diet (VLCD) a.k.a 800-calorie diet has been used as part of a rapid weight loss program for obese people since the 1970s. This diet is prescribed to patients for a short period of time as part of a comprehensive weight loss program. Patients must meet certain criteria, including a BMI or body mass index of 30 or higher, and must have a medical reason to lose weight immediately.

Diet usually involves replacing regular foods with low-calorie bars, smoothies, soups, or porridges. They are not the first option for managing obesity and should not be used frequently. An 800-calorie diet should only last for up to 12 weeks under medical supervision. Do not follow a very low calorie diet unless your doctor recommends it.

Benefits of 800-Calorie Diet and Other VLCD

Ketogenic VLCDs are effective short-term and sometimes long-term treatments for pediatric patients with type 2 diabetes. It improves glycemic control and BMI. It also allows the discontinuation of exogenous insulin use, as well as of other anti-diabetes drugs.

Some people need rapid weight loss under medical supervision. For example, a person who is very restricted due to hip or knee osteoarthritis can fall into a difficult cycle. They are restricted in movement due to pain, which limits their energy production and makes it difficult to lose weight.

People in this situation often wait for joint replacement surgery, which may improve health and quality of life, but may have too high a body mass index (BMI) to be considered. People in this situation can benefit from an 800-calorie diet if other diets do not result in the desired weight loss.

Risks of 800-Calorie Diet

While Angel Locsin’s transformation makes VLCD an attractive weight loss option, it does have some minor side effects. The most common are

  • Dry mouth and skin
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Dizziness / orthostatic hypotension
  • Exhaustion
  • Poor tolerance of cold temperature
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Hair loss

Research published in the International journal of obesity and related metabolic disorders analyzed 4,026 people on a diet using a 420 kcal VLCD for more than 40,000 weeks. They listed postural dizziness and fatigue as the most common problems. The most common complaint after long-term use of VLCD was hair loss. The most serious side effects were exacerbation of gout and acute psychosis.

Low-calorie diet for sustainable weight loss?

Many low-calorie diets can lead to weight loss in the short term. After the diet is complete, the weight lost will most likely come back. A low-calorie diet should be part of a larger plan, NOT a long-term weight management strategy. A low-calorie diet is not suitable for most people.

In an interview published in the Manila Bulletin, Juvy Sy of the Nutritionist Dietitians’ Association of the Philippines says, “This diet will not supply your optimum energy requirements for daily activities. Your source of glucose will be very limited to supply the needs of our functional brain. The least that we can use the 800 kcal is if it’s very significant to be part of the medical management.” If you think an 800-calorie diet may benefit you, talk to your doctor. A very low calorie diet is not suitable if:

  • Under 18
  • Pregnant
  • Breastfeeding
  • Have an eating disorder

If your doctor believes that a very low-calorie diet will benefit you, they should ensure that:

  • The diet is nutritious
  • The diet lasts up to 12 weeks (continuous or intermittent)
  • Continuous support even after a diet

A very low calorie diet is the most restrictive diet as it significantly reduces calorie intake. Therefore, before trying to emulate Angel Locsin, make sure you do it under medical supervision.

Learn more about Special Diets here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Expertly reviewed by

Chris Icamen

Dietetics and Nutrition

Written by Fred Layno · Updated Mar 10, 2022

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