New ‘distance diet’ option for the obese

From: Howard's Way
Published: Tue Aug 04 2009

With some 45 per cent of Britain’s population now classed as ‘obese’, there are many of us who would like to shed some pounds and become both slimmer and healthier. In addition, obesity has been shown to increase the risks of contracting a range of conditions including high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, diabetes, cancer and sleep apnoea - a respiratory disorder in which breathing is made more difficult by excessive body fat around the neck or on the chest. This excess body fat constricts the airway and, sometimes, the lungs, causing short interruptions in breathing during the night.

Those who are obese and who want – or need – to lose a significant amount of weight in a relatively short time are finding a very low calorie diet (VLCD) to be an effective way of achieving their goal.

Traditionally, VLCD providers insist on their users not only changing their lifestyle but also meeting other VLCD users on a regular basis.

Penelope Howard, an expert in the field of obesity and head of the VLCD provider, Howard’s Way, explained: "We recognised that this may not suit everyone – and, more importantly, that this means that people can only embark on a VLCD if there are others in their locality who also want to go on a VLCD. So we launched an alternative, ‘distance’ dieting service – which is proving to be very successful."

Using Howard’s Way’s ‘distance dieting’ service, anyone, anywhere can order the specially formulated Howard’s Way VLCD foods – and, once the status of their health has been confirmed, they are ready to start the diet.

Moreover, Howard’s Way staff keep in contact with each dieter by telephone and are available ’24 x 7’. Email support is also available.

"With the current increase in the numbers of obese people in Britain, we feel that it is important to offer this extra service, in addition to our traditional, local group, meetings-based approach," Penelope added.

"With those on the Howard’s Way diet losing, typically, some three stones plus in the first 12 weeks and roughly a stone or more every four weeks thereafter, we believe that the ‘distance dieter’ approach could offer a valuable service to those who are – or feel – isolated and yet are keen to lose weight."


About Very Low Calorie Diets (VLCD)

A VLCD is a diet involving extremely low calorie consumption each day. It is defined medically as a diet of 800 kilocalories per day or less. VLCDs are formulated, nutritionally complete, replacement meals containing 800 kcal (3350 kJ)or less per day. VLCDs also contain the recommended daily requirements for vitamins, minerals, trace elements, fatty acids and protein. Carbohydrate may be entirely absent, or substituted for a portion of the protein - and this choice has important metabolic effects. The VLCD products are usually a powder which is mixed with water or another low calorie liquid.

A 1997 study concluded that the use of a very low calorie diet (VLCD) is very effective in rapidly improving glycaemic control and promoting substantial weight loss in obese patients with Type 2 diabetes. Moreover, a VLCD increases insulin sensitivity and reduces the substrate for gluconeogenesis. Thus VLCD treatment may improve glycaemic control more than calorie restriction alone. A VLCD is typically undertaken by an obese patient who wishes to lose a lot of weight quickly, as the risk to health that obesity presents is considered much greater than any risks of the diet itself, so long as it is undertaken with medical supervision.

Because of the extremely low calories per day, a VLCD diet cannot be used by children no matter how obese. Also, a VLCD must not be undertaken without appropriate supervision.

About Howard’s Way VLCD

Penelope Howard had worked with obese patients and a very low calorie diet (VLCD) for some five years before she founded Howard’s Way in 1998.

Those enrolling on the Howard’s Way VLCD initially agree to an 18 week programme involving regular meetings twice weekly for the first four weeks, then once a week from there on. For the ‘Distance Dieter’ these meetings are replaced with one-to-one ‘support calls’ every week. In addition, Howard’s Way staff try to speak to those beginning the diet for at least five minutes a day to provide vital ‘moral’ support.

Howard’s Way recognises that the hardest struggle is maintaining lost weight. So, while dieting, all patients are talked through weekly handouts to gain knowledge and understanding on the workings of their body and the efects of eating certain foodstuffs. Additionally, Howard’s Way Maintenance support is ‘free of charge for life’ for all our dieters.

Typically, most patients lose at least three stones (20 kilos) in weight, men often much more, in the first 12 weeks of the diet. Those who choose to carry on with the diet continue to lose about a stone (6.5 kilos) every four weeks.

The Howard’s Way VLCD comprises specially formulated foods, in the form of: milk shakes; soups; and fruit bars; containing the full complement of vitamins, minerals, protein and essential fatty acids that an adult requires but restricting the calorific intake, to induce a state of ‘mild dietary ketosis’ after day three of the diet.

Further information from:
Penelope Howard: + 44 (0)1923 773851 /
Bob Little, Bob Little Press & PR: +44 (0)1727 860405 /
Company: Howard's Way
Contact Name: Bob Little
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: +44 (0)1727 860405

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