Very low calorie ketogenic diets in overweight and obesity treatment: Effects on anthropometric parameters, body composition, satiety, lipid profile and microbiota

Obes Res Clin Pract. 2020 Nov-Dec;14(6):491-503. doi: 10.1016/j.orcp.2020.08.009. Epub 2020 Sep 9.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the prevalence of obesity tripled worldwide since 1975. Obesity prevention and treatment is based upon lifestyle changes involving eating habits, physical activity and behaviour therapy. Various dietary patterns have been used as nutritional strategies and, in recent years, interest has been shown in very low calorie ketogenic diets (VLCKD) that provide less than 800 calories (kcal), no more than 20-50 g/day of carbohydrates and 0.8-1.5 g/kg ideal body weight of protein. We conducted a literature review of all clinical trials published between January 2014-November 2019 on people with obesity (PWO) that evaluated VLCKD effects on anthropometric parameters, body composition, satiety, lipid profile and microbiota. Findings from literature showed that VLCKD could be useful to ameliorate the quality of life and sleep of PWO. It leads to a rapid weight loss and results in improvements in body mass index (BMI = kg/m2), waist circumference and fat mass reduction preserving lean body mass and resting metabolic rate. This eating pattern reduced the desire to eat and increased satiety. Little is known regarding the effects of VLCKD on the microbiota of PWO for which it is important to conduct further studies.

Keywords: Anthropometric parameters; Body composition; Lipid profile; Microbiota; Obesity; Satiety; Very low calorie ketogenic diet.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Composition
  • Diet, Ketogenic*
  • Humans
  • Lipids
  • Microbiota*
  • Obesity* / diet therapy
  • Overweight* / diet therapy
  • Quality of Life


  • Lipids