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Updates in Obesity Part 2 of 3 – Myths and Diets

In part two of this three part series, Dr Jelena Radosavljevic from CBD Doctors Melbourne will discuss myths and the diets used to control obesity – both the good and the bad.

Click here to read Updates in Obesity – Myths and Diets Part 1

Although we have not found a magic pill we have found many factors that contribute to obesity in the human population. Increasingly we are also finding many potentially effectively treatments to help our patients tackle this condition.

As is also seen in hypertension, not every treatment is appropriate for every patient. Doctors often use a step wise approach in treating obesity, utilising multiple therapies and methodologies.  It is important for our patients to understand that the correct diet alone is not enough – that we all need to take the extra steps, until we find the right balance.

We health professionals commit to helping our patients along their journey through their weight loss.  Your doctor is along with you for the journey, and will be stressing in ensuring that we go through all of the steps if needed – even if this include medications and bariatric surgery.

Here are some myths about obesity –

  • We need basic 2500 calories to survive – this is a myth (I for example only require 1200 under calculation)
  • Dietary supplements often claim that they help obesity through burning calories, causing early satiety, speeding up elimination of calories. This is also a myth, with  meta-analysis proving that their effectiveness is minimal
  • A Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) is a way to lose weight and keep it off – this is a myth! Whilst effective in the short term, a VLCD is not sustainable and weight gain is common after cessation
  • The Ketogenic Diet has also been touted as a long term diet option, how has only proven to be effective in the short term, with weight gain also common after cessation

Some of the diet concepts that have surfaced in the 21st century include the Ketogenic Diet, and Fasting 5-2 (days) or 6/18 (hours) diets – these however did not show the best outcomes on an ongoing basis.  The Very Low Calorie Diet is only good as a temporary measure though has been found not be sustainable either.

All diets work work in the short term. The about are the most common myths in management – randomised double-blind controlled trials failed to prove that they work long term!  All diet plans have to be based on an individual assessment of a patient – a formula based on age, height and weight.  It has been proven that exercise – while helping insulin resistance, reducing inflammation and keeping lean muscle mass – on its own is not enough either.  What is needed to tackle obesity is a multi-disciplinary approach, which I will explain in my next article.

In the last part of ‘Updates in Obesity’ we will take a closer look at the multi-disciplinary approaches that can be taken by our patients in the fight against obesity.



Dr Jelena Radosavljevic

Practice Principal, CBD Doctors Melbourne

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