Very Low Calorie Diet: Total diet replacement options

Achieving rapid weight loss with a balanced diet replacement programme can be very motivating, but sticking to a low calorie diet can be difficult too. If you have been referred into our free REWIND programme, your care team will provide regular follow up and support. However, for the moment, you will need to pay the costs of the diet replacement. These can be as little as £2.30 a day, no more than you'd normally pay for food.

Most people will follow an 800 calorie total diet replacement programme consisting of soups, shakes or snacks. When following this type of programme it is important to make sure you still eat a nutritionally balanced diet.

The 800 calorie a day Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) course normally lasts for 24 weeks: 12 weeks spent replacing all your meals with soups, shakes and snacks from a specially formulated diet plan, and then 12 weeks gradually reintroducing normal food. This approach is challenging and not for everyone, but it offers the highest chance of achieving significant weight loss over a short period.

We strongly recommend that you speak to your health team before following any of these approaches, particularly if you are on insulin, sulphonylureas (such as gliclazide) or SGLT-2 medication (drug names ending in gliflozin), or have complications such as heart or kidney problems.

Some commercially available resources are listed below.

Cambridge Weight Plan

Cambridge Weight Plan

The Cambridge Weight Plan (now The 1:1 Diet) products include: Shakes, bars, soups, meals, desserts, smoothies, meals, a very low sugar range and a vegan range.

All products are nutritionally complete (33% NRV for vitamins & minerals), approx 200 kcal, high in quality protein, with essential fatty acids and meet the current European Standards.

Allergens vary per product. Milk and Soy are consistent across all shake

1:1 products have been tested in dozens of clinical trials and shown to typically reduce weight by an average of 10 to 15 kg, reverse diabetes, reverse pre-diabetes, treat osteoarthritis and obstructive sleep apnoea. Most recently: DROPLET

At present products are distributed through a network of independent consultants.

Exante diet


Exante's products include: Shakes (17 flavours), bars, soups, meals, desserts, weight loss drinks, bundles, a very low sugar range and a vegan range.

Cost for 12 weeks is £239.40 using 2 week boxes at £2.85 per day

The products are nutritionally complete when following the Exante 800 Calorie plan or when consuming 3 products per day and meet the European Standards being introduced from 2020.

Allergens vary per product. Milk and Soy are consistent across all shake. There is a range of Vegan Shakes which are Vegan Approved, and most of the products in the core ranges are are Vegetarian Society Approved and Gluten Free. There are clear labels and full nutritional information on each product page. 

Exante products are stocked in some Superdrug stores.

Exante products were used in a medical study that aired on ITV 1 on the 13th & 14th June 2018 called The Fast Fix: Diabetes




LighterLife offers a wide range of weight loss Foodpacks as TDR, Very Low Calorie/Energy Diets (VLCD) and Meal Replacement products. These are available in 30+ flavours in the form of instant pots, textured meals, bars, soups and shakes. There are ancillary zero Calorie products (drinks mixes, fibre mix, mousse mix, raspberry jelly and savoury broth) which a patient can take freely to assist with compliance.

Cost for 12 weeks is £504 using Total Diet Replacement Foodpacks ranging from £1.50 - £2.50 per meal (minimum £6 per day). Additional support available:

  • Xpress slimming club meetings using behaviour change techniques (mindfulness) are free
  • LighterLife CBT Counselling with qualified Counsellors is £12.50 +VAT per week.

The LighterLife Foodpack product range is nutritionally complete when used and administered as a Total Diet Replacement and meets EU regulations.

Special dietary requirements catered for include:  Vegetarian, vegan, gluten free



Optifast Total Diet Replacement products include a range of instant shakes: Strawberry, Chocolate, Vanilla, Coffee. Instant Soup: Vegetable. Meal Bars: Chocolate, Berry.

Each serving contains approx 200kcals and 20g protein. Four portions per day provides all the required vitamins and minerals in an adult diet. 

Current formulation meets the existing EU regulations.

Cost for 12 weeks is £336 using 4 shakes per day (£4 per day)