A liquid diet is commonly touted for their ability to facilitate drastic weight loss, but how safe and effective is it?
Although a liquid diet may deliver multiple health benefits if done correctly, it is not for everyone, and several factors should be taken into consideration before you commit to a liquid diet for weight loss or other health purposes.
Benefits of a Liquid Diet
A liquid diet may be beneficial for people who need to lose a significant amount of weight. Liquid diets may also help detoxify the body. Eliminating solid foods from the diet allows the digestive system to rest and allows the body’s detoxification system to kick in.
Advocates of liquid diets report experiencing health benefits such as increased energy, improved sleep, and clearer skin. Liquid diets may also help individuals lower their blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol, and may even help reduce the need for medications in people with chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes.
Are Liquid Diets Effective?
Liquid diets can be effective if done correctly and if made up of liquids that provide adequate nutrition. On a liquid diet, you may consume a very low amount of calories — such as 400-500 calories a day. As a result, you can end up losing a lot of weight, by burning a lot more calories than you consume (a deficit of 3,500 calories is required to lose one pound).
For most people, the difficulty is not in losing weight on a liquid diet, but in maintaining the weight loss. Ninety-five percent of people who lose weight on a liquid diet will gain the weight back, according to Vanderbilt University Department of Psychology.
For lasting weight loss, a liquid diet should be consumed with behavior modification and healthy lifestyle habits that will help you keep the weight off.
What Liquids Should You Consume on a Liquid Diet?
Because your caloric intake will be limited, you should choose liquids that provide the most nutrients possible. Fresh juices and smoothies can provide an abundance of vitamins and nutrients that will keep you from becoming malnourished.
For the best nourishment, try smoothies and juices made from a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and greens.
Commercially prepared liquid meal replacements are also available that claim to provide all the necessary vitamins and nutrients. Always check ingredients and avoid any meal replacements that contain artificial ingredients such as aspartame.
Do not attempt a long-term liquid diet that is based on only one type of liquid or unhealthy beverages.
Tips for Success With a Liquid Diet
If your goal is weight loss, do not expect to be able to return to your regular diet after losing weight with a liquid diet. If you return to your former eating habits, you will undoubtedly regain the weight you have lost. Consider your liquid diet a gateway to a healthier diet and lifestyle.
If you have to be on a liquid diet for an extended period of time, try focusing on liquids that are higher in calories so that you have enough strength and energy to sustain the diet.
Adding sources of protein, such as whey protein powder, will help you feel full. To keep from getting bored on a liquid diet, try a variety of ingredients in your juices and smoothies.
Have fruits and vegetables at home to easily make juices/smoothies, or prepared drinks on hand to make the diet convenient, and try to remove unhealthy temptations from your home or work environment.
Pureed vegetable soups can also add variety to your diet and help you feel satisfied if you find yourself craving something hot.
Always consult your doctor before starting a liquid diet or making any other major changes to your diet, especially if you are on medications that may be affected by limiting your caloric intake.