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A Fair View on Liquid Diets: Are They Healthy?

As the name suggests, a liquid diet comprises liquids. It includes homemade or store-bought smoothies, juices, shakes, or think of anything with baby food consistency. The concept behind a liquid diet is to drink up your meal with no or very few calories. And it is no surprise that liquid diets have become a hit among people who want to drink their food and call it a day.

One of the more common reasons, or you might as well say the most popular reason why people are following liquid diets, is to manage weight. That’s because these diets are low-calorie fluid meal replacements, holding promises of weight loss, detoxing and cleansing. When carried out correctly, liquid diets work well for the overweight, and those looking for once-in-a-while juice cleanses and detoxes.

A short-term liquid diet can also help with medical conditions like difficulty swallowing. But the bigger question is, should you try a liquid diet? Is it sustainable? All diets have pros and cons, regardless of why you follow them. Scroll down to discover if the liquid diet solves your health worries and woes.

Liquid Diets for Weight Loss: Different Types

Liquid diets can work out for weight loss, controlling portion size and calories. But, are you wondering how a liquid diet can help you lose weight in the short term? Let us explore the various types of liquid diets and their weight loss mechanisms. 

Full Liquid Diet

A complete liquid diet includes any food that can instantly melt once you eat it. Hence, it provides complete nutrition and is more effective than thin, see-through liquids.

Liquids to Consume

Popsicles or other juice-based frozen treatsNut butterCooked cereals such as oatmeal or others blended with milk or waterDairy products, such as milk, yoghurt and ice creamUnsweetened pudding, custard and other similar gelatinous desserts

Meal Replacement Liquid Diet 

According to the advocates of the liquid diet, meal replacement is the best liquid diet for weight loss due to its nutritious, tasty, and filling abilities. This weight loss diet aims at fulfiling your body’s nutrient needs for proper functioning. So either opt for a comforting cup of veggie soup or pick up a green smoothie, and you can effectively work towards losing weight.

Liquids to Consume

Blended soup and brothWaterVegetable juiceNutritional shakesIce milk or smooth ice creamYoghurt (Frozen or plane)Fruit purees (Drinks or punches)Milk and makesCustardTea/coffee

Detox Liquid Diet

A detox diet aims to remove toxins from your body by adding certain juices or drinks to your diet. These fluids are easy to digest and leave little residues in your intestines. Plus, it is a great way to help your digestive system to flush out the excess pounds through toxins. 

Liquids to Consume

Water (Plain, Carbonated, or Flavoured)Clear Broth or SoupsFruits punchBlack coffeeJuices (orange, lemon, apple, grape, white cranberry)Sport drinksStrained vegetable juiceTea without milk or cream

The HealthifyMe Note

Liquid diets can include clear liquids or full liquids. Although a clear liquid diet contains fewer calories, it can’t provide adequate nutrients to sustain your body for a long. On the other hand, a full-liquid diet includes pureed whole foods, like fruits, veggies, and even meat. However, you can switch to full liquids daily for one or two meals.

Issues with the Liquid Diet

Despite the countless benefits, following a liquid diet without expert guidance can lead to potential and sudden health consequences. Here are some reasons why this short-term diet can be detrimental to your overall health in the long run.

Digestion Problems

It is no secret that you can not sustain a liquid diet for long. So, once your body gets used to a liquid diet and returns to eating solid foods, you might experience digestion issues such as constipation. Also, your digestive system requires adequate fibre to function correctly, which is a challenge with liquid diets as it does not provide enough fibre.

The hack to prevent the possibilities of such digestive problems is to move to a semi-liquid diet and gradually adapt to solid food. But, of course, you should give some time for your body to adapt to the changes.

Low Nutrition and Energy

Consuming veggies and fruits in liquid form for a prolonged period will reduce fibre and other nutrient intakes. Such a lack of nutrients will cause a low energy rate, hamper organ functioning, and weaken the immune system.

Reduced Muscle mass

Another unwanted risk of the liquid diet is a reduction in muscle mass. Once you follow a liquid diet for a long time, your body will lose lean mass muscle to provide energy to the cells, leading to potential health issues.

As per research, the detox diet, like liquid diets, produces temporary results since you will experience water loss during the diet. However, your lost weight will quickly return when you return to your regular eating pattern. 

The HealthifyMe Note

If you’re thinking of moving to a liquid diet because you think you need a detox, then you need to know that you have built-in body cleansers. For example, your liver, kidney, skin and gastrointestinal tract remove toxins through sweat, urine and bowel movements. Furthermore, there is not enough clinical research to support those liquid diets claiming to cleanse or detox the body.

Benefits of Liquid Diet

The goal of a liquid diet is to remove toxins from your body. As a result, it might help lose weight and, in some cases, improve overall health. However, the benefits lack scientific backing. 

Below are some of the advantages of a liquid diet.

Helps Lose Weight

The primary reason people adapt to a liquid diet is its immediate effect on body weight. A liquid diet generally includes protein shakes, smoothies, and juices that reduce calorie intake by 50%. As a result, the body is in a calorie deficit, leading to weight loss. Some forms of liquid diet may also burn more calories and fat, eventually leading to weight loss.

Short-Term Benefits to the Digestive System

Another key benefit of a liquid diet is that it goes easy on your digestive system. However, the benefits are in the short term. Consuming foods in liquid form will prevent various digestive issues like bowel obstruction and inflammation, allowing the bowel to rest for some time and easing the weight loss journey.

A liquid diet will train your body to be more active even when it is low on calories, which means it can improve your metabolic rate in the short term to promote weight loss.

Easy Cleansing

A liquid diet with juices, smoothies, and broths is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It means it will help your body to cleanse the organs through detoxification. In addition, some studies show the benefits of fruit and vegetable juices on antioxidant concentration and anti-inflammatory mechanisms in the human body. 

Convenient to Follow

Like other diets, you don’t have to be a chef or scroll through recipes online to prepare the meals. Instead, simply toss the ingredients in a blender, and your diet meal for the day is ready. Such convenience will prevent you from skipping meals or ordering unhealthy foods, positively influencing weight loss.

A Sample One Day Liquid Diet Plan

Thanks to social media platforms and endorsements, liquid diets are becoming more popular among fitness enthusiasts. However, you should be aware of every nook and cranny of any diet plan to predict whether the diet suits your lifestyle and specific needs. 

With expert nutritionist advice, you can formulate your diet plan based on how your body reacts to the changes. Below is a reference liquid diet plan.

Breakfast

A cup of strained fruit cerealA glass of water or coffeeA cup of fruit juice

Mid-day Snacks

Cup of pureed fruitA cup of tea

Lunch

A cup of pureed vegetablesA glass of plain milk or soy milkA cup of broth

Evening Snack

A cup of ice creamA glass of plain water

Dinner

A cup of pureed fruitA cup of creamed soupA glass of fruit juice/ water/ or soy milk1 cup of yoghurt1 cup of fruit juiceA glass of water

Planning to Follow a Liquid Diet: Here are Some Tips 

You should focus on getting the proper nutrients when on a liquid diet. It is an intelligent move to drink more high-protein liquids to help preserve lean body mass. Higher protein liquids can include regular or soy milk, bone broth and yoghurt, and if permitted, take some protein supplements. 

Prepare for a full liquid diet under the guidance of an expert, including supplements, physical activity, and diverse types of food blends. Make yourself ready to face the side effects. Sometimes, side effects will be mild, like headache, fatigue, and nausea.Drink a variety of fluids instead of sticking to one. Also, consuming the correct fluids, like those with pulp, will make you more satiated.Follow light exercise like walking and stretching on a liquid diet since high-intensity ones make you feel overtired or lightheaded.

Conclusion

Be it for health or appearance, losing weight is a common goal, regardless of age. A short-term liquid diet can do wonders for your weight loss goals and overall health when appropriately planned and executed carefully. However, weight loss is not and should not be a quick fix. 

Eventually, you will miss solid foods’ texture, aroma, and flavours, which may provoke overeating. Your body needs nutrients covering all the food groups, while a liquid diet, due to its restriction, may make you slimmer in a short period, but it is not sustainable and can never be healthy. Simply put, your body transformation should start by sticking to a healthier and more active lifestyle filled with a balanced diet and regular exercise.

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