Liquid diet to lose weight: benefits and side effects

A liquid diet is a simple and quick solution to lose weight. It involves consuming food in liquid form. Doctors often prescribe the diet for patients with digestive problems, recovering from injuries, or about to undergo surgery.

While not effective as a long-term weight loss plan, a day on a liquid diet can help detoxify your system and jump-start the weight loss process. However, be sure not to take it beyond one day, unless your dietitian suggests otherwise.

Read on and find out what this type of diet consists of, its benefits and dangers, as well as what are the various liquid diets that exist.

What is a liquid diet?

Liquid diets (also called clear liquid diets) are low-calorie foods that are liquid at room temperature. You can replace one or two meals of your day with liquid foods or follow a full liquid diet.

On a liquid diet, you will consume calories in liquid form. You can juice fruits and vegetables, make smoothies, or have soup. This diet is most often used for weight loss.

How do liquid diets help in weight loss?

Liquid diets are preferred by many dieters. This is because they help save time, improve metabolic rate, detoxify the body, and support the digestive system, resulting in weight loss and better overall health.

Here’s a look at ways liquid diets can help you lose weight, when done safely, for a short time, and with the advice of a medical specialist:

1. Low in calories

Liquid diets are low in calories, as they consist of clear, watery liquids. Studies in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that very low-calorie diets, including a liquid diet consisting of no more than 500 calories a day, could be effective for weight loss. This type of diet might work better compared to a low-calorie diet or a normal restricted diet.

When you consume fewer calories, your body will begin to use stored glycogen or fat as a fuel source. This, in turn, could lead to weight loss.

A study published in The International Journal of Obesity showed that a low-calorie diet or a very low-calorie diet resulted in muscle glycogen depletion over a short period. Body fat also decreased, resulting in weight loss.

2. Detoxify your body

Liquid diets are a great way to detoxify the body. Juices/broths/smoothies are rich in vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. It helps cleanse the digestive tract and improves gastrointestinal health. Both actions could have a beneficial impact on weight loss.

3. Nutritious

Liquid foods in the form of juice or smoothie offer rich nutrition. Remember to drink the juice/smoothie right away if you are using a centrifugal blender.

Replacing the dinner meal with low-calorie liquid foods improves body composition parameters and may also help with weight loss. In one study, the group of subjects who took a liquid meal replacement seemed to have better weight parameters.

Maintaining a balanced caloric intake along with a liquid diet throughout the day can help provide needed nutrients to the body.

4. Take care of the digestive system

Juices/smoothies/broths are gentle on your digestive system. They aid in proper digestion, absorption, and excretion. Also, the little dietary fiber and water in the liquid diet (by including pulp in juices or smoothies) can keep you full for a long time. According to one study, a liquid meal replacement was found to have more fiber than a solid meal replacement.

5. It is convenient

You don’t have to expect to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. You can simply throw all the ingredients in a blender and your breakfast/lunch/dinner is ready.

This is a huge advantage, even more so if we tend to skip a meal or order unhealthy foods, as cooking can be a time-consuming process. Going hungry or eating unhealthily could only lead to long-term weight gain.

Types of liquid diets to lose weight

For beginners, following a liquid diet can be difficult. Let’s look at the different types of liquid diets. Remember to talk to your doctor before trying any of these.

1. Liquid Detox/Cleanse Diet

Liquid detox or cleanse diets have gained popularity in the recent past. They can help detoxify your body, and you may see some results when you do a liquid detox diet once a week for a month.

On this diet, you will only drink fruit and/or vegetable juices with herbs for one day. Not only will it be a new experience, but it can also be refreshing.

However, research on detox diets is very limited. We suggest you talk to your doctor about the safety of these types of diets.

2. Meal replacement liquid diet

Liquid foods or meal replacement shakes are low in calories and may be effective for weight loss.

Certain liquid meal replacement products are high in protein and fiber and low in fat. These might be more effective at regulating appetite and curbing hunger pangs. Some research suggests that liquid meal replacement diets may be just as satiating as solid meal replacement diets.

Smoothies or juices you drink instead of a full breakfast or lunch are usually low in calories. They can also contain all of the macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) and most of the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).

These products are specifically designed to replace solid foods (which may have a higher total calorie count per serving).

3. Medical liquid diet

This diet is not to lose weight. You need special care and supervision by a doctor. This liquid diet is prescribed by a doctor to prepare the patient for surgery in the near future or to help him recover from an injury. This diet can also be prescribed to relieve digestion problems.

Medically prescribed liquid diets require patients to follow a clear liquid diet. They can only drink water, broth, apple juice, popsicles, syrup, and teas.

Who should avoid the liquid diet?

Although the liquid diet is good for weight loss, it should be avoided by pregnant and lactating women, children, and the elderly (unless your doctor recommends it).

Possible dangers of the liquid diet

These are the dangers of following a liquid diet continuously for too long:

Your immunity will weaken

you will feel dizzy

Food cravings can increase, leading to overeating

May cause muscle loss and weaken bones

May prevent proper brain function

Can cause mood swings and irrational thoughts

Makes you prone to cough and cold

causes nausea

There is little research to substantiate these side effects. But based on anecdotal evidence, following the liquid diet for several days could cause any of the side effects listed above.

Following a liquid diet for a long time can cause harm. Check with your doctor or dietitian before starting this type of diet.