For many people, weight loss is frustrating. There are so many diets promising great results, and it’s hard to figure out which one works. What makes it more confusing is that everyone’s body is different, and therefore the weight loss results vary greatly. What works for one might not work for another. The liquid diet is one of the many diets that promise to help you lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks. Although extremely restrictive, it works for some. Also, you might have seen people display 14-day liquid diet weight loss results that make you want to try it. So, here’s what you need to know before you go on a 14-day liquid diet.
What Are Liquid Diets?
Liquid diets are one of the most restrictive eating plans. They should not be followed for a long period, and 14 days is enough as any longer might have dangerous complications (3). A liquid diet consists of consuming nothing but liquids during that time, although some people allow themselves to consume 8 ounces of solid food daily.
The calories you need per day depending on your weight, height, age, gender, and lifestyle (14). If you want to undergo this kind of diet, then you’ll probably find it hard to ensure you’re getting enough nutrients. A nutritionist or personal trainer will make sure your body gets all the vitamins and minerals it needs to function properly, while you are going through the two weeks.
Liquid diets consist mainly of soups, smoothies, or shakes. While in some cases the liquid diet is prescribed by doctors as a pre- or post-operation eating plan, some people do it only to shed weight (3).
How Do These Diets Work?
The basis of these diets is they reduce your calorie intake. As a result, your body starts burning the excess fat you have stored. However, what many don’t realize about these diets is that if you don’t burn more calories than you consume, then there’s no way to lose weight. No matter how many pounds of fat is burned within two weeks, unless you consume fewer calories than those burned per day, the scale won’t move the way you want it to. This is also independent of the weight loss method (9).
The reason for this is simple – a liquid diet doesn’t always equal a low-calorie diet. For example, meal replacement shakes (especially those you make at home) can have a lot of calories, depending on the ingredients. Having two (2) or three (3) of these per day is fine since you’ll end up consuming about 800-1200 calories if you’re not eating solid food. But having too many shakes, and going above your regular calorie intake, can be disastrous for your weight loss efforts.
To get better results, it is recommended to go on an exercise program during and after the diet period. This way you can burn even more calories while supporting muscle development and lose fat from your body. A lot of people tend to gain back their weight after completing these diets because they don’t stick to following a healthy eating pattern (13).
Types Of Liquid Diets
An all-liquid diet comes in many forms, depending on what you drink and how often you’re on the diet.
One can fast for three to five days by consuming water only or a combination of water and sometimes herbal teas without sugar (12). This diet is meant to detox your body from within, but you may experience fatigue and nausea if you are not used to it or don’t know how to water fast.
Water fasting weight loss is often temporary because most people can’t stay on this diet long enough to lose a significant amount of weight and keep it off.
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Alternate Day Fasting
Alternate day fasting is a more lenient approach that allows people to consume liquid on alternate days while having regular solid food on the other days of the week (8). It’s a good plan if you want to keep up with your daily routine while experiencing fewer hunger pangs, which usually affect those who stick to water fasting.
This type of diet is more flexible, as on your fasting days, you can choose to have clear liquids only (broth, juices, teas, and water) or meal replacement shakes that have more nutrients and are more filling.
Meal Replacement Liquid Diet
The meal replacement liquid diet involves substituting your meals with protein shakes. If you are overweight, this might work for you because it offers quick results (up to 10 pounds in 2 weeks!) without requiring much effort.
The protein shakes in this diet can be store-bought or homemade. Since these products contain a lot of proteins, they help people lose weight by reducing appetite while keeping their metabolism stable (1).
Clear Liquid Diet
The clear liquid diet is the most restrictive one. Unfortunately, it’s also the most popular among people who are desperate to lose weight as soon as possible. It involves drinking only clear liquids for some time (4). On this diet, you’re not allowed to have shakes and smoothies that have grains and other foods. You’re required to have only juices, tea, clear broths, and water.
Read More: Clear Liquid Diet: Uses, Benefits, And Tips
Pros Of Liquid Diets
Despite their restrictive nature, these diets will give you initial results. Here are some pros of going on a liquid diet plan:
An all-liquid diet can help you lose weight quickly if done right, in a healthy way, and combined with exercise (2).
While you should use them to lower your calorie consumption, you should still consume enough to give you energy for daily activity and exercise. You also need to make sure you’re taking all the nutrients your body needs. It’s harder to do so on water fasts and liquid detoxes but easier on the meal replacement liquid diet.
Kick-Start Healthy Eating
Going on a liquid diet helps when you’re trying to cut out specific food groups as part of an elimination diet, or if you wish to simply clean up your diet. After a few days of basic liquids, you may start reintroducing healthy foods and stay away from processed junk.
Cheap And Easy
Is there any diet that’s cheaper than one which requires you to drink nothing but plain water? Most liquid diets are quite affordable and require less planning and cooking than other types of diets.
Of course, a liquid diet will provide quick results. Whether those are healthy or not is another matter.
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Cons Of Liquid Diets
The cons of taking nothing but liquids for 14 days outweigh any benefits of this diet plan.
Temporary Weight Loss
May cause weight gain after you stop this kind of diet plan. Your body is in starvation mode, and therefore it starts saving calories, which means that when you resume your normal eating habits, even if you go back to healthy foods and not junk food, all those excess calories will start showing up on the scale (7). This way, your body becomes accustomed to a calorie deficit. If it doesn’t get one anymore, then it may increase its weight.
Lack Protein Necessary For Building Muscle
Liquid diets are low in protein and can make you lose a lot of lean muscle mass as you lose weight. Even though you seem thinner after finishing the diet plan, chances are that some of the weight wasn’t fat but was lean body mass. Without muscle, your body burns fewer calories, and you might eventually gain more weight (11).
It is very hard to ignore hunger pangs since liquids don’t fill you up as much as solid food does, and it can be hard to disregard the feeling of hunger. If you’re used to eating regularly throughout the day, then having a liquid diet might lead to overeating once you resume your regular diet.
Restrictive diets can exacerbate eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder (BED) (6). Women who have been diagnosed with these conditions should never try going on any diet without consulting their doctor first.
If you’re going to do a water fast, prepare yourself for side effects like headaches, fatigue, dizziness, bad breath, nausea, and constipation. Drinking more water only provides temporary relief from these symptoms, but your health is at risk if you decide to ignore them.
As already mentioned, drinking only water for a few days can lead to dehydration. If you experience headaches, bad breath, and fatigue – don’t panic! – those are just mild signs of dehydration. About 20 to 30% of water is derived from foods you consume (5). But it’s not something you should ignore because when your body starts losing too much water (more than 1% per day), you may develop more serious problems like muscle cramps or even kidney failure.
Increased Risk Of Nutrient Deficiencies
If you decide to do a water fast or any other liquid diet, make sure you’re taking at least some supplements because most of the essential vitamins and minerals are not present in such diets (10).
You may feel tired or bored if you’re drinking only liquids for days on end. You need to stay motivated, and that means switching from your usual breakfast option to something new every few days, experimenting with different beverages, or having shakes instead of full meals.
The Bottom Line
If done properly, and not for too long (14 days or less), liquid diets can help you lose weight. However, they are quick-fix solutions for weight loss that cost more than they are worth. A liquid diet is usually followed by weight regain when you start eating solid food again. Furthermore, it can create severe nutrient deficiencies. To ensure there are no complications after completing one of these diets and make sure you can maintain your weight loss, consult with an experienced nutritionist or doctor before embarking on such a diet plan.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Calorie Restriction and Fasting Diets: What Do We Know? (2018, nia.nih.gov)
- Clear liquid diet (2020, mayoclinic.org)
- Clear Liquid Diet – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Contribution of Water from Food and Fluids to Total Water Intake: Analysis of a French and UK Population Surveys (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Dieting and the Development of Eating Disorders in Overweight and Obese Adults (2020, jamanetwork.com)
- Do Liquid Diets Help You Lose Weight? (2020, webmd.com)
- Effect of Alternate-Day Fasting onWeight Loss, Weight Maintenance, and Cardioprotection Among Metabolically Healthy Obese Adults (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Fat loss depends on energy deficit only, independently of the method for weight loss (2007, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Full Liquid Diet – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Increasing muscle mass to improve metabolism (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Is fasting safe? A chart review of adverse events during medically supervised, water-only fasting (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Maintenance of lost weight and long-term management of obesity (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- What should my daily intake of calories be? (2019, nhs.uk)