If you are gearing up towards losing weight using a liquid diet, you will be required to make up a liquid diet meal plan. Working with a meal plan makes your weight loss journey straightforward. Apart from this, the thought of crafting a meal plan, especially one incorporating liquid diets, is nerve-wracking, to say the least. Most people are barely familiar with the liquid diet plan, let alone suitable liquid diets. That said, in this diet we will be discussing the liquid diet concept. We will break down what it entails, its safety and effectiveness when used for weight loss. Keep reading to discover the dos and don’ts when crafting your 30-day liquid diet weight loss plan.
What Is A Liquid Diet?
The liquid diet is merely what the name suggests. It is a diet plan that involves getting all or most of your calories from beverages (6). Please note that there are different types of liquid diets, one of the most common being the clear liquid diet plan.
One reason why people choose to go on a liquid diet is for weight loss. The idea is to substitute all or most of your meals with these restrictive drinks in order to prompt weight loss. In other situations, people may need to go on a liquid diet for medical reasons or when recovering from a surgery.
As mentioned earlier, there are several types of liquid diet plans.
Of these plans, some will allow you to replace one meal, while others will demand you substitute all meals. Similarly, some plans will include snacks, while others will be pretty restrictive and not include any snacks. Speak to your doctor and nutritionist before deciding what type of liquid diet to follow.
How Many Calories Do You Consume In A Liquid Diet?
The calories may differ depending on the type of liquid diet you choose. According to MedlinePlus, most individuals following a full liquid diet aim to consume 1350 to 1500 calories (4). Additionally, their daily protein intake goal is at least 45 grams (4).
Remember that an average woman needs around 2000 calories daily and an average male 2500 calories (5). Looking at these two calorie figures, we can see a huge difference, meaning that the calorie intake on a liquid diet may be pretty restrictive.
So, talk to your doctor and nutritionist if you consider following this diet plan for an extended duration. Medline Plus acknowledges that your nutritionist may recommend the inclusion of various foods to increase your calorie intake in such cases. Some of these foods include (4):
- Nonfat dry milk
- Strained meats that are added in broths
- Sugar or syrup, which you may add various drinks
- Margarine or butter, which you may add to soups
- Instant breakfast powder to add to your custards
- Protein powders or powdered egg whites that may be added to various beverages
In addition to adding these foods to increase the calorie count, there are other specific strategies you can adapt, according to experts, to make this diet plan more manageable. They are as follows (3):
- Taking nutritional supplements. As we have earlier determined, the chances of getting nutritional deficiencies when following this diet are pretty high due to its strict restrictions. To avoid these deficiencies, experts may recommend you take supplements. However, they should be approved by a doctor.
- Hydrating. They also suggest getting enough water instead of just drinking water whenever you feel thirsty. Bear in mind that hydrating is as essential in weight loss as it helps in keeping hunger pangs at bay.
- Consuming an electrolyte drink
- Trying out different flavors. For example, in the case of electrolyte drinks, you can try the salty and gelatin flavors. Switching up the flavors once in a while helps minimize any craving.
- Adhering to the doctor’s rules. If the doctor has suggested you follow this meal plan, perhaps because of an oncoming surgery, make sure you follow their rules to the letter. One single mistake, such as having a fruit snack, may disrupt the surgery schedule. If not, it may lead to an incorrect diagnosis if the doctor was set to conduct an MRI to determine the underlying medical condition.
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Do Liquid Diet Plans Promote Weight Loss?
These diets help you cut your calorie intake, which effectively creates and maintains a calorie deficit for weight loss. That said, you need to know that these diets are not healthy when followed long-term.
According to WebMD, this diet plan is not safe to follow for weight loss because of the following reasons:
It Causes Rapid Weight Loss
WebMD acknowledges that these diets drastically cut your calorie intake, which may result in rapid weight loss (4). Rapid weight loss has been deemed unhealthy as it is associated with side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, hair loss, muscle loss, and menstrual irregularities in women (8). Again, rapid weight loss may also cause electrolyte imbalance, gallstones, and nutrition deficiencies (8).
It Is Very Restrictive
Liquid diets are very restrictive, no matter the type of liquid diet you choose to follow. By drastically cutting your calories, these diets limit your consumption of healthy, nutritious foods. As a result, you run the risk of suffering from malnutrition or nutrition deficiencies.
It Significantly Decreases Your Metabolism
A working metabolism is pivotal for weight loss. It burns calories even when you are at rest. Unfortunately, liquid diets reduce your metabolism to allow your body to save energy. Consequently, your body cannot torch as many calories as it would otherwise.
It Is Highly Likely You Will Regain The Weight
Unless you change your eating patterns and behaviors, you will most likely regain the pounds you lost using this restrictive diet plan (4). This means, after you stop following the liquid diet, go ahead and maintain a healthy eating pattern. You do not necessarily have to limit yourself to liquid diet foods. Instead, you can look for healthy diets that include both solid and liquid foods that promote long-term weight loss.
What Is A Clear Liquid Diet?
The assumption is that a clear liquid diet restricts an individual to water consumption only. However, that is not the case. Instead, a clear liquid diet is an eating plan that restricts an individual to suitable liquids only (3).
You should not consume any solid food when following this diet. Again, note that the nutrition plan emphasizes suitable liquids. Therefore, some liquids are banned when you are following this diet.
This aspect brings us to the concept of what you can and cannot eat when following this diet. According to Medical News Today, you are required to consume the following liquids in this diet (3):
- Clear juices that do not contain pulp
- Clear broths
- Sports drinks and electrolyte beverages
- Club soda and ginger ale
- Plain popsicles without any chunk or pureed fruit
- Coffee and tea without any milk or cream
- Gelatin products
- Hard candy
These are the suitable drinks that you can consume if you have been prescribed a clear liquid diet by your doctor.. Clear liquid diets are normally used for medical reasons only and should not be followed long-term or without medical supervision. The unsuitable liquids that you need to keep away from during this plan are:
- Dairy products like milk
- Soda and cola
- Alcoholic beverages
- Vegetable and tomato juices
Example Of A Full Liquid Diet Menu
Most liquid diet weight loss plans include soups and broths. Take a look at the following one-day liquid diet sample plan:
- Breakfast: Peanut Butter and Jelly Yogurt Bowl
- Lunch: Turkey Bean Soup (Calories- 242, Carbs- 30 g, Fat- 2 g, and Protein- 26 g) (9)
- Dinner: Vegetable, lentil, and garbanzo bean stew (Calories- 287, Carbs- 41 g, Fat- 7 g, and Protein- 13 g) (10)
Can You Eat Fruits When Following A Clear Liquid Diet?
We have heard before that fruits and vegetables play a vital role in our bodies. In light of this, experts recommend consuming two to three servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Based on this, you would assume that you are also expected to consume fruits in this diet plan.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. You are not required to take any fruit or vegetable in that matter, even if it is deemed healthy (3). In addition, you are also not allowed to consume any vegetable juice as it has been classified as an unsuitable liquid to drink in this diet.
Why Settle For A Clear Liquid Diet?
Your doctor may recommend you start a clear liquid diet plan for a couple of reasons. These include:
Preparation Of A Medical Procedure
Some medical procedures may require you to go on a clear liquid diet plan beforehand. These include:
- An imaging test. You will need to go on a clear liquid diet to make sure that nothing remains in your intestines. This way, your physician has an easy time diagnosing the right medical condition.
- Colonoscopy or endoscopy. Before undergoing either of these two procedures, your doctor may recommend this diet plan. It allows for easy examination of the inside of your bowels.
- Surgery. Whether or not your doctor tells you to go on a clear liquid diet before surgery, the fact is that you will stop consuming solid hours roughly eight hours beforehand. However, some surgeries, such as one in your intestines, may require you to follow the diet plan for an extended duration.
When You Are Recovering From A Medical Procedure
There are some medical procedures that may make you follow this diet plan merely because you cannot consume solid foods soon afterwards. Some of these include (3):
- A medical procedure that used general anesthesia. You may experience nausea and vomiting that may hinder you from eating solid foods in such a case. In other cases, you may be unable to swallow food properly, an aspect that may increase your risk of choking or breathing in food. Before settling on the diet, doctors may recommend you start by sucking some ice chips, then sipping some water, and finally following the clear liquid diet plan until you are ready for more solid foods.
- After a bariatric or any other intestinal surgery. You cannot consume solid foods after such surgeries because you need to give your digestive tract enough time to heal. In this case, your doctor may recommend following a clear liquid diet for a few days. Down the line, you will be required to go back to your normal nutrition plan, but under your doctor’s supervision.
When Preventing Gastrointestinal Distress
This may only happen if your doctor diagnoses symptoms such as diverticulitis, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. In this case, your doctor may suggest following this diet plan for a short time to give your bowel enough time to rest and heal while preventing dehydration.
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Does The Clear Liquid Diet Promote Weight Loss?
Since this diet falls under the liquid diet plan, it means that it can promote weight loss. However, it will not be in a healthy manner due to its overly restrictive nature. It is not meant to be followed for more than a few days, and it is not intended to be used as a weight loss diet. In light of this, food experts suggest trying other healthy weight loss diet plans.
One healthy weight loss meal plan you can consider is the vegetarian diet plan. It contains plant-based foods that are low in calories, helping you maintain a calorie deficit healthily (2).
Similarly, experts state that the diet plan has healthy food substitutes that meet all your nutritional requirements. For example, it includes quinoa and tempeh for protein, seeds, and nuts for omega-3 fatty acids, and soy milk rich in vitamin D (2).
How Much Weight Can You Lose With The 30-Day Liquid Diet Plan?
We understand that losing weight is challenging and that more often, most of us are always looking for shortcuts. That said, whenever some of us hear of diets that promise that we can lose ten to twenty pounds in a week, we jump in headfirst without researching the aftermath.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests you aim at losing one to two pounds in a week as this is the healthy weight loss range (7). So, if you were to lose more than two pounds weekly following this diet plan, it would mean it is a fad diet as it promotes rapid weight loss.
In this case, you are advised to ditch the program and look for a healthier one. This is because this diet promotes rapid weight loss, which causes more serious effects such as hair loss, muscle loss, and nutritional deficiencies.
Is The Clear Liquid Diet Safe For Weight Loss?
A clear liquid diet is not suitable for weight loss, especially when you are ill or undertaking a medical procedure (3). However, Medical News Today suggests it is safe to follow for three to five days and under strict medical supervision for medical reasons, not for weight loss (3).
It is not safe for weight loss because of its limited nutritional value that can cause nutritional deficiency. Even so, these diets are not recommended for individuals with (3):
- A low body mass index (BMI)
- An eating disorder
- Several endocrine disorders
- Nutritional or electrolyte imbalances
It is also not safe because if followed long-term, it leads to far more serious health complications. In this case, you will experience numerous signs and symptoms of nutritional deficiencies, mainly including (3):
- Muscle pain
- Mood changes
- Heart problems
- Bone damage
The other reason it is not safe for weight loss is due to its short-term nature. It cannot work long-term because once you start eating normally, you will most likely indulge in a calorie surplus that often leads to unnecessary weight gain.
Can Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women Follow This Diet Plan?
Man or female, breastfeeding or not, the best approach to settling on a diet plan is seeking professional advice. Your doctor will assess if you are in the right shape, health, and mindset of losing weight using such a restrictive program. Most healthcare providers do not encourage lactating women to follow such restrictive weight loss diet plans, and pregnant women generally should not be attempting to lose weight at all.
Can You Use A Liquid Diet For Detox?
Detox diets have become pretty common due to the increased demand for dieters to detoxify for weight loss. However, even though dieters believe that detox diets help cleanse the body of toxins to promote weight loss, experts acknowledge that is not the case.
Instead, they argue that detox diets are unnecessary because the body itself is in control of the detoxification process (1). They go further to state that the body continually removes harmful substances without being triggered by any diet. The process is regulated by multiple body organs, including the kidneys, skin, and liver (1). This means that the 30-day liquid weight loss diet plan may not be essential to trigger detoxification.
The Bottom Line
The 30-day liquid diet plan is not for everyone. It is suitable for individuals who are gearing up to undergo surgery or are recovering from specific surgeries, and for a much shorter period than 30 days. However, if you follow this diet plan for weight loss, you need to understand that this plan is not healthy.
It is very restrictive, promotes rapid weight loss, and has limited nutritional value. Additionally, it is not effective as you may regain weight once you stop following this diet plan. So, instead of using this diet plan for weight loss, you are asked to consider other healthier weight loss meal plans.
Again, talk to your nutritionist to help craft your 30-day liquid diet weight loss plan if you still want to use it. Perhaps of greater significance in any individual is health and not weight loss.
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 for decision-making. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- ‘Detox diets’: Does science support the claims? (2021, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Can a vegan diet help you lose weight? (2018, medicalnwstoday.com)
- Clear liquid diet: What you need to know (2021, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Full liquid diet (2020, medlineplus.gov)
- How many calories should I eat a day? (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Liquid Diet (2020, webmd.com)
- Losing Weight (2020, cdc.gov)
- Rapid Weight Loss (2019, webmd.com)
- Turkey bean soup (2019, mayoclinic.org)
- Vegetable, lentil, and garbanzo bean stew (2015, mayoclinic.org)