If you’re looking to lose weight quickly, liquid diets might be an option for you. But are they safe? And what about the side effects of a liquid diet? The most important thing to remember is that not all liquid diets are created equal. There’s no one size fits all solution when it comes to losing weight so it’s best to do your research before starting any program. Here we’ll talk about some common types of liquid diets and explore the pros and cons of each type. Plus we’ll discuss 7-day liquid diet weight loss results.
How To Lose Weight In 7 Days With A Liquid Diet
A liquid diet is a choice that people who want to lose weight quickly sometimes make. The reason being that meal replacement shakes or soups can lower the number of daily calories consumed by a person, helping them to lose weight rapidly and easily. This weight loss is however usually short lived (8).
Types Of Liquid Diets
There are several types of liquid diets:
Detox Liquid Diet
A detoxification diet supposedly helps you eliminate harmful toxins from your body, which are sometimes blamed for problems like fatigue, indigestion, headaches etc. Such diets include juices extracted from leafy vegetables and fruits rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help keep your body healthy. This diet is, however, very low in energy, protein, essential fats, and certain vitamins and minerals, making it unsafe to follow for very long. There is also no evidence to support the use of detox diets or cleanses for weight loss or toxin elimination. Your body already does that on its own (11).
Meal Replacement Liquid Diet
While on a meal replacement liquid diet, you’ll be replacing your regular meals with healthy shakes and soups (though not necessarily at the same time during the day). It is considered an effective way to lose weight in some cases (10).
These diets are available in various forms like ready-to-drink shakes, powdered mixes that have to be mixed at home and recipes you can make from scratch at home with fresh ingredients. All these products can help you replace your meals with a lower-calorie substitute, making it easier for you to monitor how many calories you’re consuming.
Clear Liquid Diet
A clear liquid diet refers to a diet consisting of liquids that you can see through (1). They are normally used for a very short time before or after certain surgeries or for other medical reasons. Any foods that are considered liquid or partly liquid at room temperature are allowed. You can consume a variety of these, but remember not to have any solid food while on this diet plan. Clear liquids you can have on this diet include; fat-free broth, coffee without milk, juices without pulp, tea without milk, strained vegetable juice, sports drinks, and plain gelatin.
Full Liquid Diet
A full liquid diet gives you more nutrition than a clear liquid diet (5). It is also mainly used for medical or surgical reasons, often as the step between a clear liquid diet and more solid foods. You may eat foods that are liquid or turn liquid at room temperature on a full liquid diet. You’re allowed to have clear fluids as well as thicker ones, such as milk, fruit juice, shakes, and smoothies.
What To Include In Your Liquid Diet Menu Plan?
If you are wondering about the content of your meal replacement shakes and soups, here’s what they generally look like:
Meal Replacement Shakes
These contain high amounts of carbs and proteins, which makes them more filling and satisfying than regular drinks. They may also contain fiber, which slows down the release of sugars into bloodstreams (3). This helps you control hunger pangs without increasing caloric intake. Meal replacement shakes can be purchased or made at home using whole grains, plant-based milk, protein powders, fruits, and vegetables.
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These consist of pureed foods such as vegetables, chicken broth, beans, and strained juices. You can add spices and herbs to give your soup a dash of flavor.
Fruit And Vegetable Smoothies
These are made with yogurt or plant-based milk and fruits like bananas, blueberries etc. You can even include veggies in your smoothie for added benefits (6).
Sample Liquid Diet Menu Plan
Some liquid diets are as simple as taking a liquid e.g soup, or broth, whenever you’re hungry during the day. However, more flexible plans involve replacing two meals with liquids and having one solid meal at the end of the day. Others allow whole days of solid meals to break up the liquid fasts.
Here is how a day of meals on the full liquid diet plan looks like:
- Breakfast: 1 cup of cereal thinned with whole milk, 1/2 cup fruit juice
- Snack: 1/2 cup liquid dietary supplement, 1/2 cup yogurt
- Lunch: 2 cups of soup, 1/2 cup fruit juice, 1 cup of chocolate pudding
- Snack: 1/2 cup liquid dietary supplement, 1/2 cup yogurt
- Dinner: 1 cup blended oatmeal thinned with whole milk, 2 cups vegetable soup
- Snack: 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream, 1/2 cup liquid dietary supplement.
Here is how a full day of meals on the meal replacement liquid diet plan looks like:
- 8 a.m. – Meal replacement shake
- 9 a.m. – 1 cup of skim milk
- 11 a.m. – Meal replacement shake
- 1 p.m. – 1 cup of bone broth
- 2 p.m. – Sugar-free jello
- 4 p.m. – Meal replacement shake
- 5 p.m. – 1 cup vegetable broth
- 6 p.m. – Meal replacement shake
- 8 p.m. – 1 cup of bone broth (or water)
Benefits & Side Effects Of Liquid Diets
Like any other diet, the liquid diet also has its advantages and disadvantages. Here are the pros and cons you should take into account before committing to it.
Pros Of The Liquid Diet
There are a wide range of benefits that can be derived from the liquid diet. They include:
It can be effective at reducing your weight, mainly because it’s less caloric than eating solid foods. You’ll lose weight fast, since you’re consuming 400 to 800 calories per day on this diet plan (8). Although not a long-term solution, it may be that for some people, a few days on the liquid diet will help kick start the weight loss process and pave the way for real behavior change (9).
Beneficial For Health
Your digestive system gets a break from solid food on this diet plan. This is believed by some to help prevent common digestion problems like bloating, constipation, diarrhea and acid reflux in people with GERD or lactose intolerance.
Easy To Prepare
Since soups and shakes are easy to make at home, this diet isn’t too time-consuming. This means you can start it without much planning and preparation.
You don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen preparing meals for yourself every day. All you do is make a few shakes or soups, store them in airtight containers, and keep them around all day to have whenever you’re hungry again.
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Cons Of The Liquid Diet
While there are many benefits of the liquid diet, you have to keep in mind that this is a short-term weight loss plan. It can be difficult to sustain over a long period of time. Here are some other disadvantages:
On a liquid diet, your body doesn’t get enough nutrients or energy from food (5). Your metabolism slows down as well and will gradually come to a halt after just a few days on this diet plan. When you resume solid foods, all the excess weight starts coming back again. This puts the entire process of losing weight on an upward swing once again.
Muscle mass depletion may occur if you’re not careful about getting the right amount and type of protein needed to avoid muscle loss (7). On a liquid diet, it is difficult to get enough protein even if you make an effort to include it.. This can lead to dangerous consequences like weight regain and poor immunity.
A liquid diet can make you prone to nutritional deficiencies since most of the healthy nutrients from foods are stripped away when they’re being processed into liquids (2). Some vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, iron and calcium remain intact during processing. But that’s not always true for all nutrients present in food sources (4). Plus some nutrients are simply difficult to get from liquids or foods that can be processed into liquids.
Less Energy For Daily Activities And Exercise
Since you’re consuming very little calories and nutrients on a liquid diet, you’ll feel fatigued most of the time. This makes it nearly impossible to work out at the gym or enjoy your favorite outdoor activities.
Not For Everyone
A liquid diet is not advisable for people suffering from problems like diabetes as some of these liquids can cause hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia (1). It’s also not recommended if you have a history of disordered eating. Always talk to your doctor before making any major dietary changes, especially if you have any medical condition or are on any medications.
The Bottom Line
A liquid diet is a short-term solution for people looking to lose weight quickly. However, it’s not meant to be followed for more than a few days. If you want to lose weight and keep the pounds off in the long run, concentrate on making healthy eating choices instead.
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!
- Clear Liquid Diet – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Do Liquid Diets Help You Lose Weight? (2020, webmd.com)
- Effects of Dietary Fiber and Its Components on Metabolic Health (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Food Processing and Impact on Nutrition (2015, saspjournals.com)
- Full Liquid Diet – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables 1 (2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Lean mass loss is associated with low protein intake during dietary-induced weight loss in postmenopausal women (2018, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Liquid Diet: Facts About Plans and Effectiveness (n.d., medicinenet.com)
- Rammya Mathew: Liquid diets offer promise, but we still need upstream solutions (2019, bmj.com)
- The Effect of Liquid Meal Replacements on Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Overweight/Obese Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials (2019, care.diabetesjournals.org)
- “Detoxes” and “Cleanses”: What You Need To Know (2019, nccih.nih.gov)