What is a Liquid Diet?
Are you thinking of taking up liquid dieting? Or have you heard about it and are interested to try it up? A liquid diet is a kind of diet that allows you to get all your calories from drinks, without eating solid food. These diets may vary from fruit juice to vegetable juice and/or shakes. They are taken three or four times in a day and can be taken individually, or under supervision from a doctor in case it is needed.
There are different types of liquid diets. We have diets that require you to take two liquid meals, maybe in the morning or for breakfast and during lunch, and a solid healthy diet for dinner. So in this case, one meal has to be solid. Liquid diets could also involve foods that turn into a liquid at room temperature. An example of these foods includes ice creams.
In most cases, people on a liquid diet can not eat solid foods due to one reason or the other. A liquid diet is easier to digest and it should be able to provide you with all the required nutrients in the body. It is also safe for people with diabetes but still, only under a physician’s supervision.
When should you take Liquid Diet?
There are times when a doctor will recommend that you embrace a liquid diet. Remember that most of the times, if not all, a doctor has to be in the loop when you are taking a liquid diet.
You can take liquid diet if:
- When trying to lose weight.
- Before a medical procedure, say an operation.
- Medical conditions that make it hard to handle solid foods.
How to handle Liquid Diet
Ideally, no diabetic person should be on a liquid diet, especially if they are under insulin medication. However, you will have to talk to your doctor for more advice. In the event, you take up liquid diet as a diabetic, then try as much as possible to monitor the sugar levels in your drinks. You should also be ready to transition back to solid foods as fast as possible should a problem arise.
It is not recommended for expectant or nursing mothers. This group requires all the nutrients and the healthy food they can get for nurturing their young ones. Remember that apart from nurturing, your health should also be a priority.
If you have a chronic illness, a liquid diet is not recommended for you either.
If your doctor allows you to take up a liquid diet, then the best course of action is to see a dietician who will recommend the best way to proceed with the diet. He or she might recommend nutritional supplements and vitamins to cover what your liquid diet might not and keep you healthy.
It is essential to know what you are drinking, in that, if you are taking commercial drinks, then make sure you read the label well to make sure that you are getting the right amount of essential nutrients and calories.
Types of Liquid Diets
There are four different types of liquid diets available. Each diet is very specific on what it entails. These diets include:
1. Clear Liquid
At times called the surgical diet, This type of diet is used by people who are about to undergo a medical procedure such as an operation. It contains transparent liquids with no solid substances in it. Normally, the rule of the thumb is anything that you can see through.
Clear liquid diets help in maintaining of body salts, vital fluids, and minerals. They also give energy when interrupting normal food diets. Clear liquid diets are preferred because they are not only absorbed easily by the body, but they also leave no residue in the intestinal tract. This is normally helpful during surgery.
This diet includes:
- Clear fruit juice. This could be apple juice.
- Popsicles. Filtered apple juice could also make an excellent choice.
- Vegetable broth
- Clear gelatin for desserts.
- Ginger ale and other carbonated drinks.
There should not be milk or milk products on this diet.
2.Full Liquid Diet
Full liquid diet is normally categorized as a step between clear liquid diet and solid food. This includes both opaque and clear liquid foods that have a smooth consistency. It is mostly recommended after surgery involving the digestive system. It can also be used by people who are just from fasting or people who just had their jaws wired. People who also have a problem swallowing solid food can use this diet.
This diet is low on iron. Vitamin B 12, Vitamin A, as well as thiamine. It is therefore recommended that one should not use it for long because it might cause some deficiencies in the body. Supplements could be taken to compensate. Calcium is not a problem because the diet has plenty of it.
This is where you can now take milk and milk products such as milkshakes. Other milk products include:
- Eggnog, custard and puddings.
Full liquid diet also includes:
- Tea, coffee and any beverage.
- Ice cream (plain). This should not have any solid particles in it, such as fruit.
- Dark chocolate. This should melt in your mouth.
- Cream soups ( Strained ).
- Coconut milk.
- All vegetable juices. Do not take raw or cooked vegetables.
- All fruit juices are ideal. However, avoid frozen or canned fruits juices.
- Water. Water might not have any nutrients, but it is ice for hydration so drink plenty of it.
With this diet, you may also take liquid vitamin supplements as a boost.
3.Lactose Free Liquid Diet
This is recommended for people who are lactose intolerant. This diet is devoid of milk and milk products such as cheese.
This diet is mostly considered for medical reasons. A doctor will more likely be the one administering this diet. In most cases, all nutrients will be available, with only fiber lacking.
People with gastrointestinal disorders are recommended to take a lower fiber liquid diet. This allows them to get the needed nutrients without having to stress their digestive tracts. An example is people with Crohn’s disease. This disease causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract making it a very painful situation. Since people with the disease often struggle to digest their food, the diet helps, especially when symptoms flare up.
If the diet is to be used for long, then supplements should be considered. Any problems encountered with this diet should be forwarded to a physician immediately.
Liquid Diet and Loss of Weight
As mentioned before, liquid dieting can be seen as a form of losing weight. However, there are certain things that need to be looked at.
First, there are two instances when the diet can be used in losing weight. The first one is when you are about to go through a medical procedure such as a colonoscopy. On this case, a doctor will formulate your plans and follow up closely to make sure that the diet works the way he wants it to.
This also happens before an operation and you are needed to lose weight fast. In both instances, a doctor will be with you in every step of the way. There have been many instances when patients have had to be hospitalized just so their diets can be monitored more closely.
The second instance is when you are doing it for non-medical purposes. During this time it is best to talk to a registered dietitian. He or she will tell you what you need to do and guide you through the selection process. You have to remember that losing weight using this diet can be tricky because the body might start saving up on fat instead of shedding it.
Stick to vegetable juices or low sugar liquids. Also, stay away from solid foods. If followed right, this diet can bring about rapid weight loss. It would also be wise to research on dieting habits that will allow you to retain your desired weight for a long time, once you reach your goal.
Undesirable effects such as dizziness, gallstones, hair loss and heart damage could occur if you are not getting the right amount of nutrients.
Lacking enough fiber might lead to constipation.
Muscle loss will occur if you are not eating the right amount of proteins.
You will be at risk of burning your muscle and mass. Less carbohydrates means that the body will need to find some energy source. This will happen if you do not take enough proteins.
This diet lacks fatty acids which enhance the overall health of the brain. Fatty acids are mostly found in fatty fish such as salmon.
Example of a meal plan for one day:
A glass of apple juice
A glass of pureed vegetables
A cup of chicken, beef or vegetable broth
You might also want to snack on something. Most people fail on diets because of hunger. So for snacking, you might try:
- A cup of Yogurt
- Ice cream
- Pureed fruit
- There is always room for experimenting when it comes to diet, but always remember to keep your doctor or dietitian in the loop. This will happen if you are taking liquid diet for non-medical reasons.
- In the event you are taking it for medical reasons, remember to follow every instruction to the letter. It requires a lot of discipline and diligence to achieve the required goals.
- Should you have any problems with a liquid diet, always inform your doctor immediately.
- Keep your supplements close in case the diet will go on for a long time.
- On weight loss, light exercise will also work well to ensure that you get to your objectives faster.
- If possible, try to incorporate one solid meal in a day, unless under instructions not to do so. This will work well with people who are trying to lose weight.
Liquid dieting is not hard if you know what you are doing and what you want to achieve. As long as you are ready to follow instructions and keep an eye at nutrient levels, then you can be sure to get the same benefits as any other diet.