What is a Liquid Diet and Does it work?

liquid diet

Liquid diets are recommended to patients who are to undergo medical procedures such as colonoscopy, and sigmoidoscopy. Other than this, such a diet may also be recommended when one is recovering from a surgery or illness.

People with digestive issues like bloating, gastrointestinal problems etc., can also turn to a liquid diet. It keeps the stomach lighter and provides the nutrients which are necessary for the human body to consume every day.

Let’s get to know more about this diet.

What Is A Liquid Diet?

In this diet, all solid foods are replaced with liquid foods. The diet allows juices, protein shakes, soups, water, plain gelatin, broth, honey, tea, coffee etc.

The aim of this diet is to limit calorie intake between 500-1500 and to limit protein intake to just 45 grams.

The reason being, when calorie intake is cut off, it slows down the metabolism and helps purify the stomach from impurities such as acids.

This process is often referred to as “detox” because your body excretes impurities. Other than that, it keeps the stomach lighter and helps treat digestive problems.

Foods To Eat In A Liquid Diet

A liquid diet encourages liquid foods to keep the body hydrated and well fed with electrolytes (potassium and sodium). It provides a good amount of energy when solid foods are restricted.

Here are some of the foods that a person can eat in a liquid diet:

Fruit Juices: The main ingredient of a liquid diet is juice. One can drink a variety of fruit juices such as apple juice, grape juice etc. However, make sure to take the juices without the pulp.

Gelatin: It is a protein obtained from animal tissues, especially from ligaments and tendons. It is produced when these parts are boiled. Gelatin is jelly like and easy to digest. It contains 75 grams of sodium and 1.2 grams of protein.

Pudding: Another soft food which contains many essential nutrients that can help full the stomach. A serving of regular pudding contains 98 grams sodium, 150 grams potassium, 3.2 grams protein and some amount of fat too. A person on a liquid diet is often advised to eat pudding as it can cool the stomach and also helps in fulfilling hunger.

Vegetable Juices: Vegetables are important to include in everyday diet but solid foods can’t be eaten in a liquid diet, vegetable juices are the only option. One can take vegetable juices but without the pulp. This will provide the body with many essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals.

Fat-Free Broth: A fat free broth contains 0% fat and half the sodium which is present in a normal broth. This can be included in a liquid diet.

Other Foods: Water, soups, tea, coffee, syrup, custard, milk and yogurt (as per doctor’s instruction), melted cheese and ice cream can also be taken.

Foods Not To Eat In A Liquid Diet

The whole purpose of a liquid diet is to cut off foods that are hard to digest such as meats, veggies and all kinds of cooked food. It is important to boycott all solid foods when you’re on a liquid diet so that the diet can show promising results. 

Here are the foods that are restricted from a liquid diet: 

Meat: Meat is heavy on the stomach and contains 143 calories which is why it is restricted from the diet.

Fish: Since it contains 206 calories and 44% proteins, fish is restricted form a liquid diet.

Vegetables: Cooked and solid vegetables are not allowed to eat in a vegetable diet because they are high in fiber, therefore, not easy to digest for a person who is on a liquid diet.

All Kinds Of Solid Foods: All the foods that are solid in nature, high in calorie and protein are to be avoided in this diet.

Benefits Of A Liquid Diet

It maybe a liquid diet only but there are many benefits associated with this diet:

Easy To Digest: This diet is quite easy to digest and is often recommended to kids, old people or people who can't eat solid foods due to medical reasons. A liquid diet contains no residue and is a paste like or watery diet. Hence, it is easy to swallow and to digest as well.

Treats Stomach Problems: Gastrointestinal problems are mostly caused by a bad diet which upsets the stomach and causes various diseases like constipation, diarrhea etc.  A liquid diet is cold in nature and cools the stomach, eliminates gases and brings the stomach to rest, thus treating many stomach problems.

Helps In Recovery After Surgery:  A major surgery may restrict you from eating solid foods for some time. This is when liquid diet can help as it provides patients with nourishment and also keeps the body hydrated.

Weight Loss: Certain studies have linked a liquid diet to weight loss. Since calorie intake is lowered in the diet, weight loss is a possibility. However, it is not recommended to lose weight using this diet because it doesn’t contain all the necessary nutrients that are required by the body. 

The Verdict

One shouldn’t start a liquid diet without a doctor’s consent because it may worsen the health in certain situations. Therefore, it is wise to visit a doctor first and only continue this diet if the doctor says so. In many cases, especially before a surgery, a doctor may ask you to go on such a diet as the intestines and stomach need to be clean before certain surgeries can be performed.