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Pros and Cons of Liquid Diets for Weight Loss

by Mara Welty December 31, 2023 7 min read

 liquid diets

No matter the decade, diets continually saturate the fitness market. Many of them tout rapid weight loss, optimized nutrition and disease reduction. But, how many of those claims are true?

While a well-balanced diet iscritical to our overall health and fitness goals, diets aren’t always the solution. Even so, a liquid diet for weight loss may be an effective option for those looking to improve their health if they incorporate a wide range of nutritious, vitamin- and mineral-rich foods — blended or juiced, of course. 

What Is a Liquid Diet?

A liquid diet only incorporates foods that are liquid or liquified. Unlike a clear liquid diet, in which you can only drink water, teas, broth and gelatin, liquid diets have many compliant foods that you can incorporate into your daily meals. These foods include:

  • Pulp-free fruit and vegetable juice
  • Broth
  • Soft drinks
  • Sports drinks
  • Coffee
  • Tea 
  • Dairy or dairy-free milk
  • Milkshakes
  • Malts
  • Smoothies
  • Clear or creamed soups (no solids)
  • Honey
  • Syrup
  • Sugar 
  • Gelatin
  • Pudding
  • Custard
  • Ice pops
  • Ice cream
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Sorbet
  • Yogurt
  • Melted cheese 
  • Powdered protein
  • Liquid dietary supplements (Ensure, Glucerna, Boost)

For a food to qualify for a liquid diet, you can’t be able to chew it. It’s very common for people who are about to undergo a medical procedure or surgery to need to adhere to a liquid diet. However, many people will go on liquid diets to support their weight loss journey, too. 

All that said, it’s believed that liquid diets are beneficial to your overall health for many reasons. 

Liquid Diets Pros

Typically, a liquid diet plan is short-term; however, your healthcare provider may prescribe a long-term liquid diet plan based on your medical needs.

Fortunately, liquid diets can provide many advantages to your overall health and fitness — the first being weight loss support

For people who have looked into how to lose weight naturally, the liquid diet may have come up in their research. Since liquid diets reduce the amount of calories you need and provide a certain extent of portion control, it’s relatively common to lose weight when only drinking liquids. That said, despite what certain diet fads and weight loss myths may push, any diet that restricts calories can help you lose weight. A calorie deficit — eating less calories than your body uses in a day — is the fundamental principle behind weight loss. When you consume fewer calories than your body needs for its daily activities and functions, it starts tapping into stored energy reserves, leading to weight loss.

These reserves include glycogen stored in the liver and muscles, as well as triglycerides stored in adipose tissue:

  • Glycogen – Glycogen is the body's short-term energy storage derived from carbohydrates, and it can be quickly broken down to provide energy. 
  • Triglycerides – On the other hand, triglycerides are a more concentrated form of energy stored in fat cells, serving as a long-term energy reserve. 

As your body enters a state of calorie deficit, it begins utilizing glycogen for energy. This initial phase often results in a rapid drop in water weight, as glycogen stores are accompanied by water molecules. However, sustained weight loss comes from the breakdown of triglycerides into fatty acids and glycerol, which are released into the bloodstream and used for energy production. 

The body's ability to tap into these energy reserves is influenced not only by calorie intake but also by factors such as hormonal balance, metabolic rate and individual genetics. While a calorie deficit is essential for weight loss, the quality of the calories consumed also plays a vital role in overall health.

A liquid meal replacement diet can also be beneficial for those who have trouble chewing or swallowing solid food. This can occur for any number of reasons. For example, it can be uncomfortable to eat solid food following a dental surgery. Certain muscle, neurological and age-related conditions may also impair someone’s ability to properly consume solid foods.

Others view liquid diets as a way to cleanse the body and reset their unhealthy eating habits, while also allowing the digestive system to rest.

Liquid diets may also increase your water intake to support homeostasis, including but not limited to:

  • Temperature control
  • Joint health
  • Waste removal
  • Muscle repair

All that said, if you’re planning to start a liquid diet for weight loss, it’s important to speak to your healthcare provider first. They can provide you with guidance surrounding calories and nutrition, as well as additional nutritional supplements that may support your overall wellness. 

They can also discuss potential drawbacks or risks that come with following a liquid diet — a few of which we discuss below. 

Liquid Diets Cons

When embarking on a liquid meal replacement diet, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks involved in following a potentially nutrient-deficient eating plan. When consuming only liquid food, it can be easy to miss out on the essential nutrients and vitamins provided by whole foods. 

Symptoms of nutrient deficiency include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Fatigue
  • Mood shifts
  • Physical aches
  • Numb or tingling extremities
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold hands and/or feet
  • Brittle nails
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach discomfort

A lack of fiber can also affect the digestive system and lead to constipation Additionally, a lack of protein can lead to muscle loss. 

This is worth noting because a low-calorie intake goes hand-in-hand with nutrient deficiency. And when drinking only liquids, it’s not uncommon to consume fewer calories. Since calories are the energy our bodies need to function properly, a low-calorie liquid diet can cause weakness, fatigue and build-ups in your gallbladder.

A low-calorie diet may also cause your metabolism to slow down. Essentially, your body enters a “starvation mode” and attempts to conserve as much of its energy as possible to prepare for long-term fasting. Losing lean muscle mass by limiting your protein intake can further facilitate a slow metabolism since muscle is more metabolically active than fat. 

Limiting your liquid diet to juices, sports drinks, ice cream and soft drinks can also increase your blood sugar levels and risk of developing a heart problem and insulin resistance. In the long term, an increased sugar intake can actually lead to weight gain. While sweeteners can improve the taste of certain drinks, they’re high in empty calories. Empty calories are those that offer little to no nutrients. 

Foods with high added sugar contents are also generally less filling, which can make your liquid diet more difficult to complete. That’s because they lack protein, a macronutrient that triggers hormones that decrease your appetite and increase your feelings of fullness. 

For these reasons, liquid diets are unsustainable in the long term. However, adhering to a few liquid diet best practices can increase your short-term success rate and ensure your body is getting the nutrients it needs to function optimally. 

Liquid Diet Best Practices

To find success in a liquid diet, you must prioritize nutrition. Macronutrients (carbs, proteins and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) provide your body with the energy and substances it needs to function. Without these essential elements, a liquid diet can lead to general unhealthiness.

These nutrients play a critical role in:

  • Cell growth
  • Immune function
  • Bone health
  • Nerve function
  • Hormone regulation
  • Energy production
  • Cell repair
  • Brain function

When adhering to a liquid diet, experts recommend eating at least 1,350 to 1,500 calories a day, with 45 grams of protein.

Protein, particularly, provides the building blocks of our tissues, helping to rebuild and strengthen muscles, bones and ligaments. Fortunately, protein powder is a liquid-diet-compliant food, and it’s not uncommon to find a protein powder that includes other essential nutrients, too.

For example, the INVIGOR8 All-In-One Superfood Shake provides 20 grams of protein per serving, as well as nutritional support in the form of 18 vitamins and minerals, prebiotic and probiotic complexes, green veggies, digestive enzymes, cognitive enhancers and immunity boosters. It’s also relatively low in calories to help support your weight loss efforts. You can learn more about how to use protein powder to support your fitness goals and overall health journey with our helpful guide.

Additional approaches to a safe liquid diet include increasing your fiber intake to support your digestive health. You can incorporate vegetable juices or pureed vegetables, vegetable broths or fiber supplements.

As you progress, pay attention to the state of your body and mind. If you’re experiencing weakness, mental fog, mood shifts or rapid weight loss, consider increasing your calorie and nutritional intake. Also, be mindful that you’re not participating in disordered thinking — food is our body’s fuel!

Refuel With INVIGOR8

Generally, a short-term liquid diet can be beneficial to your health and support your weight loss efforts. When dieting, however, always ensure that you’re giving your body the energy and nutrients it needs to feel its best.

For that, there is INVIGOR8.

Our Organic Superfoods Powder Protein Shake acts as a meal replacement — it’s fortified with grass-fed whey protein and 18 vitamins and minerals that help to increase lean muscle mass and decrease body fat. The best part of our protein powder ingredients? There are no added sugars, but our shakes still come in a variety of delicious flavors, including Triple Chocolate Brownie, Himalayan Salted Caramel, French Vanilla and Natural Strawberry.

With the Superfood Shake, your liquid diet doesn’t need to be bland and controlled by unsatisfied cravings. You can achieve your weight loss goals and feel satisfied through your morning commutes, client meetings, fitness sessions and everything in between.

You can also explore our natural appetite control support, formulated to help you on your weight loss journey.

Find success on your liquid diet — try INVIGOR8. 

 

Sources:

  1. Very Well Health. Full Liquid Diet Benefits and Indications
  2. MedlinePlus. Full liquid diet
  3. Cleveland Clinic. Calorie Deficit: What To Know
  4. Everyday Health. 7 Common Nutrient Deficiencies: Know the Signs
  5. Harvard Health Publishing. The sweet danger of sugar
  6. Nutrisense. Why Do We Need Macro and Micronutrients? 

About the Author

 Mara Welty
Mara Welty

Mara Welty is a copywriter who specializes in health, wellness and CBD topics. With a background in journalism, she aims to deliver engaging, research-based content that builds trust and engages readers through informative storytelling.

The INVIGOR8 Weight-Loss Family

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