Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Liquid Diets

A typical meal replacement plan or liquid diet involves substituting a number of meals and snacks with a nutritionally balanced shake made from sugar, skimmed milk powder, fiber, vitamins, minerals and sweetener. Some plans offer candy-like bars as an alternative.


Typically, you replace two meals and one snack per day with one shake. Each shake contains about 200 calories. Your third meal is a nutrient-rich meal of about 600 calories. Thus your total daily intake adds up to about 1200 calories.


The diet is nutritionally balanced and very convenient. All you have to do is open a can, grab a glass, and add milk. In addition to being very sweet, these shakes/bars are good news for anyone with a sweet tooth.

The liquid diet benefits certain types of procedures, both pre- and post-op. In pre-operative cases, a clear liquid diet flushes the bowels while decreasing strain on the digestive system. Before beginning this type of liquid diet, a physician will provide a detailed fact sheet on how to proceed and for how long.

Liquid diets are also used following bariatric surgeries. Those who undergo bariatric surgery may be required to follow a fluid-only diet for up to ten days following the procedure.

Occasionally, extreme cases of obesity are treated with liquid diets. It is successful initially, but must be monitored by a physician for any negative side effects. It is not recommended for long-term weight loss.


Due to the low calorie content, too little fiber, and lack of important nutrition found in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, these liquid diets are unsafe unless medically prescribed and supervised. They should also only be used for short periods of time.

Studies have shown that weight loss achieved while following a low calorie liquid diet plan is rarely sustained. Dieters can expect to regain as much as 75% of weight lost, within 3 years.

The biggest drawback concerns the issue of eating habits. Meal-replacement diets can help you to lose weight in the short term but they cannot help you to acquire the sort of sensible eating habits that are essential for long-term weight loss.

In addition, liquid diets that are not medically supervised may not supply the body with enough nutrients to function properly and are associated with problems including sensitivity to cold, brittle nails, diarrhea or constipation, and heart problems. Weight loss by means of liquid diets can also cause gallbladder problems.


This is a reasonably good (and healthy) SHORT-TERM option for disciplined dieters who are under medical supervision. However, make sure your daily solid meal is healthy and your snacks include plenty of fruit and vegetables.

Any fad diet that uses short-term weight loss methods is not recommended for permanent weight control. Remember, permanent fat loss is achieved by following a sensible, nutritious eating plan that includes regular aerobic exercise and behavior modifications.


Beware of Any Diet That...

*Provides fewer than 1000 calories per day.

*Boasts unusually fast weight loss.

*Uses the words "miracle" or "fat-burning" to describe itself!

*Has an unbalanced eating plan: i.e. which omits any of the major food groups.

*Has unrestricted amounts of high fat food, like red meat, full fat dairy products or oils.

*Requires you to take expensive supplements.

*Fails to recommend long term changes in your eating habits.

Americans spend billions of dollars a year on diet products. A large percentage of those who purchase them, purchase fraudulent or completely useless products. Do not be one of them!

By: Chris Chenoweth

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