When it comes to liquid diet weight loss, what diet plans work and are liquid diet plans really safe to follow?
When you’re trying to lose weight, you will want to try things that other people say work. I personally kicked off my weight loss by following a liquid diet… too bad I didn’t last beyond four days However, I did lose about five pounds in those four days but more importantly, this weight loss motivated me to research weight loss methods and have the discipline to stick to my weight loss plans.
So I am definitely a proponent of liquid diets for weight loss. However, there are many scammy diet plans and liquid diet products out there.
How does a Liquid Diet Plan Work?
Most liquid diets are very low in total calories. People who go on a liquid diet will consume 400 – 800 calories each day. A caloric deficit of 3500 calories leads to the loss of one pound of fat: this is why people following a liquid diet plan lose so much weight so quickly. However, people who follow a juice diet also enjoy additional weight loss due to the detox effect of the juice, as scientists have found.
A Stanford University study (http://www-med.stanford.edu/school/DGIM/Teaching/Modules/obesity.html#RTFToC12) concludes that major benefit of liquid diets is the dieter’s removal from the “food environment”. Basically this means that the person does not have an option of eating foods, and so the chance of overeating, or eating unhealthy foods is completely removed. I tend to agree that intermittent fasting, like the kind I practice in my Eat Stop Eat diet and juice diets do have the major advantage that you simply don’t have to worry about food! These are really the most stressfree kind of diet out there.
Some particular liquid diet plans including Optifast, HMR and Medifast have a period of three months during which the dieter consumes only liquid shakes and about 400 – 800 calories a day; followed by a stage called “refeeding” when dieters each sensible meals and then finally a third stage where dieters just eat sensibly on their own. These programs are conducted in groups and an exercise program is also included. Because of the support group and discussions, dieters can understand the importance of making long-term lifestyle changes to maintain their weightloss.
Liquid diets were first introduced in the 1970s but at that time they were quite unhealthy and some people suffered nutritional deficiencies by following them. However, these days most liquid diet manufacturers try to ensure that their concoctions contain protein, carbs, vitamins, minerals, fibre and fats. So these commercial shakes are more nutritionally sound than they were previously.
Do People Really Lose Weight on Liquid Diets?
In general, most people do lose weight when they go on a liquid diet. However, dieting of any kind requires discipline and motivation.
Studies show that patients on medically supervised liquid diets lose weight rapidly and show quick improvements in their health (http://www.fdu.gov/bbs/topics/CONSUMER/CON0007Q.html; http://www-med.stanford.edu/school/DGIM/Teaching/Modules/obesity.html#RTFToC12)
Most people do lose weight with liquid diets. The problem with liquid diets, however, is that the majority of people who go on a liquid diet gain it back quickly. This is because those people do not learn to change their lifestyle to incorporate healthy eating and exercising. So if you do go on a liquid diet, it is important that you change your lifestyle, start eating healthy and start exercising in order to maintain your weight loss. I highly recommend reading the Anything Goes Diet for a healthy eating weight loss plan that’s easy to follow (this is the program I used after I finished my juice diet and it’s worked for me).
A study by scientists at the UCLA School of Medicine followed dieters who consumed two SlimFast shakes a day, for twelve weeks. After two years, only 20% of those diets were able to maintain the weight they had lost.
Side Effects of Liquid Diet Weight Loss Attempts
Most websites online try to sell their liquid diet product and therefore they don’t talk about the side effects. In addition, because these products are not very closely regulated by the authorities, they can get away with hiding the side effects they might cause.
In the long run, liquid diets have been shown to cause
- muscle cramps
- irregular heart patters
- constipation, and
- menstrual abnormalities
Liquid Diet Weight Loss Plans – Yay or Nay?
When it comes to liquid diets, I can’t give a simple yes or no answer.
To start off with, I have to say that I don’t like “artificial food”. This includes commercially produced liquid diet powders or shakes. I just don’t like the idea of eating so much manufactured food. In addition, these the side effects and possible toxicity of commercially produced shakes has not been studied adequately.
I do think that liquid diet plans consisting of a protein shake, multivitamin and homemade fruit smoothies are a good option. Apart from the protein shake, you will be eating “real” foods.
In addition, I don’t think a liquid diet should go on for too long. I wouldn’t go on for more than a week – it’s always best to eat normally.
Have you lost weight on a liquid diet plan? Please let me know about your experiences
About Alisha: Alisha is a Melbourne-based blogger who is happy to have lost a lot of weight recently! She is now trying to be more fit and lead a more healthy lifestyle. In this blog she shares tips for losing weight quickly and easily. You can read more about her on the "My Story" page.