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Understanding the liquid diet

liquid diet
Fruit juices and liquid diet

In the endeavors to beat unhealthy weight gain and other lifestyle conditions, many types of diets have been invented. One of such is the liquid diet. If you never imagined of having an all fluid diet then you should know that there is one and it comes in 2 variations viz. clear liquid diet and full liquid diet. The widely covered angle of this subject is the liquid diet for weight loss and we will come to that later. To give a fully detailed account, this post will also tackle the question what can you eat on a liquid diet and the liquid diet results.

What is liquid diet?

From the name, liquid diet, it means you will be eating only a fluid diet. For the lesser restricted liquid diet versions, you can have a small portion of solid foods. But that is not allowed if you are planning to be on a full liquid diet. You will be replacing your normal foods with fluids in the likes of shakes, fruits and vegetables. Just like the normal meal plans you are expected to have 3 or 4 meals in a day. There are no changes in the times you eat: you can have snacks but this time from the liquid kind.

Variations of the liquid diet

There are so many approaches to liquid diet (it all comes down to what you want). But out of those many only 2 are widely known and used. They are:

1. Clear liquid diet

This clear liquid diet is composed of clear fluids such as plain gelatin, water and broth. The fluids are easy to digest, and once digested leave no residue in the digestion tract of an individual. In most cases, the clear liquid diet is only prescribed by a medical professional before you undergo certain medical procedures or when you are diagnosed with certain digestion problems. The diet lacks in nutrients and calories and it is not recommended for more than 3 days.

The liquids in this diet can be of color but on the condition that you can see through them. You also need to note that the foods here can be counted as liquid is they are semi-fluid at room temperature. Another thing is that the clear liquid diet is flexible and you can have an addition of solid foods in your meals.

Why clear liquid diet?

A clear liquid diet is helpful during certain medical procedures. A good example is colonoscopy that is only possible to be conducted when your intestines have no food at all. Other times you can go for this diet (but only for a short term) is when you have digestive problems such diarrhea and vomiting. Besides, the clear liquid diet is also recommended before and after surgery.

The reason why this diet is the best in the above mentioned occasions is because it provides a quick source of energy and crucial electrolytes such as potassium and sodium, which cannot be easily obtained from a normal or full diet. But once more, the recommendation for the diet should come from a doctor.

liquid diet
Pomegranate juice

What can you eat on a clear liquid diet?

In answering the question what can you eat on a liquid diet, it is important that you know each variation comes with its own approved foods (they are similar bout with some variations). For the clear liquid diet, here are foods you are allowed to eat;

· Water: this is the number one clear liquid you can have in your meals. You can go for the flavored, carbonated or the plain type. 

· Plain gelatin

· Honey both the processed and the natural kinds

· Fatless broth. It should be clear and good examples are consommé and bouillon

· Beverages but only the ones with fruit flavor. Fruit punches and lemonade are good choices for you

· Dark kinds of soda such as root beer and cola

· Black coffee and tea. Forget about cream and milk

· Fruit juices are welcome but they have to be without pulp for them to be clear. White grapes and apples will give you just that

· Vegetables juice (ever heard of one?) But it has to be strained. Tomatoes are perfect choices

· Hard candies (the flavored ones) such as peppermints and lemon drops

This is the list of the foods you should be eating if you are on a clear liquid diet. For medical reasons there are times you will be asked to avoid colored foods even if they belong in the clear fluids.

A sample clear liquid diet

For breakfast

You can choose your favorite option from this list: honey or sugar in water, black tea or coffee, 1 glass of fruit juice (remember it has to be without pulp), or gelatin (1 bowl).

For Snack 1

A bowl of gelatin and a pulp-free fruit juice


1-2 glasses of water, a cup of broth, a bowl of gelatin, fruit juice (1 glass and it needs to be pulp-free).

Snack 2

Black tea or coffee, sugar or honey and a cup of ice pop without any pulp


A cup of broth, a bowl of gelatin, a glass of water or pulp-free fruit juice or a cup of black tea or coffee.

Are there any risks with clear liquid?

The first risk is that you are taking way too below the recommended amount of calories and nutrients. On this diet and the other variations of the liquid diet you are taking between 400 and 800 calories. The daily recommendation calorie intake for adult male is 2,500 and 2,000 for adult female (you can see how this diet is off the recommendations). This is the reason why you are highly advised not to be on the clear liquid diet for many days. Actually, a maximum of 4 days is all you need to achieve the best results.

If this diet is recommended to you by a doctor ensure that you follow it just as laid down for you. Failure to which you will get wrong results for whatever condition you were being tested on.

liquid diet
Doctors recommend a liquid diet

2. Full liquid diet

Full liquid diet is only for fluid foods and foods which turn into liquids at room temperature. Examples include tea, ice cream, pudding, milkshakes and juice. There is a strict rule here that states you should not touch on solids at any time you are on this diet (but the rule on solid foods is much relaxed than in clear liquid diet). Generally it is composed of proteins, fluids, minerals, and salts. Per day you are allowed a calorie quota of 1350-1500 and 45 grams of proteins. It is considered to be a middle ground diet between the clear liquid diet and the normal diet.

Why is the full liquid diet necessary?

The full liquid diet is not just prescribed for anyone. In fact it is only recommended for certain medical tests, before and after surgery and when one has digestive problems. As such it is not advisable to be on the diet for many days due to the health implications it may have on you.

What can you eat on a full liquid diet?

For your full liquid diet, here is the list of foods you should eat;

· Water: the plain type is good but if you need something tasty you can have your water carbonated

· Coffee or tea: you can add cream, honey, or sugar (the preference is yours)

· Yoghurt and ice cream: for the yoghurt you will need it frozen while the ice cream should be plain.

· Fizzy drinks: you can go for your favorite soda

· Soup broths: ensure that you do not have any solid added into them

· All kinds of oil: butter, margarine, and custard

· Pudding

· Gelatin

· Sugar and honey

You can have more of the foods to eat from your doctor or dietitian but only eat what is provided in the list and nothing more.

How to add calories in your full liquid diet

For those who want to take longer than recommended in the full liquid diet, you will need an increased quota of calories. You can ask your doctor on what to include. Here is a vetted list of foods to boost your calorie intake;

· Strained meat: this is the kind like the one added in kids’ broths. It is not as solid as normal meat so it meets some criteria of the liquid diet.

· Syrups added into beverages

· Instant breakfast powder

Liquid diet for weight loss

The biggest question everyone would ask is whether liquid diet for weight loss is a viable option. To answer this question let’s go back a bit to process of weight loss. Generally, effective weight loss revolves around watching what you eat more so your calorie intake. Most of the weight loss diets recommend cutting down on calorie intake. Liquid diet is very stern on the quantity of calories you are taking. The clear liquid diet allows you a minimum of 400 calories and a maximum of 800. On the other hand full liquid diet goes as high as 1,500 calories per day.

You can see that both variations do not meet the recommended daily calorie intake. They come short of what you should be taking in a day. This is the same characteristic seen in most weight loss diets. To cut short the chase, the liquid diet can be an effective way to lose weight. The question is: is this a good way to lose weight?

Health professionals, nutritionists and dietitians do not recommend extreme cutting down of calorie intake as a good way to lose weight. They point many healthy risks that come from such diets. They instead advise people to enroll on less strict diets that incorporate exercise as well as promoting other healthy ways of losing weight.

The liquid diet may be a silver bullet in losing weight thanks to its low quota of calories but there are far reaching consequences. That is why the recommendation and supervision of a health professional is a must for anyone on this diet.

Liquid diet
Liquid diet for weight loss

Liquid diet results

Everyone is chasing results once they enroll in any kind of a diet. So, what are liquid diet results?

· It keeps your body hydrated. Since you are taking a lot of fluids your body will be adequately hydrated. This is good both for your digestion and healthy skin.

· It provides a good environment for those recuperating from a digestive condition and surgery. Doctors recommend this diet for those who have digestive and other delicate healthy situations so as to provide a chance for quick recovery.

· Weight loss. The liquid diet trims down your calorie intake. This is a precondition for any weight loss program. Your low intake not only of calories but also nutrients is a prerequisite to trigger body weight loss. However, the acute low intake of calories is not recommended as a healthy way to lose weight. 

How do you safely get into a liquid diet plan?

Now that you know about the liquid diet you would want to know whether it is right for you. First, this is a diet only prescribed by a doctor. Therefore you will need the green light from your doctor before you consider enrolling into the liquid diet plan. Those with diabetes, pregnant or nursing women, and anyone with chronic conditions should not even consider this diet.

Once you get the go ahead from your doctor you will need the help of a dietitian to establish your liquid diet eating plan. You will need to carefully work on your calorie intake so that you are not causing much harm to your body. Once you are good with what to eat it is time to begin. Remember, you should only be on the diet plan for a few days.

Is liquid diet worth your try?

The need to lose weight has driven people into making choices they come to regret. Liquid diet is not just for anyone but only those who have been recommended for it by a doctor. The low intake of calories coupled up with poor choices of foods is not worth the weight you are losing for it. There are better weight loss diets out there and they come with many other benefits

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