Liquid diets control calorie intake by restricting what you eat to mostly or all liquids. How they work varies from product to product. Some liquid diets are fluid only — fruit or vegetable juices juices or shakes — that replace all of your meals, taken three or four times a day. These programs are either do-it-yourself options sold over the counter, or medically supervised plans available only through doctors’ offices or hospitals.
Other types of liquid diets replace just one or two meals (usually breakfast and lunch) with drinks, but let you eat a healthy, balanced dinner. These diets may also include snack bars for in-between meals.
Liquid diets are usually divided into two groups, clear liquid diet and full liquid diet.
Clear Liquid Diet
A clear liquid diet is made up of only clear fluids and foods that turn to clear fluids when they are at room temperature. It includes things like clear broth, tea, cranberry juice, Jell-O, and Popsicles.
This diet is easier to digest than other foods. It still gives you the important fluids, salts, and minerals that you need for energy.
Eating only a clear liquid diet gives you enough nutrition for 3 to 4 days. It is safe for people with diabetes, but only for a short time when they are followed closely by their doctor.
Allowed and Recommended Foods
- tea (no milk or non-dairy creamer)
- Soft drinks/Sports drinks (ginger ale, cola, Sprite, 7-Up, Gatorade)
Juices (without pulp)
- apple juice,
- grape juice,
- cranberry juice
- Chicken or Beef bouillon/broth, low sodium, fat free
- Jell-O (lemon, lime, orange, NO fruit, NO toppings)
- Popsicle (NO sherbets, NO fruit bars)
- Hard candies
Do not eat
- frozen fruits
- Cream soups,
- soups with vegetables,
- meat or other chunks of food in them
Full Liquid Diet
The full liquid diet is often used as a step between a clear liquid diet and a regular diet, for example, after surgery or fasting. It may also be used after certain procedures, such as jaw wiring. This diet may also be appropriate for patients who have swallowing and chewing problems.
A full liquid diet meets calorie and protein needs for your body with liquids only. It should not be used for more than 5 days. Your doctor or nutritionist may also order high-protein, high-calorie supplements for extra vitamins and minerals.
Allowed and recommended foods
- Coffee, tea, cream, carbonated beverages
- Fruit and vegetable juices
- Nutritional supplements
- Custard-style yogurt, pudding, custard
- Plain ice cream, sherbet, sorbet
- Whipped topping
- Cream soups, strained
Breads and Cereals:
- Cream of wheat, cream of rice
- Pureed soups (may include pureed meats, pureed bland vegetable and pureed white potatoes)
- Tomato puree
- Salt, mild flavored seasonings
- Chocolate flavoring
- Gravy, margarine
- Sugar, syrup, jelly, honey
Liquid Diet sum up
Ideally, liquid diet drinks should contain a balance of nutrients you need throughout the day, but that isn’t always the case. Very low-calorie diets (400-800 calories per day) in particular can be lacking in these nutrients and should only be used under medical supervision. Missing out on essential nutrients can lead to side effects such as fatigue, dizziness, hair loss, gallstones, cold intolerance, electrolyte imbalance, and heart damage. A lack of fiber in your diet from not eating whole fruits and vegetables can lead to constipation and other digestive ailments. You also can lose lean body mass if you don’t get enough protein in your liquid diet.