Generally, the body requires solid food in order to continue functioning properly over long periods of time.
Even babies eventually transition from a milk or formula diet to pureed food to fully solid food within the first few years of life.
However, for short periods of time, a diet composed completely of fluids and non-solid foods can sustain the body, if necessary, and often times lead to liquid diet weight loss.
If you have been ordered by your doctor to follow a liquid diet plan, we have everything you need to know to successfully complete it. Even without solid food, you can still enjoy many of the familiar tastes you know and love.
In this guide you will find a brief explanation of what a liquid diet is used for, suggestions for how to make sure you are getting enough nutrition while following a liquid diet, “approved” liquid diet foods, what a sample day on a full liquid diet might look like, and liquid diet results for those who are using the liquid diet for weight loss.
Liquid Diet Review
A liquid diet plan is not traditionally used as a weight loss diet — however, some people do opt to use a liquid diet for weight loss. Usually, a doctor will order that you follow a liquid diet — especially in preparation for or during recovery from a medical operation. Because this diet will not provide enough fiber to sustain you in the long term, it is not recommended that you follow this diet for longer than your doctor orders you to, even if you are hoping to achieve liquid diet weight loss as a bonus.
Technically, nutrition-wise, you can live off a full liquid diet for awhile. But it is not recommended that you do so for a long period of time without professional supervision.
If you consume the right amount of liquids, you can consume enough calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fat to fulfill your body’s basic energy requirements while still experiencing liquid diet results.. However, if you plan on staying on a liquid diet plan for longer than a few days, you will probably need to take vitamins or other supplements to replace the nutrients you may lose while on a liquid diet.
There are two types of liquid diets: a clear liquid diet, and a full liquid diet. A clear liquid diet is extremely restrictive, and is usually only sustainable for a day or two prior to an invasive medical procedure. For the remainder of this article, when we refer to “liquid diet,” it pertains to a full liquid diet plan, which offers a greater variety of options for you to choose from when creating and following meal plans — and shopping.
Generally, a full liquid diet is used in between a clear liquid diet and a regular diet to help make the transition between the two easier. This pertains to fasting, certain medical procedures, and recovering from major surgery where returning to a normal diet post operation is either not recommended or dangerous. A liquid diet for weight loss is generally adopted whenever someone feels it may be the only option to achieve weight loss results.
Liquid Diet Plan Basics and Rules
A full liquid diet involves eating or drinking things that are liquid at room temperature. For example, ice cream is included on the list of foods you can eat because if you left it sitting out on the counter, it would melt into a liquid.
What you can eat on the liquid diet
- Strained cream soups
- Soup broth
- Milkshakes (no solids)
- Coffee (with cream, milk, sugar or honey)
- Liquid supplements such as Ensure
- Soda (ginger ale, etc)
- Honey, syrup and sugar
- Frozen yogurt
- Plain ice cream (no toppings)
In some cases, you are allowed to eat pureed foods, oatmeal, cream of wheat, grits, or cream of rice. It’s up to you if you are doing this diet on your own, or up to your doctor if you are going on a liquid diet for medical reasons. It’s easy to see why some people may choose to use the liquid diet for weight loss — honestly, who wouldn’t want to eat milk shakes and frozen yogurt to lose weight?!
What you can not eat on a liquid diet
- Raw or cooked vegetables
- Fruit (frozen, canned, etc.)
- Any kind of ice cream toppings
- Mashed foods (no mashed potatoes or mashed avocado)
- Any solid food that requires chewing
You should ideally try to aim for somewhere around 1,500 calories and anywhere between 45 and 50 grams of protein while on a liquid diet. But the most important rule to follow is to consume when you are hungry. If you need more nutrition and you currently are not getting enough, your body will let you know.
Most importantly, while on a liquid diet, drink constantly. Staying hydrated is absolutely essential. Drink as much water as you can between meals and snacks, enjoy a cup or two of tea, or make yourself another milkshake.
Menu and Meal Planning
The most important thing you can do while following a liquid diet is to do the best you can to eat a variety of different foods during each meal and snack. The diet will be much harder to stick to if you repeat the same two or three foods all day long. That’s why there’s a full list of approved foods — to give you plenty of options to choose from. If you’re hoping for liquid diet weight loss, you’ll definitely have to enjoy what you’re eating or you’ll find it very difficult to stick to the plan.
Below is a sample menu to give you a good idea of what a day on a liquid diet might look like. This is just an outline — you are free to swap out foods/drinks and change the amounts of foods and drinks listed here as you see fit.
- Chocolate, peanut butter and banana milkshake (16 oz.)
- 2 cups yogurt
- 8 oz. apple juice
- Coffee with milk or cream
- Tea with cream and honey
- 2 cups soup broth
- Bottle of chocolate flavored Ensure
- 2 large scoops plain ice cream
- 8 oz. glass whole milkshake
- Vanilla milkshake (16 ounces)
- Soup broth
- 1 popsicle
- 8 oz. glass whole milk
- Tea with cream and honey
- 1-2 scoops frozen yogurt or sherbet
- Pudding or jello cups
- Tall glass of milk or fruit/vegetable juice
Keep in mind that this is just a general sample menu. On a liquid diet, you should eat and drink when you feel hungry — calories, fat, and sugar should not be a consideration. The idea is not to restrict calories. Listen to your body, and if you feel like you are not getting enough nutrition, liquid supplements like Boost or Ensure are always an option.
Grocery Shopping List
- Liquid supplements, such as Boost, Ensure, or Resource
- Soup broth
- Creamy soups (without solids such as vegetables or meat)
- Whole milk, full-fat cream
- Greek yogurt (plain, without fruit or other solids)
- Fruit and vegetable juices
- Packaged milkshakes or ingredients to make your own (blender or food processor required)
- Bottled tea or tea bags — caffeinated or decaf
- Bottled coffee drinks, coffee beans, ground coffee
- Pudding, either pudding mix or pudding snack packs (pre-packaged cups)
- Jello or gelatin mix or snack packs (pre-packaged cups)
- Popsicles (without solids)
- Plain ice cream (any flavor) — no solids
- Frozen yogurt
- Soda or ginger ale or related drinks
Before and After Weight Loss Results
As mentioned before, most people go on a liquid diet because of their doctor’s orders. However, others are on a quest for liquid diet results. We’ve managed to find a few lovely ladies who have experienced liquid diet weight loss and feel much better because of it. Check out their stories.
“I was on a liquid diet for a documented 95 days. I went off on day 96 and 97 and am now back on it again. I was wondering how to lose 5 pounds in a week and ended up losing 38 pounds overall. I have clarity of mind and don’t get that overwhelming feeling of being tired and bloated from solid food. It’s a relatively easy diet to follow and gives me the ability not to cheat because there’s no option for solid food. If you can’t drink it you can’t have it, simple. I have also noticed that my bowels function better than they did when I was eating solid food. I believe that’s because I’m having more fiber and healthier foods in my smoothies. The hardest part I find about doing this is cooking for others. My solution to this is “Never cook on an empty stomach!” and you’ll do just fine!” I also check out some fit tea reviews and decided to try that to help my weight loss. Worked for me!