Liquid Diets
What are the dos and don'ts?

Medically speaking liquid diets are made up only of fluids and foods that are normally fluids and foods that turn to fluids when they are at room temperature, like ice cream. It also includes strained creamy soups, tea, juice, jelly, milkshakes, pudding and popsicles. It does not include “mashed” foods, such as mashed potato or avocado.

Often prescribed when the digestive system is compromised due to disease or surgery, a medical version differs somewhat to a weight loss version. Its primary aim is to rest the digestive system while providing the required proteins, fluids, salts and minerals.

When used for weight loss they come in a variety of forms. There are traditional meal replacement shakes and drinks that are formulated ‘scientifically’ to provide the body with all essential nutrients while providing enough fibre to ‘fill you up’ and decrease any potential hunger as they are usually quite calorie restrictive.

And then there are ‘home-grown’ liquid meals where juicing or blending fruits, vegetables, nuts, dairy, grains and supplements make up the majority of the diet. Care must be taken when preparing juiced or blended meals especially if weight loss is intended as often ingredients can be quite calorie intense.

There is the 7 day detox diet and combinations of liquid meal replacements worked into a calorie reduced meal plan. What you ultimately choose however will come down to what suits you best, what you enjoy or are happy with and what you are most likely to sustain.

However such plans should only be followed for a short period of time, they can be a great way to kick-start a long-term weight loss program and to achieve rapid short term weight loss. Any healthy diet should also be balanced with an achievable exercise program; failure to do this will result in muscle as well as fat loss.

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Many of these plans are marketed as detox or cleansing diets and are often severely calorie restrictive. Care should be taken when following such a plan as you may be left feeling fatigued, lightheaded and dizzy.  Before commencing any diet program you should always consult with your doctor, especially if you are suffering from any pre-existing conditions.

As these meal plans are not a sustainable option, weight may be regained quickly once the ‘normal’ diet is resumed. It is therefore recommended that this plan be incorporated into a healthy eating program that balances healthy food choices with regular physical activity.

Studies have indicated that as little as 30 minutes a day of cardio activity or three ten minute blocks of higher intensity activity can return positive and rapid weight loss results. Keep in mind too that short term solutions can often generate long term problems.

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