Diet Drinks

The skinny on liquid diet drinks

A liquid diet is a popular way to shed pounds while keeping hydrated, and there are plenty to choose from. Whether you purchase a pre-packaged meal plan that comes with a support system or you wish to clean your body and refresh your metabolism with a homemade free liquid diet, you'll need to be aware of some important elements and precautions. Before switching to diet drinks for short-term weight loss or long-term lifestyle change, learn how they work and what you can expect from some of the most popular liquid diets out there.

How Diet Drinks Work

Essentially, a nutritional liquid diet is just what it sounds like—solid food is replaced with juices, teas or other liquid supplements for the course of the diet. In general, these are short-term diets designed for quick weight loss or detox but not for extended use, since they tend to lack many of the nutrients necessary for good health. Many of these diets are recommended for patients who undergo certain gastrointestinal procedures or operations, as the liquids will flush the system and relieve any strain on the digestive system.

In some cases, a liquid diet will be prescribed for extremely obese people, as it will help them to initially lose a considerable amount of weight. However, a liquid diet is not a good plan for more than a few days, as clear liquid and protein shakes cannot provide enough energy for most people, nor will they offer enough fiber or nutrients to keep you feeling full. The best way to use diet drinks for weight loss is alongside healthy, balanced meals that will fill in the nutritional gaps left by a full liquid diet; for extended weight loss and heart health, look into a low cholesterol diet or a balanced, lower-calorie diet.

Types of Liquid Diet Drink Diets

Clear liquid diets, such as those intended for pre-op and post-op patients, consist of clear broths, fruit juices, teas, gelatin desserts or carbonated drinks. An all-juice diet can be clear or opaque, and it's one example of a short-term weight-loss plan that claims to clean the intestines, detoxify the body and kick-start your metabolism. In cases where the pulp of the fruit and vegetables is included, the juice diet can be carried on for a bit longer, since there will be more nutrients for your body to absorb.

The Medifast diet includes special shakes alongside some solid food, which are designed to counter some symptoms of menopause and help women lose weight. It comes with a strong support system, and it may work by prompting your body to use the stored fat as energy instead of merely relying on the food or drink you take in, but it is, in essence, a low-calorie diet plan. In comparison, SlimFast diet shakes can be used in an effective weight-loss plan, though they don't come with the support system and may require more self-discipline.

An important fact to keep in mind about liquid diets is that they are not forever—eventually, you'll need to revert to a balanced and nutritious solid food diet, so use them only as an initial and temporary step toward a healthier lifestyle that you will be able to sustain for years to come.