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Are Liquid Diets Dangerous?

Are Liquid Diets Dangerous?
Liquid diets have become another popular diet fad in recent years, but there is no evidence to suggest that they are any more effect than clinically supervised diets like the HCG diet. There are perhaps hundreds of different liquid diets that you can find online with a quick search, and many of them have not been developed by anyone with any sort of medical or nutritional education. This simple fact makes them more dangerous than other diets that have been created by nutritionists and other medical professionals. Liquid diets are necessary sometimes when patients have mouth or jaw injuries or otherwise can't consume solid food due to a medical problem, but aside from that you don't want to mess with them for several reasons.

What are liquid diets?

Liquid diets are simply diets of liquids only for a period of time. There are many different varieties of these diets such as smoothie diets, pre-made shakes, juice diets, and at some extremes there are water only diets for a period of time. Liquid only diets can be as short as one day or multiple weeks, and you'll find a wide range of different protocols for recommended timeframes for these diets. Some liquid only diets use meal replacement shakes; or packaged shakes that are designed to replace one meal or every daily meal for a period of time. These diet programs are often available over the counter and there is no oversight governing their quality or safety.

There's really no benefit of consuming liquids as opposed to solid foods

Just like solid foods, there are unhealthy and healthy liquids, and there's no particular benefit of consuming liquid foods compared to solid foods. Your body doesn't absorb them any less efficiently, and if anything it makes it easier to consume excess calories without thinking. Some of the biggest weight gain culprits are liquids, because calorie laden beverages are relatively easy to consume and don't trigger the same appetite control mechanisms that solid foods do. Liquid meals like shakes and smoothies can definitely be convenient when you're in a crunch, but that's really the main benefit.

Medically supervised liquid diets are safe

In some cases, medically supervised diets include a liquid diet for some part or the entire duration. These diets are the few that can truly be designated as "€œsafe"€, while the rest of them simply don't have the medical supervision to be guaranteed this.

Medically supervised liquid diets will often use a scientifically formulated smoothie or shake product that has all of the important vitamins and minerals that you need. If any liquid diet is going to work, it is this type of diet. Without that safeguard, there's no way to know whether or not a particular diet will work for you. For example, some small companies will sell you their own formulated liquid weight loss products as a marketing gimmick without testing their products for safety or putting them through any kind of scientific scrutiny.

Detox liquid diets are not safe unless they are medically supervised

Sometimes liquid diets are used as a "€œdetox"€ or for a "€œjuice detox"€ for a few days to give the digestive system a break, and with proper medical supervision or approval these types of detox diets can certainly be beneficial. Because it's such a rapid change to your diet, it can be very symptomatic and for some people it can even be unsafe. If you're considering any type of liquid detox or diet, you should get as much information as you can about whatever protocol you're considering and also discuss it with your medical provider.

As many medical providers point out, a lot of the weight that is initially lost with one day or three day detox diets is simply water weight. There's just no way to lose real body fat or weight in just a matter of a few days. On a liquid detox diet you may have significantly less energy than you normally have, and you also may experience a wide range of different symptoms and side effects. It's not going to hurt you if you spend a few days drinking juice, but there's no real reason to do it because you aren't going to actually lose any body fat. The minimum period of time that you need to really lose body fat is at least a few weeks, which is why the HCG diet is timed to be three weeks at minimum.

A few smoothies won't hurt

A few smoothies certainly won't hurt you and can definitely be a great part of a healthy lifestyle because they really are a lot easier to make than most meals. Because they take just a few minutes to prepare and make, they can be a great incentive to follow a healthy lifestyle. There are also plenty of recipes for HCG diet approved very low calorie smoothies that you can try out if you are on the HCG diet, but unless you talk to a medical provider about trying a liquid diet you should follow the regular protocol. It can be really easy to go over your daily calorie limit on a liquid diet unless you are carefully monitoring your calories.

Liquid diets aren't necessary for weight loss

At the end of the day, liquid diets are really not necessary and for the reasons mentioned above they can actually counteract your weight loss efforts. There are just too many out there to know which ones are safe and the ones that aren't. You don't need to try any fad liquid diet in order to lose weight, and "€œdetox diets"€ are largely overrated in their ability to help you lose weight. Detox diets can be helpful for other medical reasons outside of weight loss, and they can be a great way for you to rejuvenate and revitalize your body, but you should only follow a medically reviewed protocol.

The HCG is a solid food diet that has had tremendous success, and it can certainly work for you if you are looking for a diet option that has been clinically tested and created by actual medical doctors. For more information about the HCG diet or to ask any questions about it, contact Nu Image Medical today.

About the author

Dr. Constance Odom, MD

6 min read