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Should You Try a Liquid Diet?

By , Managing Editor
Monday, July 23, 2012
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Chopping, measuring, weighing and counting -- all these actions are part of dieting. You have to take control of your food and it takes work. But the extra effort can be frustrating and the more difficult the weight loss program is, the less likely you may be to stick to it.

To keep the momentum going, many people are turning to liquid diets for their convenience and it's not hard to see the mental appeal of a diet like this. First, they're smaller portions, filling a glass instead of an entire plate, yet can still be filling, which allows you to finish the whole glass without guilt. Next, it's the difference in texture -- they're lighter and more easily digested which seems less punishing on the waistline than a heavy plate of food that has to be chewed. 

But are these liquid diets safe? Using liquid diets in place of eating by choice is a topic of debate in the health world, as liquid diets are often prescribed for medical reasons when a patient isn't able to eat solid foods. So why would we rather sip than chew?

Liquid Diet Craze
Liquid diets began to gain traction as far back as the 1920s and have continued to remain a common part of the weight loss industry, with fluctuating support from the medical community. However, these early programs weren't focused on providing a balanced meal could often lead to illness. The same can happen with today's programs if not used correctly. Symptoms of malnutrition include hair loss, fatigue, dizziness and a sensitivity to cold. You can also do long-term damage to the vital organs of the body, like the heart.

The science has improved around liquid diets with many very good reasons to use them. The most common reason continues to be weight loss and there are a plethora of options to try. 

Detox and Weight Loss
People looking to shed extra pounds often choose the liquid diet route because it helps them limit their portion sizes and therefore, their calories consumed. There are countless premade shakes and drink mixes available with instructions suggesting you substitute one or two meals a day with them. You can also find juice cleanses made from the raw juices of fruits and vegetables that claim to cleanse the body of toxins to help eliminate excess weight. Just be realistic in your expectations. While the weight loss results have been proven, they can be different for everyone and the ability to detoxify the body is still up for discussion.

A truly safe liquid-only diet is one created by a doctor and/or dietician and used under their supervision. This is done to make sure the individual is getting all the correct nutrients they would be getting from solid foods. These diets are often designed for someone with an extreme amount of weight to lose who needs to bring it down quickly for health reasons and these diets can contain less than 1,000 calories a day. 

For most people, the best solution is a combination of liquid meal replacement drinks and healthy, solid foods to lose weight and maintain results thereafter. After all, extreme dieting slows the metabolism, which can keep you from losing weight since your body is in survival mode, hanging onto whatever food it gets. 

Whole Nutrition 
If you aren't considered obese or have a medical condition that otherwise limits your ability to consume solid foods, you can add liquid meals to your daily schedule as a form of calorie restriction or to ensure you're getting the proper daily nutrients. Be sure to read labels carefully -- if you're not getting everything your body needs, you might as well drink that milk shake you really want.

Here are some things to look for when picking out a safe liquid meal replacement:

  • A balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates
  • Little to no excess sugar or artificial ingredients
  • A variety of whole food ingredients like fruits and vegetables
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Fiber for digestive health
  • Probiotics to maintain healthy bacteria in the gut and protect the immune system

You can also make your own! Here are some ingredients to stock up on to make your own meal replacement shakes:

Remember, the purpose of any diet isn't just to lose weight, but to develop better habits you can stick to for a healthier lifestyle. You need to change the way you eat permanently to sustain results even after you stop using liquid meal replacements, otherwise, the weight will come right back.

Now that you know the best way to use these supplements safely, sip your way to slim the healthy way.

Products you may like:

Garden of Life RAW Meal Original Garden of Life RAW Meal Original
Why you may like this product? This meal replacement shake gives your body everything it needs for complete nutrition. Each serving contains 34 g of protein, 9 g of fiber, vitamins, minerals and a probiotic blend. This product is created from all plant- based sources and is dairy free, gluten free, vegan and raw. Try original, vanilla or chocolate cacao.
Almased Synergy Diet Powder  Almased Synergy Diet Powder 
Why you may like this product? This diet not only works as a meal replacement, but it helps to boost metabolism while providing amino acids, vitamins, minerals and protein. With no added starches, sugars, flavors or fillers, you can feel good about using this product to aid in your weight loss.
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