Liquid Diets for Weight Loss

Liquid diets are popular because they are convenient to use. Over one billion dollars is spent annually on liquid diet products. There are two types of liquid diets. The low calorie liquid diet should be taken only under strict medical supervision. It provides about 400-800 calories a day, usually in the form of high protein shake.

This diet is for seriously obese people who need to lose a lot of weight in short order. A drink or shake replaces one or two whole meals with liquids. All dieters should consult with a physician before starting a liquid diet.

How Liquid Diets Work

On the plus side, low calorie liquid diets cause the body to burn fat and lose 3-4 pounds a week. Successful liquid diet programs include:

  • fasting period of 420-800 calories a day for 12 weeks
  • supervised eating of sensible meals
  • eating sensibly on one’s own

It includes an exercise program of 30 minutes per day, six days a week. Support groups help dieters by promoting long-term dietary change, exercise, and behavioral modification. The problem with all diets is not losing weight but keeping it off. Nearly 95% of people who diet stop dieting, go back to their old eating habits and regain weight. This is known as the yo-yo effect.

People on medically supervised liquid diets see results after a few weeks of dieting. Their electrocardiograms and blood tests showed a reduction in their blood lipids, blood sugars, and blood pressure. Adherence to liquid diets is reinforced by having their weight checked by a physician or other health care provider on a regular basis. Well disciplined people generally lose weight because they are highly motivated. The more obese the person is the more weight is lost.

Harmful Consequences

People who are only mildly obese lose too much lean body mass which increases their chance of developing cardiac problems. Liquid protein diets have been associated with cardiac arrhythmias. Diabetics are at risk on unsupervised liquid diets because their blood sugar levels may fluctuate dramatically. Individuals with cardiac problems or high blood pressure should avoid liquid diets as most contain 500 mg of sodium per day.

There are numerous liquid diet products out there and most are touted as the best available. These claims are rarely backed by scientific evidence. Advertising companies do not provide information concerning the dieter dropout rate, the regaining of weight, and the risks associated with the liquid diet program. They do not tell you, for instance, that liquid diets provide only 36% of the recommended daily amount of fiber, only 18 of 23 amino acids, and sometimes lack the vitamins and minerals required for good health. Without these, the body is more susceptible to disease and infection. Eventually, liquid diets can lead to muscle cramps, anemia, dizziness, menstrual abnormality and constipation.

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