A liquid diet, as the name itself suggests, is one where only liquid or liquid foods are consumed, particularly during a medical condition or when digestion or swallowing is difficult for a person.
During this diet, most of the source of your calories is through liquid foods and drinks only. For most people, it is a temporary measure and not a long-term nutritional strategy.
A liquid diet has different forms and types, for instance, full liquid diets and clear liquid diets. There are slight differences in these and thus, consulting your doctor or dietician for a better approach is advised.
These diets, however, cannot provide all the necessary nutrients required by the body for a very long time. Thus, you can’t keep going on with it in the long run else your body will be devoid of major nutrients.
Importance of liquid diet
A liquid diet holds prime importance when it comes to healthy diet regimes after surgeries, colonoscopies, or other medical conditions.
The body can digest clear liquids easily and also aids in maintaining a healthy digestive system. Doctors suggest these diets usually before and after certain medical procedures.
Clear liquids provide calories, electrolytes, and water, which means they can help nourish the body and prevent dehydration.
Weight loss is also one of the major reasons why many people switch to temporary liquid diets and it works as well!
However, your diet plan should be properly planned and strategized before consumption. These are mainly short-term diets consumed until your regular diet regime is accepted by your body.
Uses of liquid diet
The use of a liquid diet in the medical field is highly significant. More than that, the need for the body to go through healthy digestive changes can also be fulfilled by liquid diets.
The major uses are as follows-
- Before a medical procedure
Doctors suggest staying on a liquid diet before any surgery or minor medical procedure or tests to make sure nothing remains in the intestine.
This makes it easier to locate the problem and diagnose the various medical conditions without any complications in the further steps.
Mainly, this type of diet is compulsory before an endoscopy or colonoscopy to ease the process of examining inside a person’s bowels.
Even if a doctor has not recommended a clear liquid diet before surgery, a person will usually need to stop eating solid foods to prevent digestive issues further during the surgery.
- After a medical procedure
After any medical procedure or surgery, there are many precautions one needs to take and the most important of all is watching out for the diet.
Following general anesthesia, many people experience nausea and vomiting. Others may feel difficulty in swallowing while some may have one or the other digestive problems.
In such conditions, directly consuming solid foods can be a risk thus liquid diets are preferred, for recovery purposes.
Some doctors might recommend sucking a few ice chips to start with, then sipping some water before moving onto clear liquid while the body recovers.
- In case of gastrointestinal distress
If a person feels nauseous, suffers vomiting or diarrhea, and any other major gastro-intestinal problems even for a short term, he or she is advised to consume a liquid diet to allow the bowel to heal.
In many cases, GI distress leads to dehydration, and thus the need for proper fluid and electrolyte intake increases. Here, a liquid diet works wonders.
Other uses involve-
- Recovering from pancreatitis
- After weight loss surgery
- After dental or oral surgery
- When a doctor or dentist wires the jaw shut
Foods and drinks to consume
The general duration of a liquid diet is no longer than two weeks except for some exceptions like before bariatric surgery or fractured jaw.
Due to its restrictive nature, you should be closely monitored by your doctor when on this diet for more than a few days.
When it comes to what all goes in a liquid diet, the priorities should be clear and concise. For the stipulated time period, the nutritional needs should be adequately met.
An ideal liquid diet plan can have the following foods and drinks as a beneficial addition-
- fruit juices
- soup broth
- pureed fruits and vegetables
- strained or pureed soups
- strained or pureed meats
- baby food
- cream of wheat
- strained oatmeal
- protein drinks and other liquid nutritional supplements
- ice cream
- margarine, butter, and mayonnaise
- soft egg-based products, such as eggnog
- pureed meats and beans
- mashed potatoes
- meat-based gravy
Liquid diet recipes can be modified and made more tasty and healthy through modifications that can be done by an expert dietician.
It is time and again said that a liquid diet cannot fulfill the optimum nutritional requirements of a human body for a long time and thus there are standard timings and ways to perceive the diet.
As a general rule, have enough to feel satisfied. If you have certain digestive disorders or are recovering from illness or surgery, you may feel full more quickly than ever.
Start by drinking as much as you comfortably can every 15 minutes. Do not complete it in one go. Take small sips from a small glass. A good practice is to divide your liquid diet into 6-8 small liquid meals throughout the day.
Make sure you consult with your dietician and doctor before consuming your liquids. Many times, certain medical comorbidities may restrict you from consuming certain liquids.
Benefits! (the results)
A liquid diet is not a long-term health solution. However, for short term goals, its benefits include:
- Easy digestion
- Clearing up intestines to ease medical procedures
- Providing adequate hydration and nourishment
- Can aid as a detox solution
- Weight loss
A liquid diet can be a good option as a short-term health regime to cope up with pre and post-medical health issues, lose weight or restore hydration.
However, the long-term practice of staying on it might not be very beneficial as it can keep you devoid of important nutrients and cause weakness and fatigue.