how healthy is a liquid diet for weight loss?

Losing weight often comes down to finding the right balance between diet and exercise. If you exercise regularly, you can avoid focusing less on diet. 

However, for those who are already overweight or are gaining weight as a result of not exercising enough, following a nutritional and low-calorie diet could be the best way to help support their weight loss goals.

But what type of diet is best for weight loss? Is a liquid diet right for you? And is dieting really the healthy way to lose weight?

For answers to all of these questions and more, you have come to the right place!

What Is A Liquid Diet? Is It Healthy?

There are many types of diets one can follow to aid weight loss. However, in this article, we will focus on liquid diets, what they entail, and whether they are healthy. 

A liquid diet, as the name suggests, refers to not eating any solid meals at all, for a specific period. Instead, for nourishment, you are only allowed to drink fluids, such as vegetable and fruit juices, water, protein shakes, milk, yogurt, puddings, soups, broths, coffee/tea, and smoothies. 

As these liquids have very low calories and fats they can be very effective at helping to lower weight quickly in the short run.

Liquid diets are also considered healthy if used correctly. With the right combination of meals in liquid form, you can achieve the necessary vitamins, minerals, calories, protein, and nutrient intake your body needs to stay nourished and active.

However, it is highly recommended that before opting for a liquid diet program you speak to your doctor or dietician. These experts can help guide you on how to best follow a liquid diet program based on your health requirements and Body Mass Index (BMI).

3 Liquid Diet Ideas For Weight Loss

A liquid diet can be effective for weight loss and help cleanse and detoxify the body and improve digestive health. 

While there are many types of liquid diet ideas for weight loss that you can follow, most of these diet programs fall under the following three categories:

Cleansing & Detox Liquid Diets

doctors designs cleansing herbs tea

This form of liquid diet focuses on consuming liquids such as juices, soups, and tea to remove toxins from the body. 

A detox diet isn't meant for weight loss but rather to help improve your immune system and eliminate toxins that can weaken your body. As such, this diet is only followed for a short period, a few days at the max!

Examples of detox and cleansing diets include water fasting, the master cleanse, and different types of vegetable and fruit juice diet programs.

Liquid Meal Replacement Diets To Aid Weight Loss

Those who find it difficult to control portion size or limit the frequency of meals they consume can potentially benefit from a liquid meal replacement diet that, as the name suggests, replaces certain meals with a low-calorie drink such as a shake or smoothie.

Having fresh juice or a smoothie blended with vegetables and fruits for breakfast, and/or soups and broths for lunch or dinner, can provide vital nutrients that are healthy for your body but are very low in calories. 

This helps you to cut down on calorie intake without reducing the number of times you eat and puts a stop to those frequent hunger pangs. This makes liquid meal replacement diets extremely effective for weight loss.

Medically Prescribed Liquid Diets

These types of liquid diets are generally prescribed by doctors to patients who are diagnosed with digestive problems, have trouble swallowing or chewing, have to undergo jaw surgery, have severe throat or mouth sores, and/or recovering from gastrointestinal infections, dental or oral surgery, as well as, weight loss surgery

There are generally two types of medically prescribed liquid diets; clear liquid diets and full liquid diets.

The biggest difference between the two is that a clear liquid diet only allows for the consumption of clear liquids such as water, broth, and apple juice, while a full liquid diet is less restrictive and allows for most types of beverages, protein shakes, and even foods that melt such as ice-cream, pudding, and Jell-O.

While medically prescribed liquid diets can result in weight loss, their main purpose is to make digesting food easy for patients.

The Pros & Cons of Liquid Diet Programs

Before opting for any type of liquid diet program it is first important to understand its benefits and drawbacks.

all liquid diet beverages

The Benefits of Liquid Diets (Pros)

  • Liquid diets have a much lower calorie count than solid foods (over 50% less). This means your body will likely burn more calories than you are consuming resulting in weight loss.
  • A well-planned full liquid diet can contain most if not all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs daily while being low calorie and low fat. This can help with both weight loss and weight management.
  • Assists with organ and body detoxification. Following a liquid diet helps flush out your kidney and cleanse your digestive tract and other organs from unwanted toxins that could negatively impact your immune system. 
  • Liquid foods are easier to absorb for your digestive system and easier to excrete. Many consider following a liquid-only diet for a few days, intermittently, to help cleanse the digestive system and improve digestive health.
  • Liquid meal replacement diets are easy to make, easy to manage, and highly convenient as you can have nutrient-rich low-calorie meals on the go. 

The Drawbacks of Liquid Diets (Cons)

  • Following a clear liquid diet, for example, won’t give you all the calories or the vital nutrients your body needs to function normally. This can result in one feeling lethargic, light-headed, and dizzy.
  • Liquid diets can’t be sustained for the long term. These diets are best used only for short-term weight loss goals. At most, you should follow a liquid diet program for up to 5 days.
  • Staying on a liquid diet for too long can lead to malnutrition, fatigue, heart problems, constipation, and generally weaken the immune system.

Best Tips To Follow When On A Liquid Diet

Even if you are considering following a full liquid diet for a couple of days to assist with your weight loss goals, you still need to be prepared for the challenges you are bound to face.

To help you follow a liquid diet responsibility here are some top tips and considerations you should always account for.

Prepare & Plan Ahead

Following a liquid diet shouldn’t be a whimsical decision. If you are going to take this challenge on you need to be ready for it. Hence, you must plan ahead by preparing and stocking up on liquid meals in advance. 

By investing in a blender you can make big batches of liquid foods that you can freeze. This way whenever you feel hungry you don’t have to worry about finding or making something to drink.

Budget Accordingly

Relying solely on nutritional shakes that can be bought off-the-shelf, or buying ready-made juices and meal replacements can get quite expensive. 

Ideally, you want to create a balance of homemade liquid foods and store-bought shakes and smoothies to give you the nutrition and protein you need without it being burdensome on your wallet.

Turn Soft Foods Into Liquids

You don’t have to rely on just shakes and juices for calories and nutrients. You can also turn a variety of soft foods into liquids by simply adding water or milk. 

Heating certain foods until they melt, such as cheese, ice cream, or chocolate is also a great way to expand your liquid food options.

Don’t be shy of using a blender to puree as many fruits and vegetables as you can. This puree can be used in a variety of liquids adding not only flavor but also essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. 

You can also liquidate pasta, rice, and potatoes by boiling them until they are extremely soft and then blending and thinning them further with butter, water, or gravy. 


Best Shakes & Drinks You Can Buy Online for a Liquid Diet

Here's a few examples of popular and high quality drinks and shakes that are commonly used in all liquid diets. We've put together this list from sales and customer reviews sourced from multiple websites and in-clinic data:

  1. New Direction Cookies and Cream Protein Shake

    New Direction Cookies and Cream Protein Shake

    Enjoy a satisfying choice with the New Direction Cookies and Cream Protein Shake, ideal for an all-liquid diet. This solid meal replacement shake provides 27g of protein along with essential vitamins and minerals. With only 4g of sugar, it's a low-sugar option that can be enjoyed as a shake or pudding. Each box contains 7 servings, covering a week's worth of nutritious meals. It's well-suited for low calorie diet needs, supporting muscle growth, weight management, and digestive health. Get the tasty cookie flavor while sticking to an all liquid diet.

  2. Bariatric Advantage High Protein Shakes

    Bariatric Advantage High Protein Chocolate Meal Replacement

    Experience the inviting chocolate taste of the Bariatric Advantage Chocolate Protein Shake, ideal for those on an all-liquid diet. This shake delivers a strong 27g of protein, making it a great choice for bariatric and diabetic patients as well. With a minimal 2g of sugar and 150 calories, it's a nutritious and fulfilling option tailored for bariatric individuals. Each bag has 28 servings, offering a month's supply of tasty and well-rounded low calorie shakes. It's a gluten-free formula, loaded with essential vitamins. Savor the smooth chocolate flavor while meeting your all liquid diet objectives and nutritional requirements.

  3. Lemon Razzy Fruit Drink

    Lemon Razzy Fruit Drink

    Refresh your taste buds with the Lemon Razzy Fruit Drink. This delightful beverage offers a zesty lemon flavor with a hint of raspberry, providing a unique and satisfying taste that's a little different than your typical protein shake. With 15g of protein and only 70 calories, it's a perfect choice for low calorie and liquid dieters seeking a flavorful and nutritious drink. Each box contains 7 servings, making it a convenient option for daily enjoyment. It's aspartame-free and low in carbohydrates. Enjoy the invigorating taste of this 15g protein fruit drink while staying aligned with your weight management and nutritional needs.

  4. Vanilla Cappuccino 15g Protein Shake

    Vanilla Cappuccino 15g Protein Shake

    Although you don't think of a cappuccino when you think of protein shakes, this Vanilla Cappuccino is a specially designed protein shake. With only 90 calories per serving, it offers 15g protein and just 1g sugar. It's perfect for medical weight loss and diabetic patients. The Vanilla Cappuccino Protein Shake is more than a delicious coffee flavor with a hint of vanilla. It's a nutritious choice with 7 servings per box, 1g fat, and aspartame-free. Ideal as a dessert, snack, or breakfast, it's an easy-to-prepare instant shake that satisfies and energizes.

  5. ChocoRite Protein Shake Mix: Sugar-Free

    ChocoRite Bariatric Protein Shake Mix

    The ChocoRite Protein Shake Mix is a delightful treat for low sugar, high protein diets. It offers 24 grams of high-quality whey protein isolate. 5 grams of fiber and a full range of vitamins and minerals in each serving. The shake mix also includes NutraFlora, a superior natural prebiotic fiber that feeds the good bacteria in the gut. This slow-digesting fiber eliminates gas and discomfort associated with other fiber sources. With only 130-150 calories and 3 net carbs per serving, it's a perfect choice for low-carb and low-sugar diets. Enjoy a sugar-free treat in a variety of delicious flavors. Many bariatric and diabetic patients appreciate the taste and the nutritional balance that supports their weight goals.

  6. Café Mocha Protein Shake

    Cafe Mocha Protein Shake

    Dive into a delightful mix of coffee and mocha with the Café Mocha Protein Shake, crafted with the liquid diet enthusiast in mind. This shake isn't just a tasty beverage; it's a meal replacement bringing 15g of protein, 100 calories, and 24 essential vitamins and minerals to your liquid diet regimen. With 7 servings per box, it provides a week's worth of nutritious, liquid sustenance. The Café Mocha Protein Shake can also be enjoyed as a mocha pudding, offering a slightly different texture for your palate. The light coffee taste is sure to be a favorite. It's a nutritious and satisfying addition to any all-liquid diet, letting you enjoy a touch of mocha creaminess without straying from your dietary goals.

  7. Strawberry Blast Smoothie

    Strawberry Bariatric Protein Smoothie

    Enjoy the simple, fruity flavor of the Strawberry Blast Smoothie, well-suited for an all-liquid diet. This smoothie serves as a practical meal replacement with 15g of protein and 100 calories per serving. It contains 20% Daily Value of 24 essential vitamins and minerals, making it a nutritious choice. Made with non-fat yogurt, it offers a smooth texture and can also be prepared as a pudding for a change of pace. Each box comes with 7 servings, making it a convenient option for a week's worth of liquid meals. The Strawberry Blast Smoothie is a straightforward, nutritious option for anyone on a liquid diet, offering a touch of fruity flavor while meeting dietary needs.

  8. Healthwise 35g Protein Meal Replacement Shake

    Healthwise 35g Protein Meal Replacement Shake

    Boost your protein and nutrition intake with the 35g Protein Meal Replacement Shake. This powerful shake offers a substantial 35g of protein, making it an ideal choice for liquid dieters seeking to support muscle growth and recovery. With only 1g of sugar and 250 calories, it's a nutritionally balanced and satisfying meal replacement shake. Each box contains 7 servings, providing convenience and consistency in your diet. It's gluten-free and suitable for lactose-intolerant individuals. Enjoy the delicious chocolate or vanilla flavors while staying aligned with your weight management and nutritional goals.

  9. Aloha Mango Smoothie

    Aloha Mango Smoothie

    The Aloha Mango Smoothie is a popular shake option that offers a tropical taste experience with nutritional benefits. Containing 15g of protein and only 100 calories, it aligns with the dietary needs of most low calorie diets including an all liquid diet. This smoothie is gluten-free and aspartame-free, accommodating various dietary restrictions. The combination of tropical flavors and essential nutrients provides a satisfying and convenient choice for those on a full liquid diet. It's designed to support weight loss goals without sacrificing taste or nutritional value.

  10. Chike Protein Iced Coffee Bag

    Chike Protein Iced Coffee Bag

    Revitalize your mornings with the Chike Protein Iced Coffee Bag. This unique blend combines the energizing power of coffee with 20g of whey protein, offering a perfect start to the day for liquid-only dieters. With only 2g of sugar and 130 calories, it's a unique indulgence that supports your health while also being a great morning option on a liquid diet journey. Each bag contains 14 servings, providing two weeks of delicious and nutritious iced coffee. It's gluten-free and contains real espresso coffee. 

  11. French Vanilla Protein Shake

    French Vanilla Protein Shake

    Here is a protein shake classic, the AmBari Nutrition French Vanilla Protein Shake. This diabetic-friendly shake offers 15g of protein and only 100 calories, making it an ideal meal replacement for a liquid diet. With 7 servings per box, it's a convenient portion controlled option. The shake is gluten-free and aspartame-free, catering to various dietary needs. Enjoy the smooth vanilla flavor that's reminiscent of a gourmet dessert. It mixes well with most other protein shakes so you can have a little variety in your flavors. It's a popular staple for most low calorie medically-supervised diets.

  12. Chocolate Brownie Protein Shake

    Chocolate Brownie Protein Shake

    Experience the rich fusion of chocolate and brownie in the Chocolate Brownie Protein Shake. This liquid meal replacement offers a satisfying 15g of protein and a mere 100 calories. Packed with 24 essential vitamins and minerals, it's a nutritious choice that can be enjoyed as a creamy liquid shake. With 7 servings in each box, it's a convenient option for weight management. The calcium caseinate protein helps keep you full, while the chocolate brownie flavor satisfies your cravings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q) What is the main benefit of a full liquid diet?

The main benefit of a full liquid diet is that it helps heal one’s digestive tract and requires no chewing. It also allows your body to get close to the amount of calories it needs to function normally which can be extremely helpful when looking to lose weight quickly.

Q) How much weight can you lose on a liquid diet?

On average, people have reported losing 3-4 pounds a week when on a full liquid diet. As weight loss can be significant and quite sudden when following liquid diets, it is always best to track your nutrition and follow the guidelines set by your healthcare provider.

Final Thoughts

While following a liquid diet isn’t sustainable or healthy for the long term it does have numerous benefits if followed correctly in the short run. Not only does it offer an effective way to reduce weight quickly but can also help detoxify the body and cleanse the digestive system.

Those of you looking for meal replacement delivery services that cater to liquid diets look no further than AmBari Nutrition. We specialize in a wide array of delicious snacks and meal replacements that are designed specifically for very low-calorie and Bariatric diets.

For more information give us a call at (888) 444-7120!


Writer: Allison

Allison is a seasoned nutritionist and writer with over 15 years in health and weight management. She's authored journals on medical weight loss and bariatric medicine, and has specialized in bariatric foods.

Reviewed By: Dr. K. Huffman

Dr. Kevin D. Huffman, D.O., is a board-certified bariatric physician renowned for his expertise in treating obesity. With over 10,000 patients and a reputation as a national leader in bariatric medicine, he has trained hundreds of healthcare providers. Dr. Huffman develops protocols and training materials sought after by medical societies, pharmaceutical companies, patients, and hospitals.

Weight Loss & Nutrition Journal

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