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How Much Weight Can You Lose in One Month on a Liquid Diet?

by
author image Sarah Nyako
Based in the Washington, D.C. metro area, Sarah Nyako has been writing professionally since 2008. Her area of expertise is health, fitness and the pharmaceutical industry. She is currently working towards a master's degree in medical writing.
How Much Weight Can You Lose in One Month on a Liquid Diet?
Young woman holding a cup of orange juice. Photo Credit Digital Vision/Photodisc/Getty Images

The amount of weight you can lose on a month-long liquid diet depends on several factors. The most important is the number of calories your body burns and the number of calories you consume. If you go on a prolonged liquid diet, you run the risk of getting insufficient nutrition and calories, which can affect your health. This can have consequences ranging from muscle loss to malnutrition. Consult with your doctor or a nutritionist before attempting a liquid diet, especially for such an extended time.

Rate of Loss

A liquid diet is similar to any other diet, in that if you consume fewer calories than you expend, you will lose weight. As a rule of thumb, to lose 1 lb. of fat per week, you must consume 3,500 fewer calories than the number you need to maintain your weight. Your maintenance level is dependent partially on your height, weight, age and body composition. You can use the calculator in the resources section of this article to determine the average number of calories an average person of your height, weight, activity level and age can eat to maintain her weight. From there, subtract 500 calories per day to lose 1 lb. a week and 1,000 to lose 2 lbs. You shouldn't try to lose more than 2 lbs. per week. Total the number of calories in the liquid diet you plan to follow, and you will be able to predict how much weight you can lose.

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Liquid-Diet Calories

There is no typical number of calories on a liquid diet, because the plans vary so widely. For example, some fad liquid diets call for drinking only a homemade lemonade and have extremely low calorie counts. Other liquid diets are dairy-based and composed of protein shakes. These have significantly more calories. Depending on what kind of liquid diet you plan to follow and how much of the liquid you drink, your calorie count could be as lower than 1,000 daily or closer to 2,000.

Your Rate of Loss

Don't count on losing just fat on a liquid diet. You will lose a large amount of water weight, especially if you have a tendency to retain water. Water flushes fluids out of your system and combats dehydration, which causes your body to hold onto the water. Some of those fluids will be the water you've been retaining, which could be a significant amount. Your body is 60 percent water, and it can account for wide variations in your weight.
Part of your weight loss may also be in the form of muscle. If you are not getting enough calories, your body will start burning muscle instead of fat. When you undertake any extremely limited diet, your body goes into starvation mode, turning to muscle instead of fat for energy and undermining your metabolism. This can actually sabotage your long-term weight loss goals

Considerations

Think of weight loss as a long-term project instead of a quick fix. Weight lost very rapidly often comes right back when you return to your normal diet. Therefore, you should aim to make sustainable and reasonable changes as you transition to a permanent healthy lifestyle. A liquid diet will not teach you how to choose healthy foods, so you may go back to your previous unhealthy diet. If you are a woman, you should never drop below 1,200 calories daily. If you are a man, you need at least 1,500 calories daily.

Risks

A liquid diet may leave you constantly hungry and dissatisfied, which may lead to bingeing and weight gain. According to University of Iowa Health Care, low-calorie liquid diets can cause sensitivity to cold, brittle nails, fatigue, diarrhea or constipation and heart problems. Another risk you run is malnutrition. According to Pub Med Health, you can develop malnutrition if you lack just one vitamin or mineral, and any damage caused by a deficiency could be permanent. Discuss your plans with a doctor to determine whether the liquid diet you are considering is a healthy one. Also examine your motivations and goals. Extreme dieting can sometimes be a sign of an eating disorder.

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References

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