Thin Stools & Liquid Diet

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Following a liquid diet may lead to thin stools. (Image: zhongguo/iStock/Getty Images)

You may need to follow a liquid diet prior to a medical procedure, while recovering from a gastrointestinal illness or immediately following surgery. Some forms of weight loss diets allow you to only consume liquid foods for awhile until you reach your goals. One side effect of a liquid diet may be thin stools, most likely resulting from the lack of fiber in your digestive tract. Follow your doctor's instructions while on the liquid diet or inform him if you decide to follow this type of diet for weight loss. Let him know if you experience frequent thin stools; it could be related to another medical condition.

Purpose of Liquid Diets

These types of diets limit the kinds of foods you consume, leaving minimal residue in your digestive tract, an important factor for medical procedures. When you follow a liquid diet for weight loss purposes, weight loss occurs due to the limited amount of calories you consume. You may experience weight gain when you reintroduce solid foods back into your diet. Liquid diets can be followed for a long period of time, but they may be low in nutrients and fiber and may require additional supplements, notes the University of Maryland.

Types of Foods

Liquid diets include foods that are normally liquid and foods that turn into liquid at room temperature, such as ice cream. You can have a variety of beverages including water, juice, soda, coffee and tea. Nutritional meal replacement drinks are another beverage option on liquid diets. Enjoy a variety of soups, ice cream, frozen pops and gelatin, as long as they do not contain any solids, such as noodles and fruit pieces. In some cases, you may be able to include pureed foods and cream of wheat, but check with your doctor or specific diet plan to see if these foods are allowed.

Lack of Fiber

While you can include a variety of foods, your intake of fiber is limited, possibly resulting in irregular or thin stools. You need two types of fiber in your diet: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber comes from fruits, beans, psyllium and oats. This type of fiber slows digestion, allowing nutrients to be fully absorbed and creates a soft easily passable stool. Insoluble fiber from vegetables, whole wheat and bran acts like a broom in your digestive tract, pushing food through and increasing fecal bulk, explains the Mayo Clinic. Fiber helps keep you regular and passes waste. Because liquid diets have little fiber, you may experience thin stools, diarrhea or constipation.

Other Considerations

Thin stools can be a sign of a serious health condition. Small pouches in your intestine, a condition called "diverticular disease," can affect your bowel movements. Getting adequate fiber through supplements while following a liquid diet can help decrease your risk of diverticular disease. Additionally, thin stools can be a sign that you are not properly absorbing nutrients, which can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies if you let the condition go without medical intervention.

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