Most people receive adequate nutrition through healthful, well-balanced diets that consist of solid foods. For individuals with stomach and bowel conditions — such as cancer or Crohn's disease — a regular diet may not always be possible. For this reason, liquid diets exist. Follow a liquid diet at the discretion of your physician. You should not try to live on a clear liquid diet. However, a full liquid diet can give you adequate nutrition.
While you can live on a full liquid diet, a diet filled with milk, protein shakes, juice, and ice cream, you should only do so under the direction of a physician.
Clear Liquid Diet
A clear liquid diet consists of foods and beverages that are liquid and translucent at room temperature. People often eat clear liquid diets for a day to two to prepare for a medical test or procedure — such as stomach surgery or a colonoscopy. Clear liquid diets can also help an individual recover from stomach or bowel surgery. This type of diet is easily digestible and leaves little residue in your intestines. As a result, your stomach is better able to recover. Clear liquid diets provide you with hydration, electrolytes and minimal energy when you cannot consume solid foods. However, clear liquid diets cannot give you adequate nutrition or calories, and you should not follow a clear liquid diet more than a few days. You should be under the care of a physician while on a clear liquid diet.
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Full Liquid Diet
A full liquid diet includes all foods and beverages that are liquid at room temperature. A full liquid diet can also include thicker liquids such as puddings or milkshakes. The diet does not permit solid foods. When you cannot consume or digest solid foods, a full liquid diet can provide protein, hydration, salt and minerals. The National Institutes of Health indicate that a full liquid diet can provide most individuals with 1,350 to 1,500 calories each day. Additionally, you will receive 45 grams of protein daily. You can survive on a full liquid diet for an extended period even if you have diabetes. However, you should be under the care of a doctor. Your doctor may recommend vitamins and other supplements to ensure adequate nutrition.
Foods on a Liquid Diet
There a number of foods and beverages your doctor will allow you to consume while on a liquid diet. Items on a clear liquid diet include plain water, chicken broth, beef broth, clear sports drinks, fruit juice without pulp, clear sodas, ice pops without fruit pieces, plain gelatin and coffee and tea without milk or creamer. On a full liquid diet, you can consume all of the items recommended for a clear liquid diet. You can also eat pudding, plain ice cream, strained meat, yogurt, sherbet, custard, honey, syrups, sugar, instant breakfast shakes, smoothies, milkshakes, protein supplements, cream and oatmeal. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions regarding the foods and beverages you can and cannot consume.
Liquid Diets for Weight Loss
On a liquid diet, you may be able to shed pounds rapidly. However, you should be under the care of a physician while on this type of diet. A liquid diet for weight loss is what you would consider fad or yo-yo dieting. At first, the results seem great. However, the second you stop this type of dieting you are likely to begin regaining weight. Additionally, the lack of nutrition you receive from a liquid diet can slow your metabolism. The lack of vital nutrients causes your body to believe you are starving yourself. As a result, it goes into survival mode. This slows your metabolism in an effort to conserve energy, which makes it more difficult for you to lose weight. Proper dieting for weight loss should include a well-balanced diet and regular exercise.