High-Protein Liquid Diet

Female doctor holding medical records, smiling, portrait
Physicians prescribe a liquid diet for several reasons. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

A high-protein liquid diet is a medically prescribed meal plan. Physicians prescribe this diet regimen for a number of reasons. Most commonly, your doctor may prescribe a high-protein liquid diet preoperatively to promote weight loss before bariatric surgery, as well as postoperatively to help your recovery. Your doctor may also prescribe a high-protein liquid diet to treat obesity when other diets have failed.

Pre-Operative High-Protein Liquid Diet

Surgeon adjusting lamp, low angle view
Surgeon preparing to perform surgery. (Image: moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images)

Following a high-protein liquid diet before weight loss surgery helps reduce surgical risk. Guidelines may vary, but typically you can expect to consume at least five protein drinks each day, along with clear, sugar-free fluids. It's typical to follow this diet for seven to 14 days before your surgery date. You can find protein supplements at your local grocery store. Look for protein powder or drinks that contain at least 15 grams of protein per 8-ounce serving, less than 20 grams of total carbohydrates, less than 5 grams of fat and no more than 200 calories per serving.

Post-Operative Implementation

Four plastic containers for dairy products with foil lid
Low fat yogurt is a good post-operative food. (Image: fotofermer/iStock/Getty Images)

Immediately following bariatric surgery, a high-protein liquid diet provides nutrition while your body heals. This regimen allows you to eat a wider variety of foods, but they must have a smooth, liquid consistency. It's typical to have six liquid meals each day. You will have a protein drink for three of these meals. For the other three meals, you choose a one-fourth to one-half cup serving of liquid protein foods such as low-fat yogurt, low-fat pudding, fat-free milk or soy milk. Your physician checks your progress and determines when you can expand to other foods.

Obesity Regimen

Vegetable soup
Soup is easily digestible. (Image: YelenaYemchuk/iStock/Getty Images)

Your doctor may prescribe a medically-monitored high-protein liquid plan for weight loss when other measures have failed. The Optifast diet is one example. Typically, you follow this diet for 12 to 16 weeks before slowly transitioning back to solid foods. You can expect to choose five pre-packaged Optifast meals each day, which consist of shakes and soups. Expected weight loss is two to four pounds per week. On programs such as Optifast, you're encouraged to attend weekly nutrition counseling sessions to gain the knowledge and skills to maintain long-term weight loss.

Points to Consider

Doctors And Nurses At The Reception Area Of A Hospital
Remain under a doctor's supervision. (Image: Monkey Business Images/Monkey Business/Getty Images)

The amount of calories you consume will vary. For example, the typical Optifast diet provides 800 to 1000 calories per day. Doctors commonly prescribe a multivitamin while on liquid diets to ensure that you meet your nutrition needs. Your doctor may also recommend a fiber supplement since this regimen typically lacks fiber. It's crucial to undertake a high-protein liquid diet only under your doctor's supervision.

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