A liquid diet occurs when you get most of your calories and nutrition from liquids. This may be through juices, broths, shakes, dairy products, gelatin, drinkable yogurt, supplemental beverages or other liquid sources. A clear liquid diet is similar to a liquid diet, the main difference being that a clear diet only allows fluids that are free of food particles, such as water, apple juice, or broth.
Liquid diets are usually followed for a short period of time and are meant to ensure safety, as they are recommended when preparing for a medical procedure or recovering from surgery, when your digestive system is in distress, or in situations where individuals have difficulty swallowing or chewing. A liquid diet may be recommended in the following situations:
- Before and after weight loss surgery
- After dental or oral surgery
- To ease symptoms of digestive distress
- After the loss of multiple teeth
- After complications in the mouth or jaw
- When recovering from pancreatitis
- For weight loss
One of the drawbacks of following a liquid diet is that it may become difficult to obtain enough calories, as well as fiber and essential vitamins and nutrients that are needed to maintain a strong and healthy body. These diets commonly lack protein, iron, Vitamin A, and Vitamin B-12, and usually requite supplementation to prevent nutritional deficits.
To ensure a liquid diet contains all essential nutrients, it’s important to plan accordingly and consult with your doctor or nutritionist on the foods and/or liquids you can or cannot eat during the period you will be following the diet. Accurate planning can make your journey through a liquid diet go by as seamless as possible.