Liquid diet and meal replacements have been proven to be an effective way to reduce excess weight, whenever you’re doing a liquid diet for health or to lose weight. In this article, I will explain everything about doing the liquid diet and what you can expect.
How much weight can you lose on a liquid diet?
On average, you can lose between 0.8 to 3 pounds per week on a liquid diet in the short-term. For men, the average weight loss in a calorie deficit ranges from 1 to 3 pounds per week, where for women the average weight loss ranges from 0.8 to 2.5 pounds per week.
So in the short term, liquid diets and meal replacements seem to work really well as a strategy for weight loss. However, their long-term effectiveness varies.
Is Liquid Diet Good For Weight Loss?
In general, a liquid diet is good for weight loss. Lowering the number of calories consumed by reducing the food volume and its form is been a proven strategy to lose weight, at least in the short term. However, the long-term use of liquid diets is unsustainable.
Everything works in the short term. Doesn’t matter if we eat only chicken and broccoli, meal replacement shakes, or a liquid diet.
As long as you lower your calories consistently, over time you will lose weight.
But weight loss doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a dynamic process that takes time and is regulated by our metabolic rate.
And with a calorie deficit (regardless if it’s from a liquid diet or juice cleanse) your metabolism will crash.
Can Liquid Diets Lower Metabolism?
As a general rule, liquid diets can lower your metabolism because energy expenditure declines as people lose weight. People with lower lean body mass will lose more weight but will also significantly lower their metabolism, comparing to people with higher lean body mass.
Your metabolism is basically the ability to use energy from the food by the body. And the difference between slow and fast metabolism is in the total daily energy expenditure.
Aka how many calories your body burns per day.
You can predict your metabolism based on your age, body weight, and height using the BMR equation.
But here’s the kicker. After weight loss occurs, the “new” metabolic rate is lower than predicted.
People who lost weight from 250 pounds down to 150 pounds will have a 15-40% lower metabolic rate, compared to those that are already at 150 pounds (source).
This is called metabolic slowdown. When you rapidly lose weight, or you excessively lower your calorie intake, your body won’t burn a lot of calories anymore.
That’s why after drastic weight loss, the chance to regain weight goes way up.
Your metabolism doesn’t go parallel with you. It goes lower.
However you can minimize the impact of your metabolic adaptations by combining a liquid diet with regular food and resistance training.
Weight Loss With Liquid Diet
To achieve permanent weight loss with a liquid diet without regaining the weight back up you need to implement a high amount of protein, fiber-rich foods, and regular strength training. This will keep your metabolic rate high, despite being in a calorie deficit.
Of course, some people have no other option.
Those who have to stay on a liquid diet due to their pre or post-treatment should add some protein shakes and meal replacements.
- Having a sufficient amount of protein while being in the calorie deficit will help with keeping the lean body mass high and keep the metabolic rate up.
Adding some resistance training can help.
- Strength training with progressive overload will stimulate muscle protein synthesis and help regulate glucose more effectively.
The metabolic slowdown will happen regardless of the method you’re using to lose weight. However, adding protein and strength training will significantly lower the impact.
Liquid Diet Pros and Cons
In total, there are several pros and cons to the liquid diet.
- Quick short-term results that can spark enthusiasm
- It’s good during the transition time while learning new healthy eating habits
- Easy and straightforward to do
- Can feel boring long time
- Lack of essential nutrients and fiber
- Lowers the metabolism
So in other words, it can be used initially, but it shouldn’t be done long-term unless advised by the physician.
How Fast Can You Lose Weight On A Liquid Diet?
On average, on a liquid diet, the reasonable weight loss progress can vary from 0.5 to 1% body fat every 2 to 4 weeks. The amount of weight loss will depend on things like body weight, age, physical activity, amount of lean body mass, and consistency.
What Should I Drink On A Liquid Diet?
In general, you should be drinking clear liquids that are easily digested like water, gelatin, broth, fruit juices, vegetable juices, and shakes. Drinks should provide enough nutrients, vitamins, and electrolytes while minimizing the calorie intake.
Here are the good sources of liquids:
- Soups and broths
- Fruit and veggie juices
- Teas and coffees
- Protein shakes
In summary, you can lose a lot of weight when you combine a liquid diet with regular food and resistance training.
People who need to do it for longer due to their treatment should discuss with their physician about adding an extra amount of protein to prevent lowering their metabolic rate