Home Diet Plans How do liquid diets work, can they help Type 2 diabetes and are they safe for weight loss?

How do liquid diets work, can they help Type 2 diabetes and are they safe for weight loss?

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LIQUID diets are often touted as a simple and effective way to lose weight – but at what cost?

As ITV documentary Fast Fix explores the potential health benefits, we ask how they work and if they're safe. Here's the lowdown…

 Liquid diets are a dramatic but potentially dangerous way to lose weight

Getty – Contributor

Liquid diets are a dramatic but potentially dangerous way to lose weight

How do liquid diets work?

As their name suggests, liquid diets involve you getting most or all of your calories from drinks.

They can vary in what they allow – with some banning milk-based products and others limited to purely fruit and vegetable drinks.

Sometimes liquid diet plans are combined with snacks or a single food-based meal a day.

The theory is that by dramatically cutting the amount of calories you consume, you lose weight quickly.

However, they can cause your metabolism to slow down as your body tries to save energy, meaning they don't always work.

The diets are usually used only for a limited amount of time, due to the lack of nutrients you consume during the day – meaning it can be difficult not to put the weight back on again.

Can they help Type 2 diabetes?

Research by scientists at diabetes.uk have found that a low-calorie diet can have a dramatic effect on diabetes.

Their findings revealed that a GP-accompanied low-calorie, diet-based, weight management programme caused nearly half of those who took part to go into remission.

The test group received a total diet replacement of 825-853 calories-a-day in liquid form, for three to five months.

After the liquid phase, participants were gradually reintroduced to solid foods, with ongoing support on maintaining the lower weight.

Lead researcher Professor Roy Taylor said the diet was "completely safe" – providing participants did it in conjunction with their doctors.

But the practice is still not widely adopted, and anyone thinking of trying the diet should do so only under medical supervision.

Are liquid diets safe for weight loss?

There are a number of risks associated with liquid diet weight loss.

The human body is designed to have more than the meagre 800 calories a day usually prescribed for such a diet.

This means you're probably missing out on some key nutrients – which can lead to side effects including gallstones, heart damage, dizziness and fatigue.

Lack of fibre can also mean you get constipated, while lack of protein could lead to you using protein calories in your diet.

Anyone thinking about a liquid diet for medical or weight loss reasons should consult their doctor before starting.


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