Liquid diet: Is this a safe way to lose weight?

Liquid diet may be a quick way to lose weight, but it is hardly sustainable and could be unnecessarily risky for some people.

Liquid diet: Is this a safe way to lose weight?
© Getty/ Peter Dazeley
Liquid diet: Is this a safe way to lose weight?

Famous Australian cricketer, Shane Warne, who passed away recently, had been on a 14-day liquid diet to lose weight. Reports say he died of natural causes, and there’s no evidence to suggest his death was linked to this diet. Read on to learn more about this method of losing weight, the risks and safety concerns.

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What is the liquid diet?

Remember Beyoncé’s famous maple syrup, cayenne pepper, lemon juice and water cleanse? That is an example of a liquid diet.

There are several types of liquid diet that replace some or all solid foods with beverages, often fruit and vegetable juices that promise to detox and cleanse the body. This duet also includes low calorie-shakes and soups.

No matter the type, the common goal is quick weight loss. This diet can be recommended before and after certain surgeries, such as bariatric operation or a gall bladder removal surgery.

Beyonce went on a Master Cleanse diet and lost 20 pounds in 2006 for her role in Dreamgirls.  Getty/ Robert Gauthier

The NHS has an 800-calorie liquid diet targeted at obese or morbidly obese people with Type 2 diabetes. This type has been tried and tested is highly supervised medically with patients having lost of support. Aisling Pigott, of the British Dietetic Association, says:

Juice diets appeal to people because they want a quick fix - but dieting is really hard. There is a role for them - but it's not one size fits all. It's concerning when they are marketed at people who are a healthy weight.

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Safety concerns

As with every fad diet, the major concern experts have about the liquid diet is its sustainability. Dr Simon Steenson, of the British Nutrition Foundation, says:

Extreme diets are not a sustainable solution for losing weight in the long term, as much of the weight that is lost is likely to be water or lean muscle. These types of crash diets may also lead to some health risks as well, such as a higher risk of developing gall stones.

Fruit and vegetable juice give the body tons of minerals and vitamins - but very little protein or fat. When juicing, even fibre from fruits are excluded from the diet. This quickly drains the body of energy it had preserved, leaving dieters exhausted within days.

Constipation is one side effect of a liquid diet, which may be due to the low fibre content of most liquids.

The absence of calories can cause mouth odour.  Getty/ SIphotography

Because nutrients such as iron get used up quickly and are not replaced, women could become anaemic. Muscle mass is also depleted, and the guts and liver are forced to work harder to keep the body going. Other side effects include headaches, dizziness and extreme tiredness, according to the BBC Health.

Also, the high acidity levels in natural fruits can wear away the enamel, while the absence of calories can cause mouth odour.

Liquid diet for weight loss has been proven to work in the short term, but the weight lost is easily regained when one goes back to normal diet. As with other any dietary change, it is important to speak to a doctor or a professional first.

How To Lose Weight Without Going On A Major Diet How To Lose Weight Without Going On A Major Diet