A complete liquid diet consists of only liquids. In this type of diet, you can only drink water, tea and broth. You cannot eat solid foods while on this diet.
A complete liquid diet is usually prescribed for patients recovering from surgery or who have difficulty swallowing or chewing solid foods. This diet can also be prescribed to someone who is about to undergo a medical procedure.
The recommended daily caloric intake should be 1350-1500 kcal, with about 45 grams of protein. In most cases, this diet is prescribed by a medical professional. Healthy people can also follow this diet, but it is not mandatory.
A liquid diet is often administered in emergency or intensive care units of hospitals and clinics. A popular liquid-based diet is a juice-purifying diet, which is usually followed to remove toxins from the body. This diet is essentially a low-residue diet ideal for people with intestinal disorders.
Foods to eat on an all-liquid diet
The following liquid foods are allowed on this diet. However, some foods can be avoided when restricted by a healthcare professional.
- fruit or vegetable juice
- clear broths (beef, chicken, vegetables)
- drained vegetable soup
- cream based soups
- cow’s milk (whole, low fat, fat free)
- types of plant-based milk, including soy, almond, or flax milk.
- sour cream
- Cream of wheat
- rice cream
- mayonnaise (egg and without egg)
- peanut butter (creamy), cashew butter (creamy) and almond butter (creamy)
- coffee and tea
- hot chocolate
- flavored and natural fruit drinks
- sports drinks
- ice cream (without fruit)
- honey, sugar and maple syrup
- herbs and spices
- chocolate syrup
Foods like ice cream and sorbet should preferably not contain added sugars for health reasons.
What should be avoided with a complete liquid diet?
Here are some solid foods that cannot be included in this diet.
- whole fruits and vegetables
- nuts and seeds
- hard and soft cheeses
- noodles and rice
- cereals and other cereals
- meats and poultry (processed and unprocessed)
- carbonated drinks, such as sodas. (for health reasons)
All other solid foods are also excluded from a complete liquid diet.
Benefits of a complete liquid diet
This diet can provide several benefits when followed by people suffering from any medical condition. Some of the benefits of a liquid diet are:
- This diet can help a patient before a medical examination, surgery or other similar medical procedures.
- For the elderly and patients, it is an easy-to-follow form of diet. People with chewing and swallowing problems may feel comfortable on this diet.
- This plan is affordable and can be provided to patients at no additional cost.
- This diet is usually provided in intensive care and emergency units of hospitals and clinics.
- All macronutrients, including proteins, fats and carbohydrates, can be provided without problem in this diet. This diet can also provide all the necessary micronutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, soluble fiber and antioxidants from various sources.
- This diet can be followed by vegans and non-vegans.
Sample menu for a complete liquid diet
A typical liquid-based diet is described below. Other elements can also be included according to your preferences:
- 1 cup powdered cereal mixed with whole milk
- 1-2 cups of fruit juice
- 1 scoop of whey protein with milk
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 2 cups drained vegetable soup
- 1/2 cup tomato juice
- 1 cup hot chocolate
- 1 glass of soy protein shake
- 1 cup fruit juice
- 1 glass of yogurt shake
- 1 cup vanilla ice cream
- 2 cups cream chicken soup
- 1 small bowl of oatmeal powder mixed with milk
- 1 glass of lemonade
A clear liquid diet can make a person feel tired and hungry all the time because it doesn’t keep you feeling full for long.
People with certain conditions such as kidney disorders, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and high blood pressure cannot eat certain foods on this diet. A person with any of these conditions should consult a medical professional before beginning a full liquid diet.
It should be kept in mind that this type of diet is only prescribed for certain medical conditions and is not necessary for healthy people.