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How Effective are Liquid Diets?

You may have seen the commercials for a popular liquid diet plan promising easy weight loss with "a shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch, and a sensible dinner."

Other liquid diets tout the health benefits of juicing. Still others were designed to quickly bring morbidly obese patients to a healthy weight.

All of these diets have success stories, but how successful are they in the long run? After all, while there are some frighteningly unhealthy liquid diets out there, others consist of highly nutritional shakes.

Doesn't that make liquid diets an effective weight loss solution? Let's find the answer to that question by taking a closer look at some facts and myths about liquid diets.

Fact: Liquid diets can help you lose weight.

Liquid diets were designed to help you control your calorie intake by drinking carefully measured portions of nutritious liquids. Many overweight and obese individuals have lost weight by following liquid diet plans.

Unfortunately, the results are seldom long-lasting. The minute patients go back to eating regular food, they start to regain the weight. Physicians recommend diet plans that incorporate food and liquids, as these plans don't typically have such a strong rebound effect.

Myth: Liquid diets can detoxify your body.

Some liquid diets claim to cleanse toxins from your body or balance the acidity of your blood. That sounds great, but there is no scientific data to back up those claims of cleansing and detoxing your body.

As it turns out, the body is highly efficient at detoxifying itself. As long as you give it plenty of water and the right nutrition and exercise, it will not require detox assistance.

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Fact: Liquid diets can cause nasty side effects.

Many liquid diets are also very low-calorie. Some require you to drink only certain juices, leaving huge gaps in your nutrition. The side effects of these drastic diets include fatigue, weakness, irritability, and malnutrition - not fun!

To minimize the chance of harmful side effects, choose a diet that allows you to get a reasonable number of calories each day. Make sure the things you drink contain enough protein, vitamins and minerals to meet your needs. Check out the best vitamins for weight control here.

Myth: Liquid diets are cheaper than normal food.

At first, it might seem that liquid diets save you money. After all, you're cutting out a lot of food purchases from your grocery budget.

But some liquid diets come with a hefty price tag. If you're using a commercial plan, you might be paying $3 or more per beverage, and consuming 5 or 6 beverages a day. That can add up quickly.

Now factor in the price of dietary supplements (if needed). If you're doing a juice diet, you will need to purchase a juicer and a huge amount of fresh produce each week. You might find that it's more cost-effective to eat solid foods!

Fact: Most people can't stay satisfied on liquid diets.

Liquid diets are pretty easy at first, when enthusiasm is high. But most liquid diet plans consist of limited flavors. Imagine drinking the same four or five drinks several times a day, for months on end.

Dissatisfaction is a primary reason why people fall off of liquid diets. Our bodies crave variety. If our diets are too repetitive, we grow bored and give up, looking for flavors and textures that satisfy our cravings.

Unfortunately for liquid dieters, returning to a normal way of eating quickly results in weight gain unless they take steps to regulate their calories.

Are liquid diets effective? In some ways, yes. They can help you lose weight. But if you're looking for lasting weight loss, consider sticking to a more conventional way of eating.

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