It is very difficult to get enough nutrients on a full liquid diet, especially long term. Liquid diets are typically low in vitamin A, iron, vitamin B-12, and thiamine.
People who must eat a full liquid diet for extended periods may need to take supplements to prevent nutritional deficits.
It is possible to get enough protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients on a full liquid diet. However, doing so requires some planning and basic dietary knowledge.
People on this diet who are recovering from surgery may not have the energy or motivation to seek out healthful foods. One of the biggest risks is that a person may rely on easy but less nutritious foods, such as melted ice cream or high sodium broths.
While a full liquid diet may satisfy a person’s cravings better than a clear liquid diet, following a full liquid diet can still be difficult and frustrating.
In addition to malnutrition from long-term use, some other risks include:
- chronic hunger
- mood swings due to hunger
- lack of pleasure in eating
- difficulty eating out or participating in other social activities that center around food
Although doctors may recommend a full liquid diet for a variety of conditions, some research suggests that this diet may be more restrictive than necessary.
A 2012 analysis concluded that a soft diet was also safe for people recovering from mild acute pancreatitis.
A person whose doctor recommends a full liquid diet should ask them questions such as:
- What can I do to stay healthy on this diet?
- How long will I need to be on this diet?
- What are the risks of this diet?
- Why do you recommend this diet?
- Is there an alternative to this diet?
- What specific foods should I avoid?
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