The promise of quick weight loss is very tempting. You may have a big event coming up, or you may simply be tired of carrying around extra pounds and you are willing to do almost anything to drop the weight fast. A liquid diet sounds especially appealing to dieters who are in a hurry to lose that excess baggage. One popular liquid diet is the Optifast program. Before beginning this or any type of restrictive diet, you should be aware of some possible dangers.
Regaining the Weight
For many dieters, their biggest fear is regaining the weight they worked so hard to lose. While some people are able to keep the weight off after a liquid diet, many people want to make up for all the food they deprived themselves of while dieting and they go on an eating binge with unhealthy food. Another reason dieters may regain the weight after a liquid diet, such as Optifast, is that their metabolism can slow down from crash dieting, making it harder to lose weight and easier to gain weight.
Lack of Energy
A low-calorie liquid diet, such as Optifast, often provides dieters with less than 800 calories a day, and while the diet includes added vitamins and minerals, this is still a very low number of calories to survive on each day. Users of Optifast may find that they are exhausted even while trying to carry out their regular daily routine. It is very difficult for a liquid diet to provide users with enough carbohydrates, fiber and nutrients to be able to sustain themselves during the diet. Low energy levels are a very common side effect of an extreme liquid diet.
While people often equate malnutrition with uncommon situations where the body is not receiving any nutrients at all, malnutrition can also occur on a liquid diet with meal replacement snacks, such as Optifast, if the diet is sustained for too long. There are simply not enough of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients in liquid meal replacement drinks to substitute for real food. Eventually, the body recognizes that there is a shortage and the body begins to function at a lower, less efficient level. Damage can occur to the body's organs if the liquid diet is sustained for too long.
Losing Weight Too Fast
While most dieters do not think that losing weight quickly is a negative side effect, it is much safer to lose weight at a pace of 1 to 3 lbs. a week. Liquid and meal replacement diets can make you lose weight at a much faster rate and some of this can be water weight, instead of fat loss. Studies have shown that when you lose weight at a slower pace, it is much more likely to stay off for the long-term.
Low calorie and liquid diets, such as Optifast, are extreme and can be a shock to the body. Very low calorie diets should only be undertaken with the supervision of a doctor. Your doctor will ensure that you are healthy enough to be on this type of diet and will monitor your health throughout the entire program.