Friday, September 7, 2012

Can You Live on a Liquid Diet?

My question is, can someone live their whole life on a liquid diet?
Amanda K.

Yes, Amanda, it is quite possible and many people require liquid diets for periods of time that may span the rest of their life.
I have provided prescribed liquid diets to patients with a broken jaw, for example, who are not going to be able to chew for several weeks. But the diet must include a variety of foods to meet nutritional needs, paying close attention to calorie needs. Merely drinking beverages instead of eating food may result in a diet that is not balanced; for instance, if you drink mostly soda (which has no nutritional value). Even if you drink milk and juice--healthy beverages-- the diet must still be carefully planned to include a balance of essential nutrients.

Many people live on liquid diets because of certain conditions. Examples include diseases that prevent safe swallowing, such as throat cancer or some strokes; a complication of diabetes called gastroparesis which prevents the stomach from emptying normally; people who are respirator dependent in some cases; and those who are in a coma. Formulas like Ensure and Boost (which can be found at your local grocery or drug store) are provided in amounts to meet 100% of the daily requirements for the nutrients we know are essential; even fiber is provided in some formulas. And many formulas are adapted for other conditions the person may have, such as diabetes, kidney failure, or high protein needs.

The bottom line is, a nutritious and well-balanced diet can be provided in liquid form and someone can live with that for many years. Just drinking whatever you feel like, however, can easily lead to lack of essential 

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