Shereen Lehman, MS, is a health care journalist and fact checker. She has actually co-authored two books for the popular Dummies series (as Shereen Jegtvig)." data-inline-tooltip="true">Shereen Lehman, MS

Verywell / Maritsa Patrinos


A clear liquid diet is easy to digest, reduces strain on her digestive tract, and doesn't contribute any residue to her colon. Return it's really low in calories and also most nutrients, it have the right to still administer some glucose and electrolytes, so that will save you hydrated and provide a little amount that nutrition for the time you're forced to monitor it.

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This form of diet might be recommended because that a number of reasons, most notably as part of your bowel prep because that a colonoscopy or in ready for surgery or a procedure favor an endoscopy.

A clear liquid diet is also used in ~ two hours prior to and immediately adhering to bariatric surgery, per referrals from the amplified Recovery After surgery (ERAS) culture (start a clear fluid diet within a few hours after ~ surgery and work v a dietitian to advancement the diet as you're ready).

It's also used to provide the stomach and also intestines the chance to rest and also heal from condition or health problem that affects her gastrointestinal tract. If you have a stomach bug, following a clear liquid diet can assist prevent dehydration and minimize any vomiting or diarrhea.

In the instance of diverticulitis, a small percentage of people have had actually serious complications from eating solid foods. Therefore, recommendations published in the Annals of internal Medicine state that you should stick to a clear liquid diet for several days together symptoms improve prior to advancing to a low-fiber diet.

If you have actually an inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn"s disease or ulcerative colitis, friend may advantage from a clear liquid diet because that a quick time if you have actually a severe flare-up with major diarrhea.

However, guidelines published in Clinical Nutrition recommend using a much more complete fluid nutrition complement or a low-residue (low-fiber) diet whenever possible because that the high risk of malnutrition connected with inflammatory bowel disease.

exactly how It functions

A clear liquid diet consists of any type of fluids that are see-through and cost-free from any type of solids or pulp. In addition, foods items that melt into clear liquids in ~ room temperature, prefer ice mister or gelatin, are likewise allowed.

Liquids that are opaque room not permitted because this require much more work to digest, and they'll leave a residue in your large intestine.

There is usually no limit on the variety of clear liquids you have the right to consume in a day uneven there is a concern around your stomach emptying correctly or gradually for a procedure. At a minimum, girlfriend should shot to drink eight ounces every hour or two to stay hydrated.

What to Eat

Compliant Foods

Fruit juices (e.g., apple, grape, cranberry)

Clear beverages (e.g., lemon-lime soda, ginger ale, seltzer water, lemonade)

Sports drinks

Plain teas or black coffee

Gelatin (plain, without fruit or whipped cream)

Ice mister or fruit-flavored ice cream (without solid fruit)

Clear broth or bouillon

Clear nutrition additionally (e.g., rise Breeze, Pedialyte, certain Clear)

Clear candies (e.g., lollipops, gummies)

The clear fluid diet is very restricted in that food choices. Try to have actually three or four selections from the Compliant foods items list for each meal.

Juices, soft drinks, sporting activities drinks, gelatin, and also ice pops: In some instances, such as for colonoscopy prep, you might be recommend to avoid any kind of red, purple, or blue foodstuffs or beverages. That method that white cranberry or white grape juice is OK, however red cranberry or violet grape juice is not.

Some spices of gelatin, ice pops, and many nutrition supplements likewise have red, purple, or blue dye, which can be mistaken for blood ~ above a colonoscopy, so prevent those or choose flavors that aren't red, purple, or blue.

Coffee and also tea: you can add sugar, honey, or lemon, yet no milk, cream, or nondairy creamer.

Nutrition supplements: clear supplements deserve to be beneficial if you'll must follow the clear liquid diet for an ext than a work or two since they provide additional calories, part protein, and also some vitamins and also minerals. Milk or soy-based additionally provide much more nutrition, but they need to be avoided.

Broth or bouillon: If you're on a sodium-restricted diet, questioning if you should select reduced-sodium or unsalted broth or bouillon. Also, be mindful that some brands that chicken stock, beef stock, or bone broth have little amounts the solids and/or fat, so avoid these and stick come bouillon cubes or strained, clean broth.

Recommended timing

You should try to eat or drink on somewhat of a regular schedule to remain hydrated and as full as possible. Clean liquids space digested an extremely quickly, for this reason they aren't as satisfying as a full meal. Aim to eat or drink about six times every day.

If you're reserved for a procedure or surgery, make sure you monitor your medical provider's instructions around when to avoid the clear fluid diet. It's usually recommended the you have nothing by mouth because that at least four hours before your procedure to alleviate the threat of aspiration.

Considerations for basic Nutrition

The clear liquid diet does no adhere come the 2020–2025 USDA diet Guidelines indigenous the department of Health and also Human Services and the U.S. Department of farming (USDA); it will certainly not fulfill your nutritional needs. Friend should advance your diet to complete liquids, a puréed or soft diet, or a constant diet as shortly as you're cleared to perform so.

If you need to follow the diet for much more than a couple of days, your healthcare provider might recommend adding additional additional or high-protein gelatin to an increase your caloric and also nutrient intake.

Side impacts

Although the clear liquid diet can take the stress, overload off her GI tract, it may leave you feeling a bit weak and also dizzy if you shot to do too much. Take it it slow while you're on the diet and avoid any type of extreme activity. Friend should be able to resume your common routine once you're earlier to eating regular meals.

Dietary constraints

Although it's short in calories, a clear liquid diet have the right to be high in carbs if you count on sodas, juices, and other sugar-sweetened foods and beverages. The can also be high in salt if you're eat broth multiple times every day. These may be involves if you're on a low-sugar or low-salt diet, for this reason you might need to choose modified products.

If you have diabetes, it's crucial to check with your clinician to see if you should use sugar-free clear liquids. If you take insulin or glucose-lowering medications, you might need to have your dose readjusted on this diet. It's likewise a great idea to inspect your blood sugar much more frequently come avoid any type of risk that hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.

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Clear liquid Diet vs. Full Liquid Diet

If you should remain ~ above a liquid diet because that a longer duration, however a clear liquid diet is no much longer necessary, your medical care provider may breakthrough you come a full liquid diet. Complete liquids are those that you can"t see through, prefer milk, nectars, cream soups, and also melted ice cream and also sherbet.