What is a clear liquid diet?

You have been asked to go on a clear liquid diet for a screening or procedure.  But what does it mean?

In general, a clear liquid diet consists of clear liquids or foods that turn to liquids at room temperature. For example: water, broth, clear juices, tea/coffee. The purpose of clear liquid diet is mainly to provide rest to your gastrointestinal tract prior to a test or procedure such as colonoscopy. It will also ensure adequate visibility for the procedure.

The goal of clear liquid diet is to keep you hydrated, provide minerals and vitamins for energy and to keep your stomach and intestines rested. It will not meet your nutritional needs and hence it is always recommended short term only. This diet can also be safely recommended for patients with diabetes. Remember your goal is not to eat or drink sugar free liquid or food.

Foods Recommended on Clear Liquid Diet

Do not consume clear liquids which are red or purple prior to a colonoscopy.

Substances which are ALLOWED:

  • Clear Broth (fat- free)
  • Clear soups
  • Plain Gelatin (Jell-O)
  • Popsicle’s without fruit pulp or pieces of fruit
  • Juices without pulp (Apple and white cranberry)
  • Lemonade without pulp
  • Sport Drinks (Gatorade)
  • Clear sodas (Regular and not diet drinks such as Sprite, Pepsi, Coke & Lemonade)
  • Tea/Coffee (NO MILK/CREAM)
  • Nutritional Drinks (Enlive, Ensure Clear)

 Sample Diet Plan

We’ve included the following sample diet plan.

Breakfast:

  • 1 glass fruit juice
  • 1 cup coffee or tea (without dairy products)
  • 1 cup broth
  • 1 bowl gelatin

Snack:

  • 1 glass fruit juice
  • 1 bowl gelatin

Lunch:

  • 1 glass fruit juice
  • 1 glass water
  • 1 cup broth
  • 1 bowl gelatin

Snack:

  • 1 ice pop (without fruit pulp)
  • 1 cup coffee or tea (without dairy products) or a soft drink

Dinner:

  • 1 cup juice or water
  • 1 cup broth
  • 1 bowl gelatin
  • 1 cup coffee or tea