Any Liquid Diet should maintain vital body fluids, salts and minerals, and provide energy when normal food intake has been interrupted. A clear liquid diet is easily absorbed by the body, reduces stimulation of the digestive system, and leaves no residue in the intestinal tract. This is why this diet is often prescribed in preparation for surgery, and is generally the first diet given after surgery.

Clear liquids are given when a person has been without food by mouth for a long time. This diet is also used in preparation for medical tests such as sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, or certain x-rays.Physicians may limit certain liquids, depending on the patient’s condition, or the surgery or test being performed. Therefore, individual instructions should be strictly followed.

cranberry juice clear liquid dietA good rule-of-thumb for determining what is a “clear liquid” is anything you can see through. For example, apple juice is a clear liquid, milk is not. If unsure, check with the physician or registered dietitian.

A clear liquid diet consists of water, plain gelatin, broth, and such clear liquids that are easily digested and leave no undigested remains in your intestinal tract. Doctors often prescribe a clear liquid diet if you have certain digestive problems, or before certain medical procedures. Since a clear liquid diet doesn’t provide adequate calories and nutrients, it shouldn’t be continued for more than a few days.

A clear liquid diet may be recommended as a short-term diet for certain digestive problems, such as vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea, before tests, surgeries, or procedures that require no food in your intestines or stomach, such as before colonoscopy, and after certain types of surgery.

A clear liquid diet helps maintain sufficient hydration, provides some essential electrolytes, such as potassium and sodium, and provides energy when a full diet isn’t recommended possible.

The following foods are considered clear liquid diets:

Plain water
Fruit juices without pulp, such as cranberry juice, apple juice, and grape juice
Broth (consommé or bouillon)
Sports drinks, or clear sodas
Plain gelatin
Ice pops without fruit or pulp
Honey
Coffee or Tea without cream

Typical clear liquid diet menus may include.

Breakfast:
One glass water
One glass fruit juice
One bowl gelatin
One cup broth

Snack:
One bowl gelatin
One cup tea or coffee (without cream)

Lunch:
One glass water
One glass fruit juice
One bowl gelatin
One cup broth

Snack:
One ice pop (no fruit pulp)
One cup tea, coffee (no cream) or soft drink

Dinner:
One cup juice or water
One bowl gelatin
One cup broth
One cup tea or coffee

Because a clear liquid diet doesn’t provide sufficient calories and nutrients, it should not be continued for more than a few days. The clear liquid diet should only be used until your body can easily digest other beverages and foods.

Should persistent abdominal cramps or discomfort occur with this diet, notify your physician, nurse, or dietitian at once. It is important that a liquid diet be followed exactly. Remember that its value lies in getting a thoroughly clean digestive tract.

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