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Clear Liquid Diet | Liquid Diet

A clear liquid diet is used in certain medical situations, and should be followed when recommended by a physician. The diet helps to keep you hydrated (body fluids, salts and minerals) and helps to get the body used to food after long periods of time without food. The clear liquid diet is easy to digest and does not leave much residue in the stomach and intestines.

  • Preparation for surgery and medical tests such as colonoscopy, and other x-rays or tests that require little food in the stomach and intestines.
  • When someone has been unable to eat any food for several days or after surgery. 

For more information about clear liquid diets, call (816) 836-2200.


Important Considerations of a Clear Liquid Diet:

The clear liquid diet is a temporary diet that is used in several different settings:

  • If you experience abdominal discomfort such as cramps or pain, contact your doctor or nurse as soon as possible.
  • The clear liquid diet does not provide enough energy, protein and many other nutrients for daily use. This diet is temporary and should not be used for more than 5 days. If you are on this diet for more than 5 days, your doctor and/or dietitian will tell you which supplement to use.
  • The amount of liquid that you drink or eat on this diet may be important. If your doctor sets a limit about the amount, follow those directions carefully.
  • Liquids that you can see through at room temperature (about 78-72 degrees Fahrenheit) are considered clear liquids. This includes clear juices, broths, hard candy, ices and gelatin. The table below will help you with your choices.


Clear Liquid Diet - Foods/Drinks Allowed

  Choose these foods / beverages Do not eat these foods / beverages
Fruits/juices Clear fruit juices without pulp such as apple juice, grape juice, cranberry juice Nectars, canned, fresh or frozen fruits
Soups Broth, bouillon, fat free consommé
All others
Beverages Coffee, tea (hot or cold), Kool-Aid, soda, water, lactose-free supplements if recommended by your doctor
All others
Sweets and deserts Fruit ices (without chunks of fruit), plain gelatin, clear hard candy, popsicle made from clear juices All others
None All
Milk and dairy products None All
Bread, cereals and grain products None All
Meat, chicken, fish, and meat substitutes (nuts, tofu, etc.) None All
Oils, butter, margarine None All


Sample Menu: Clear Liquids Diet*

Breakfast    Hot tea with lemon juice and 1 tsp sugar (no pulp); Apple juice (8 oz); Gelatin (1 cup)

Lunch    Hot tea with lemon (no pulp) and sugar; Grape juice (8 oz); Fruit Ice (1 cup); Consommé (8 oz.)

Snack    Fruit juice (apple, cranberry or grape, 8 oz); Gelatin (1 cup)

Dinner    Hot tea with lemon (no pulp) and sugar; Apple juice (8 oz); Consommé (8 oz); Fruit Ice (1 cup)

*This diet contains approximately 1000 calories, 1 gram fat and 14 grams of protein.

Credits for this dietary information go to Maureen Murtaugh, PhD.

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