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Clear Liquid Diet


According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, a clear liquid diet consists exclusively of products that are liquid and transparent at room temperature. The fluids do not need to be entirely clear, but you should be able to see through them.

Following are examples of permissible liquids:

  • Water
  • Soups such as:
    • Clear broth (beef or chicken) - preferably fat free
    • Fat-free consommé
    • Strained vegetable broth
    • Bouillon
  • Juices without pulp  (apple, prune, grape, cranberry, and cider) - preferably diluted to 50/50 juice and water
  • Noncarbonated, powder-based beverages (such as Tang, fruit punch, lemonade, and Kool-Aid)
  • Sodas such as Sprite, 7-Up, ginger ale, and seltzer
  • Coffee or tea (without milk or cream)
  • Clear gelatin (without fruit pieces)
  • Popsicles (without fruit pieces or cream)
  • Fruit ices
  • Clear, hard candies
  • Salt, pepper, and sugar
  • Fruit flavored drinks
  • Sports drinks such as Gatorade

Although they are liquid, the following are not translucent enough to be permitted on a clear liquid diet:

  • Milk
  • Cream
  • Milkshakes
  • Tomato juice
  • Orange juice
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Cream soups
  • Any soup other than broth

Be sure to check with your doctor before starting a clear liquid diet, as he or she may have further restrictions based on your particular circumstances. For example, while cranberry juice is generally approved on a clear liquid diet, you may be advised to avoid it if you are having a colonoscopy since it can be mistaken for blood. In fact, you may need to avoid anything with red or purple coloring -- gelatin, popsicles, and hard candies.

Surprisingly, a clear liquid diet can provide a substantial amount of calories. For example, the following diet provides about 1,000 calories a day:

Breakfast -- 8 oz of apple juice, 1 cup of gelatin (without fruit), 1 cup of coffee with sugar but no milk or cream

Lunch --1 cup of chicken consommé, 8 oz of ginger ale, 1 cup of fruit ice, hot tea with sugar and lemon (no pulp)

Snack -- 1 or 2 clear hard candies

Dinner -- 1 cup of beef broth, 8 oz of lemonade, 1 cup of gelatin (without fruit), hot tea with sugar and lemon (no pulp)

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