Clear Liquid Diet

Clear liquids such as broth, plain gelatin and of course water form the basis of this diet, which is often recommended by doctors before some medical procedures, especially for anyone with digestive issues. However, you should only participate in a clear liquid diet for a few days, as it doesn’t provide all the nutrients and calories that your body needs.

Although solid foods can’t be consumed while on this type of diet, you can eat any foods that melt to become wholly or partly liquid at room temperature. And despite its name, the clear liquid diet allows you to consume colored foods and liquids if you are able to see through them.

Purpose of the Clear Liquid Diet

A colonoscopy and certain other procedures stipulate that you have no food in your intestines or stomach, and a clear liquid diet is often prescribed to satisfy that requirement. It can be prescribed post-surgery too, and if you suffer from diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea or other digestive problems, it may be recommended as a short term solution.

meat-broth-with-parsley-in-a-bowl-closeup-horizontal-top-view
Chicken Broth is one of the most substantial meals on this diet

Diet Details

If a normal diet isn’t recommended or isn’t a safe option, the clear liquid diet provides potassium, sodium and other essential electrolytes as well as helping to keep the body adequately hydrated.

If you are prescribed a clear liquid diet, as a general rule the following are permitted:

  • Water, including flavoured or carbonated
  • Pulp free rape, apple or other types of fruit juice
  • Lemonade, fruit punch and similar flavoured drinks
  • Gelatin
  • Cola, root beer and other dark sodas
  • Coffee or tea without cream or milk
  • Sports drinks
  • Consommé, bouillon or similar fat-free broth
  • Strained vegetable or tomato juice
  • Sugar and honey
  • Lemon drops and other types of hard candy
  • Ice pops with no nuts, seeds, fruit or milk

You should not eat any foods not mentioned in the above list, although the list may be modified for certain medical conditions. You may be instructed by your physician to avoid gelatin or liquids with red coloring if you are undergoing a colon exam or other type of test.

Pros Of the Diet

The clear liquid diet doesn’t cost much and is extremely easy to adhere to. And for anyone preparing for a medical test or recovering from a procedure or surgery, it’s ideal.

herbal-tea
Trying different types of herbal tea can be a way to get some variety in the Clear Liquid Diet

Cons

Not surprisingly, the diet doesn’t allow for much variety and can get boring very quickly. And as you aren’t getting all the nutrients and vitamins you need, you can feel hungry and tired quickly.

There are also some risks associated with this diet.

The diet should only be followed if instructed to do so by your doctor, and it shouldn’t be practised for more than a few days, as your body isn’t getting all the nutrients and calories it needs.

The specific diet instructions should always be followed accurately and exactly as indicated; you may need to reschedule any planned medical procedure if you don’t follow the diet exactly.

If you are a diabetic, managing your blood sugar levels will be one of your concerns if you are prescribed the clear liquid diet. Always transition to solid foods as soon as you can, and make sure you are routinely checking your blood sugar levels. Ideally, you should be getting about 200 grams of carbohydrates daily if you follow the clear liquid diet, and that should be spread through the day.

As a side note, if you have gestational diabetes, you may be interested in this recipe which is helpful in keeping your blood sugar levels at a healthy rate during pregnancy.

Clear Liquid Diet Meal Plan

Below is a sample menu, although your doctor’s specific instructions and your appetite will also affect what you eat and drink:

For Breakfast

  • Apple juice (one cup)
  • Coffee (one cup)
  • Cup of flavored gelatin

Snack

  • Apple juice (one cup)
  • Popsicle
  • Water (one glass)

Lunch

  • Tea (one cup)
  • Beef broth (one cup)
  • Water (one glass)
  • Cup of flavored gelatin

Snack

  • Popsicle
  • Hard candy (one piece)
  • Water (one glass)

Dinner

  • Chicken broth (one cup)
  • Water (one glass)
  • Tea (one cup)
  • Cup of flavored gelatin

Evening snack

  • Grape juice (one cup)
  • Hard candy (one piece)

Conclusion

Similar to the Bone Broth Diet, The Clear Liquid diet is a way of giving your digestive system a rest before or after medical procedures. It is best to only follow before seeing a doctor or medical professional. This is mainly due to the fact that the diet may leave you deficient in certain nutrients that your body needs.
If you are particular about your diet, you might also want to check out Dr. Nowzaradan Diet, which aims to help one lose weight by reducing calorie intake.

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About the Author

Hi I'm James. I love to research recipes and experiment changing them up to create something unique and delicious. Bonus points if it's healthy and I can actually get my four kids to eat it. Game on.

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