A clear liquid diet consists of most liquids you can easily see through like water, broth and plain gelatin. These are liquid at body temperature, easily digested and leave no residue in your intestinal tract. A clear liquid diet should not be continued for more than 3-5 days, as it cannot provide you with adequate calories and nutrients, and should not be tried without physician supervision.The most important aspect of your clear liquid diet, immediately after bariatric surgery, is to keep well hydrated.

Purpose:A clear liquid diet helps maintain adequate hydration, provides important electrolytes like sodium and potassium, and gives some energy when a full diet isn’t possible. 

A clear liquid diet is often prescribed:

To prepare the bowel for a gastrointestinal procedure such as sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, some x-rays, or for surgery.If you have certain digestive problems, such as nausea, abdominal distention, vomiting or diarrhea because clear liquids are easily absorbed by the body and reduce stimulation of the digestive system.To reintroduce foods following a period with no oral intake.

What is considered a Clear Liquid?

You can eat or drink only things you can see through. 

These are acceptable clear liquids:

Plain water

Fruit juices without pulp, such as apple juice, grape juice or cranberry juice

Strained lemonade, limeade or fruit punch

Clear, fat-free broth 

Clear sodas (Ginger Ale, Sprite)

Plain gelatin (Jell-O)

Italian iceKool-AidHoneyPopsicles without bits of fruit or fruit pulpTea or coffee without milk or cream (may add sugar or lemon juice)

Sports drinks

Clear nutritional supplements.

What are the risks of a clear liquid diet? 

The clear liquid diet does not provide all the nutrients you need. You may need to drink a nutrition supplement if you have to follow this diet for more than 3 days. If you do not follow this diet, you may continue to have diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting if you were asked to follow this diet because of these problems.

These are NOT acceptable clear liquids:

MilkTomato juiceFruit juice with pulpFruit nectars.

Dairy products, such as milk, hot cocoa, buttermilk, and cream

What is sample menu for a clear liquid diet?

Breakfast: 1 cup of juice, ¾ cup of clear broth, ½ cup of lemon gelatin, and 1 cup of coffee with sugar.

Morning snack: 1 cup of a clear sports drink

Lunch: ½ cup of juice, ¾ cup of clear broth, ¾ cup of lemon-lime soda, and 1 popsicle (equals about 2 ounces of liquid).

Afternoon snack: 1 popsicle 

Evening meal: ½ cup of juice, ¾ cup of clear broth, ¾ cup of ginger ale, ½ cup of flavored gelatin, and 1 cup of herbal tea with honey or sugar.

Evening snack: 1 cup of flavored gelatin