What is a Clear Liquid Diet? How to follow it?

A mechanically altered diet that only consists of liquids such as broth, liquids, and soups without any additional chunks of food, pulp, or residue. It is generally prescribed by the physicians to perform certain tests, surgeries, or procedures for a shorter period. It is also suggested to put your gastrointestinal system at rest.

What is a clear liquid diet

So if you are conscious to know what is a clear liquid diet, then you must read the article fully.

Purpose and Benefits of a Clear Liquid Diet

A clear liquid diet is recommended when people suffer from digestive problems such as vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea. It helps to maintain hydration in your body and aims to provide important electrolytes like potassium and sodium. Additionally, it provides you with the energy that you are unable to get from solid foods.

Benefits of a Clear Liquid Diet

A clear diet can easily be digested without putting strain on your digestive tract and reducing abdominal strains. However, it is low in nutrients and calories but still provides you glucose that keeps you going throughout the day.

Need for a Clear Liquid Diet?

A temporary clear liquid diet is used in numerous medical settings. But when you need to follow a clean diet, you must consider these scenarios.

Important Considerations are:

  • In cases where you feel abdominal cramps, discomfort, or pain, consult your nurse or doctor as early as you can.
  • The amount of liquids that you are taking in a liquid diet is essential. If your dietitian has set limits for your liquid diet, you should stick to it carefully.
  • The clear liquid diets do not give you adequate protein, energy, minerals, and nutrients to consume daily. Though, as the diet is temporary, it should not exceed 5 days. If your diet elongated from 5 days, that means before the surgery you need to clear your abdominal issues – but to regain the energy, your dietitian will prescribe you some supplements.

How to Choose the Clear Liquid Diet?

Liquids are considered clear liquids if they can be seen through at room temperatures about 22 – 25 degrees Celsius. These liquids include hard candy, clear juices, broth, gelatin, and ice. The following table will help you make your food choices for the clear liquid diet.

Clear Liquid Diet Options:

Foods Allowed to eat Not allowed to eat
Juices / Fruits Fruit juices that do not contain pulp like apple juice, cranberry juice, grape juice. Canned, nectars, frozen, or fresh fruits.
Beverages Kool-Aid, water, soda, tea, coffee, tea, lacrosse-free supplements (recommended by a doctor) All others
Soups Fat-free consommé, bouillon, broth Noodles, fruits with veggies, meat, rice, cream soups, sops that contain other chunks of foods.
Desserts and Sweets Plain gelatin, fruit ices (without chunks), clear hard candy, clear juice popsicles. All others
Vegetables, dairy products, and Milk None All
Grain Products, Bread, and Cereals None All
Meat, Meat Substitute (tofu, nuts, etc.), Fish, Chicken None All
Margarine, Oils, Butter None All

A dietitian may suggest the food and the list depending on the type of surgery and an individual’s health. For certain abdominal tests like colon exams, your dietitian may restrict you to take red-colored food, meat, or liquids with gelatin. Usually, a clear liquid diet may look like this:

Sample Menu for a Clear Liquid Diet


Breakfast - Clear Liquid Diet

  • Pulp-free fruit juice – 1 glass
  • Gelatin – 1 bowl
  • Coffee/ tea (without adding any dairy product) – 1 cup
  • Sugar/honey if needed


Snack - Clear Liquid Diet

  • Pulp-free fruit juice – 1 glass
  • Gelatin – 1 glass


Lunch - Clear Liquid Diet

  • Pulp-free fruit juice – 1 glass
  • Water – 1 glass
  • Broth – 1 cup
  • Gelatin – 1 bowl


Coffee - Clear Liquid Diet

  • Pulp-free ice pop – 1 glass
  • Tea/coffee (without dairy product) – 1 cup
  • Sugar/ honey if needed


Dinner - Clear Liquid Diet

  • Pulp-free fruit juice – 1 glass
  • Water – 1 glass
  • Broth – 1 cup
  • Gelatin – 1 bowl
  • Tea/coffee (without dairy product) – 1 cup
  • Sugar/ honey if needed


Even though the clear liquid diet doesn’t seem to be exciting, it delivers the purpose for what was suggested. A clear liquid diet keeps your intestinal tract clear and restricts strain to the digestive system while managing the hydration level of your body.


If your doctor has prescribed you a clear diet before a medical test, then you should strictly follow every guideline given by your doctor. Otherwise, you risk an inaccurate examination, and then your doctor has to reschedule the medical test for another suitable time.

If you are diabetic, then speak to your dietitian, doctor, or diabetes educator. Your clear diet schedule must have liquids that provide you almost 200 grams of carbs in a day that will help you in controlling your blood sugar levels. Blood sugar must be monitored regularly throughout the day. In diabetic conditions, you should bring yourself to a normal diet as early as possible.

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