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What Foods Are Included in a Clear Liquid Diet

written by: Tania Cowling • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 7/1/2010

Do you know what foods are included in a clear liquid diet? Read on for more detailed information in the event your doctor puts you on this protocol.

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    What is a Clear Liquid Diet?

    Juice 100 4401 If you were ordered to consume only liquids, would you know what foods are included in a clear liquid diet? Though it doesn’t sound appetizing, a person can easily survive on this diet for a short period of time with no ill effects. These diets are used after surgeries, during certain digestive disorders and to prepare for tests and procedures, like a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. Certain type of x-rays and imaging tests may also require that food is absent from the stomach and intestines as well.

    A clear liquid diet is often suggested when a person is suffering from a form of gastritis or gastroenteritis. Severe vomiting and diarrhea leads to a loss of fluids in the body and causes dehydration; this is where the clear liquids can help to replace fluids, but is easy on the stomach.

    A clear liquid diet consists of liquids that are easily digested and leave no residue in the digestive tract. They are called clear because you can see through the food or liquid. They are easily absorbed and will rest the intestines. Clear liquids will keep you hydrated and provide necessary electrolytes, like sodium and potassium when a full diet cannot be consumed.

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    Foods to Include

    Below are examples of clear liquid diet foods in categories:


    • Juices without pulp, such as apple, cranberry, grape, and fruit punch. Lemonade can be used if it is strained.
    • Water from the tap, bottled, and sparkling water
    • Coffee and tea without cream
    • Clear sodas, such as Sprite, 7-up, and Ginger ale
    • Powdered drink mixes with water
    • Sports drinks, like Gatorade
    • Lactose free, low-residue supplemental drinks (if allowed by physician)


    • Broths, such as chicken, beef, or vegetable
    • Bouillon
    • Consommé (fat-free)


    • Gelatin desserts
    • Popsicles
    • Fruit ices (without pulp)
    • Honey
    • Clear hard candies

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    Sample Daily Diet

    Here are a couple examples of putting these clear liquids into a daily diet:


    • A glass of fruit juice
    • A cup of broth
    • A bowl of gelatin
    • Coffee, tea or water (no milk or cream, however, sugar or honey is allowed)


    • A glass of fruit juice
    • A cup of broth
    • A bowl of gelatin
    • Popsicles or fruit ice


    • A glass or juice or water
    • A cup or bowl of broth
    • A bowl of gelatin
    • Coffee or tea

    Snack on sports drinks, Popsicles, fruit ices and clear soda between meals.

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    Clear liquids are required when prepping for a colonoscopy, however, for this test patients are told to avoid any foods or liquids that are red in color. The dye in reds and dark colors will stain the intestines and make it harder for the physician to view for abnormalities with the colonoscope.

    Now that you know what foods are included in a clear liquid diet, follow it as long as your doctor has ordered. Do not use this as a diet for losing weight, as this protocol does not provide enough calories to sustain proper nutrition and energy for longer periods of time.

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    "Clear Liquid Diet" Mayo Clinic

    "Instructions for a Clear Liquid Diet"

    "A Clear Liquid Diet is Not for Weight Loss" by Tess Thompsom

    Photo credit: cohdra