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10 Things You Can Have on a Clear Liquid Diet

10 Things You Can Have on a Clear Liquid Diet

When you’re prescribed a clear liquid diet, you might immediately think,“What can I eat?” While the diet is restrictive and not nutritionally complete, it can consist of more than just water.

Here are 10 options we recommend to our patients at Digestive Disorders Associates.

Why would I need a clear liquid diet?

Our team at Digestive Disorders Associates may prescribe a clear liquid diet if you’re preparing for certain medical tests, like a colonoscopy. The diet can also help your gut heal from a severe bout of diverticulitis or another intestinal upset. 

Clear liquids are easily absorbed and don’t leave residue in your digestive tract that can interfere with imaging. 

Because the diet can’t provide you with all the nutrients your body needs to thrive, it’s only prescribed for a few days and for very specific reasons. 

A clear liquid diet is not for weight loss. It usually contains a whole lot of sugar and has very little in the way of nutrients. The goal of the diet is to keep you hydrated, relax your digestive tract, and give you some minerals and electrolytes. 

What does “clear” mean in the context of a liquid diet?

Clear doesn’t mean absolutely without color. You can have more variety than plain water. You focus on consuming liquids you can see through, but that might have some coloration – like flavored jello or sports drinks. 

Solid foods are obviously off limits and so are liquids that you can’t see through, like milk or orange juice. 

So…what can I eat?

Variety is the spice of life, but not on a clear liquid diet

Here are 10 items we recommend:

  1. Hot or iced coffee with sugar or honey — but no creamer, milk, or dairy alternatives
  2. Hot or iced tea — as long as there is no milk or creamer added
  3. Clear chicken, vegetable, or beef broth, but no vegetables or noodles — even if they’re soft
  4. Soda, as long as it’s clear (think lemon-lime or ginger ale)
  5. Sports drinks like Gatorade® or PowerAde®
  6. Popsicles without any pulp or fruit bits
  7. Flavored gelatin
  8. Fruit juice without pulp, like white grape juice or apple juice
  9. Fruit-flavored beverages, like fruit punch or lemonade
  10. All forms of water, including flavored and carbonated

In some cases, we may ask you to avoid certain colored liquids too – like red gelatin or purple popsicles. 

What’s the difference between a clear liquid diet and a liquid diet?

A liquid diet excludes solid foods, but opaque liquids are OK. You can have milkshakes, smoothies, and pureed soups on a liquid diet. You cannot have these items on a clear liquid diet though. You might need a liquid diet if you have trouble with your teeth or oral surgery. 

We sometimes prescribe a liquid diet after surgery or to heal certain digestive ailments, but we will make clear what type of diet you should follow for your particular circumstances.

Here at Digestive Disorders Associates, we provide screenings, tests, and healing that may require a clear liquid diet. Our goal is to help you have the best digestive health possible, so know that there are important medical reasons you should stay true to this short-term, highly restrictive plan. 

If you have any questions, call one of our offices in Gambrills, Chester, or Annapolis, Maryland. 

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