A colonoscopy is a medical procedure used to screen the colon for abnormalities or cancer. For an accurate assessment, your colon must be as clear as possible. In addition to taking a prescribed laxative on the night before the procedure, your doctor may ask you to consume a clear liquid diet, which is one that includes only foods that are liquid at room temperature, for one to three days before the colonoscopy. JELL-O and other brands of gelatin products are allowed on a clear liquid diet, with some restrictions.
Always check with your physician about preferred pre-colonoscopy foods, but in general, only certain colors of JELL-O are allowed the day before your exam. Yellow, green and orange varieties are usually acceptable. However, purple, red and blue varieties are not.
Purple, blue or red JELL-O flavors may be mistaken for blood during the colonoscopy, skewing the results. Eating the wrong foods prior to the exam may render the results inconclusive, meaning you may have to repeat the procedure. JELL-O can help make the liquid diet less monotonous, as it offers a textural alternative to juice and broth.
In addition to JELL-O, you can eat orange or yellow ice pops, without pulp. Clear liquids such as chicken broth, lemon-lime soda and ginger ale, weak tea and plain water are also permitted. Clear, hard candies and liquid gelatin are other options.
Your doctor may instruct you not to eat after midnight the night before the exam. This restriction includes clear liquids and JELL-O. You may experience weight loss as a result of the water lost during the colon-emptying process. This weight will likely return when you resume a normal eating pattern.