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What Types of Food Are Considered a Clear Liquid Diet?

author image Laura Candelaria
Laura Candelaria is a family nurse practitioner and assistant professor of nursing and nutritional science. Her experience includes neonatal and pediatric intensive-care, women's oncology, gynecology, obstetrics, lactation, nutrition and infertility. She has been published in "Nursing Spectrum," "Newsday" and on various websites.
What Types of Food Are Considered a Clear Liquid Diet?
Your doctor may recommend a clear liquid diet before or following surgery. Photo Credit: Lesyy/iStock/Getty Images

A clear liquid diet includes foods that are liquid at room temperature. These foods are easily digested, leaving no undigested residue in your intestinal tract. You doctor might prescribe a clear liquid diet prior to medical tests or surgery. He might also recommend it as a short-term diet if you have certain digestive problems such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. A clear liquid diet is not adequate for the long term, as it does not provide the body with all the essential nutrients.

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Cranberry juice.
Cranberry juice. Photo Credit: HandmadePictures/iStock/Getty Images

You can only drink certain beverages when on a clear liquid diet. Examples include clear juices, such as cranberry, apple, or grape, and mild tea or coffee without sugar or milk. Clear sports drinks or soft drinks, such as ginger-ale and sparkling water, are also allowed.


Clear soup.
Clear soup. Photo Credit: zhekos/iStock/Getty Images

Clear soups, such as broth, bouillon, or consommé are allowed on a clear liquid diet. Soups cannot include vegetables or additional ingredients, which might increase the residue in the gastrointestinal tract.


Red gelatin.
Red gelatin. Photo Credit: Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images

You can have certain dessert foods on a clear liquid diet. Gelatin, ice pops and hard candies are allowed. You should avoid ice pops or gelatin that contain fruit or any added ingredients.


Add honey to liquids.
Add honey to liquids. Photo Credit: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Sugar, honey, jelly, syrup, herbs, mild seasonings and salt are allowed on a clear liquid diet. You might add them to broths or teas.

Foods to Avoid

Avoid beer and alcohol.
Avoid beer and alcohol. Photo Credit: MichaŠRóżewski/iStock/Getty Images

You should avoid any broths or liquids that aren't clear, such as colas or root beer, as well as alcoholic beverages, dairy products and fruit or vegetable nectars or purees.

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