Clear Liquid Diet


The clear liquid diet supplies fluids and energy from foods that need very little digestion. This diet is also used in preparation for surgery. The clear liquids reduce bowel residue and provide fluids to ease thirst. These liquids also provide certain salts and minerals and prevent dehydration. It is usually the first diet used after surgery. Clear liquids are also given after a person has been without food by mouth (NPO) for a long time. Another use is in preparation for certain medical tests such as x-rays, colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy.


A clear liquid diet is not adequate in calories and nutrients. It should not be followed for more than five days unless supplemented by high-protein gelatin or other low-residue supplements.

Milk & Beverages
No red, orange or purple liquids!
(Regular, Diet & Decaffeinated) Tea, Crystal Light, Carbonated beverages, clear soda and
sports drinks
Coffee, Milk, milk drinks
Anything opaque
Meats & meat substitutes None All
Vegetables None All
Fruits and fruit juices Clear fruit juices; apple, clear (white) grape, clear (white) cranberry & lemonade Fruit juices with unstrained fruit or pulp
Grains & starches None All
Soups Clear chicken, beef or vegetable broth and consomme All others
Desserts Flavored gelatin “Jello”
(no red, orange or purple flavors)
(no fruit chunks added)
Lemon popsicles, lemon ices
All others
Fats None All ( no butter or margarine)
Miscellaneous Sugar, honey, syrup, clear hard candy and salt All others