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A clear liquid diet consists of both clear liquids and clear foods that turn to liquid at room temperature. The clear liquid diet is generally followed only for a period of 3–4 days. It generally is used before a test that requires an empty bowel, before or after bowel or stomach surgery, or with certain intestinal conditions that make digestion of regular food difficult.

Not allowed

Milk, tomato juice, fruit juices, and fruit nectars are not clear liquids. Some people are asked to avoid red foods and liquids and carbonated beverages, as well.


The following are allowed while on this diet:

  • Water
  • Clear sodas, such as ginger ale
  • Fruit juices without pulp
  • Lemonade and limeade
  • Freezer pops without pieces of fruit in it
  • Italian ice
  • Kool-Aid®
  • Broth
  • Gelatin
  • Coffee or tea without cream (you can add sugar and lemon juice)
  • Sports drinks
  • Clear nutrition supplements, such as Ensure Clear™
  • Hard candies

Sample menu

Breakfast: 8 am

8 fl oz apple juice8 fl oz coffee or tea with 2 tsp sugar1 C Jell-O®

Snack: 10 am

One bottle of Ensure Clear

Lunch: 12 pm

8 fl oz chicken broth½ C Italian ice16 fl oz Gatorade®

Snack: 2 pm

One bottle of Ensure Clear

Dinner: 5 pm

8 fl oz beef broth8 fl oz ginger aleTwo twin-pop freezer pops

Snack: 8 pm

One bottle of Ensure Clear


Contains 1295 calories, 2 g fat, 2885 mg sodium, 285 g carbohydrate, 167 g sugar, 34 g protein

C=cup, fl oz=fluid ounce, g=grams, mg=milligrams, tsp=teaspoon


References and recommended readings Clear liquid diet. Available at: Accessed March 11, 2013.

MedlinePlus. Diet—clear liquid. Available at: Accessed March 11, 2013.


Gastroenterology Associates of Beverly Hills
8631 W. 3rd Street, Suite 815E
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone: 310-858-2224
Fax: 310-858-2225

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