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What is a Clear Liquid Diet?
Tuesday, August 22, 2017

If you are preparing for a colonoscopy, you may be wondering why you need the clear diet and what exactly that means.

Because a lower GI examination – or colonoscopy – requires looking at the inside of the bowel, a clean bowel is needed for an accurate examination.  This requires patients to take specific steps at home in order to clean their bowels, known as bowel prep or prep solution.  Even the smallest amount of waste left in the colon can hide important details, which may make a repeat exam necessary. 

Bowel preps may cause patients to become somewhat dehydrated. As such, it’s important to drink a large amount of liquid to help prevent dehydration.  This will also soften the stool and provide lubrication to aid in emptying the bowel of stool. 

The following foods are permitted on a Clear Liquid Diet:

·        Foods:

o   Hard candies,

o   Fat free bouillon or fat free broth

o   Jell-o (except red, purple, or blue colors)

o   Popsicles or Italian Ice (no ice cream, sherbets, or fruit bars)

·        Beverages:

o   Water

o   Gatorade (except red, purple, or blue colors)

o   Soft Drinks (Ginger ale, Coke, Sprite, 7 Up, Orange, etc.)

o   Fruit Juices without pulp (apple, white grape, white cranberry, lemonade, etc.)

o   Tea or coffee (without milk or dairy creamer)


·        Others:

o   Artificial sweeteners

o   Iodized salt

o   Sugar

o   Honey

Most other foods are not permitted, but it’s important to note a few key things to avoid.  Do not consume:

·        Alcoholic beverages

·        Chicken soup

·        Food or drinks that contain red, purple, or blue dye or artificial coloring

·        Dairy products

·        Meat

·        Vegetables


Remember: the cleaner your bowl is, the cleared the picture will be and the easier it will be to make an accurate diagnosis.  For more information on colonoscopies or other procedures, contact our office.

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