Clear Liquid Diet

A clear liquid diet is one that has foods and drinks made from liquids that you can see through. These foods are easy to eat and don't leave anything in the gastrointestinal tract.

Do not eat this way unless you are told to. It may be used when the gastrointestinal tract needs to be free of food or needs to rest, such as:

  • Before a test or surgery
  • After surgery before eating normal food
  • During flare-ups of problems like diverticulitis

This way of eating does not give you enough calories. Be sure your doctor is watching you closely. Do not eat this way for more than a few days.

Foods You Can Have

  • Water
  • Tea or coffee (no cream)
  • Juices without pulp like apple, grape, cranberry, prune, and lemonade
  • Nutritional drinks
  • Soda
  • Clear broth
  • Gelatin without bits of fruit
  • Popsicles without fruit or cream
  • Italian ice

You can also have sugar, salt, and pepper.

Foods You Should Not Have

Any foods not on the above list, such as:

  • Milk
  • Cream
  • Orange juice
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Tomato juice
  • Smoothies
  • Milk shakes
  • Soup
  • Oatmeal
  • Cream of wheat


American Gastroenterological Association
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases


Dietitians of Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada


Colonoscopy. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated July 30, 2018. Accessed October 1, 2018.
Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN
Last Updated: 10/1/2018

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