A clear liquid diet requires you to consume only clear liquids that are easily digested and don’t leave residue in your digestive tract.
What to eat
- Fruit or vegetable juice (without added sugar or milk)
- Coffee and tea (without milk)
- Sports drinks
- Carbonated drinks
What to avoid
- Fruit pulp
- Anything solid or semi-solid
Why you may need a clear liquid diet
The main purpose of a clear liquid diet is to let your digestive tract rest and give it time to clean itself out.
Your doctor may put you on a clear liquid diet before imaging procedures such as colonoscopy and endoscopy where a clean picture of the colon is an absolute necessity for diagnosis. Doctors also recommend clear liquid diets before and after gastrointestinal surgeries to prevent nausea and vomiting.
Although some people use this diet for weight loss, it should never be followed for long because it cannot fulfil your calorie and nutritional needs and can have long-term consequences on your health.
What are the benefits of a clear liquid diet?
Benefits of a clear liquid diet include:
- Better recovery after surgeries: Reduces the risk of stress on the gut after surgery and prevents nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. By giving you minimum optimum nutrition, it can aid in faster recovery.
- Better imaging procedures: Helps empty out solid materials from the gut that would otherwise obstruct the view of the imaging.
- Improved hydration: Keeps your body hydrated due to the increased water content in all foods in a clear liquid diet.
- Improved digestion: Gives the digestive system a rest, enhances its ability to work properly.
- Improved heart health: Minimizes lipid peroxidation in the body due to the very low fat content. Because lipid peroxidation is the main damaging factor for health, a clear liquid diet helps improve cardiovascular health.
- Improved immune system: A decrease in lipid peroxidation and an increase in nitric oxide helps in the overall functioning of the immune system.
Are there risks to eating a liquid diet?
Risks of a clear liquid diet include:
- Regaining lost weight: Any weight loss that occurs on a clear liquid diet will likely come back once you start eating solid foods.
- Nutrient deficiencies: A clear liquid diet is high in carbohydrates but lacks proteins and fats that are as essential for the proper functioning of the body. Following a liquid diet for a sustained period of time can cause a deficiency of proteins and fats, leading to serious health problems. It can also cause extreme fatigue and dizziness.
- Limited research: There is limited research about liquid diets, and they are only recommended before certain specific medical procedures. Little is known about the effectiveness of liquid diets in weight management or other aspects of health.
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