A clear liquid diet requires you to bar all solid food items from your diet, and still maintain a certain amount of nutritional value in the liquids you consume. There are numerous reasons why such a diet is suggested by doctors for patients who are going to undergo surgery. Colonoscopy and other gastrointestinal procedures require cleansing of the intestinal tract, which can be achieved by following a clear liquid diet, as it does not leave behind any residue. While doctors usually prescribe a specific liquid diet before such surgeries, there are general guidelines that you should follow during such a diet. These have been discussed here.
What is a Clear Liquid Diet?
As the name suggests, such a diet requires you to consume only clear liquids in the form of water, fruit juices (without pulp), clear broths, tea or coffee (with honey - without sugar and milk), plain gelatin, clear sodas/seltzers, diluted fruit punches, and flavored ice candy. In essence, all liquids you consume should not have fiber in them. This is because digesting fiber is harsh on the digestive system.
Beverages that you cannot see through should be avoided. This means items such as milk, thick soups, pulpy and citrus fruit drinks, and alcoholic beverages should not be consumed. As mentioned earlier, these are a few general guidelines you need to adhere to. Considering the fact that you will follow a clear liquid diet before a surgery, it is likely that your doctor will tell you exactly what you should and should not consume. It is imperative that the diet provided by your doctor is followed thoroughly for best results.
Purpose of Liquid Diet Before Surgery
While the duration of the diet is suggested by a doctor depending on the kind of surgery, the purpose of one is clear. The liver and colon should be devoid of toxins, fats and other residual material that can impede surgery. This diet may not provide all the nutrients necessary for a healthy body in the long run, and is suggested only for a short duration before and after surgery, following which, solid foods are slowly introduced to the system. Also, this diet prevents dehydration, and the liquids consumed are digested without putting too much pressure on the stomach and intestines. Finally, such a diet also prepares the body for quick post-surgery recovery.
Sample Liquid Diet Menu
Given below is a typical example of a clear liquid diet that patients are asked to follow before specific surgical procedures.
The amount of each item in the menu may vary based on your personal preference. There is a certain point up to which one is able to consume liquids at a given time. These options have been provided for variety, and you may choose from any of them. Just ensure that you get your nutrients from the fruit juices and broths. Finally, different surgeries may permit and forbid different kinds of liquids, which is why it is important that you follow the diet provided by your doctor or nutritionist before your surgery.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only and does not, in any way, intend to replace the advice of a medical expert.