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Clear Liquid Diet for Colonoscopy

Clear Liquid Diet for Colonoscopy

A clear liquid diet is often prescribed for those, who are preparing for colonoscopy. Here are some basic guidelines about clear liquid diet for colonoscopy.
Sonia Nair
Last Updated: Jan 25, 2018
Colonoscopy is most commonly used as a screening test for colon cancer, as this tool can detect the presence of abnormal growths like colon polyps, which may be cancerous or benign. It involves endoscopic examination of the colon and the rectum. So the procedure requires a good amount of preparation, which is mainly aimed at emptying the whole colon, so that the doctor will be able to inspect it properly. Usually, the preparations start one week before the intended date of colonoscopy and you have to switch over to a clear liquid diet, at least two days before the procedure.

Clear Liquid Diet

This diet consists of clear liquids, which will be easily digested and do not form any residue in the colon. It is often prescribed for those, who are preparing for surgeries, diagnostic tests or procedures, which require the stomach and the intestine to be empty. It is a short-term diet and is not prescribed for more than three to five days. Such a diet helps to maintain vital body fluids, salts and minerals, when the person is not allowed to consume normal food. Clear liquids are easily digested and do not stimulate the digestive system and so, no residue is left in the stomach and intestine. The following are some clear liquid foods for colonoscopy preparation.
  • Plain water
  • Fruit juices without pulp
  • Clear sodas
  • Honey, Green tea
  • Plain gelatin
  • Ice pops sans fruit or fruit pulp
  • Clear broth (fat-free bouillon or consomme)
  • Tea or coffee without cream
  • Lemonade, Lime soda
  • Sports drinks
Colonoscopy Prep Liquid Diet

Apart from clear liquids, other food items should not be consumed, unless you obtain permission from your doctor. In case of a liquid diet for colonoscopy, the doctor may ask you to avoid any liquid with red or purple color. These colors may stain the colon and may appear as blood, while testing. Given below is a sample of clear liquid diet for a day.
  • Breakfast: A cup of broth, a glass each of water and fruit juice and a bowl of gelatin. You may also opt for a small snack (before lunch) of one cup coffee or tea, without cream.
  • Lunch: As you have limited choice of foods in a clear liquid diet, your lunch will be similar to the breakfast. You may have a snack of one ice pop without fruit pulp or a cup of coffee or soft drink, in between lunch and dinner.
  • Dinner: It is similar to lunch and breakfast, or else you may also include an additional cup of coffee or tea.
The colonoscope consists of a thin flexible tube with a tiny fiber-optic video camera and light source attached to its end. This device is guided through the rectum and the entire colon, as the doctor inspects the inner surfaces of the organ. It can also provide high quality pictures, which are viewed through a monitor. Air is blown into the colon, so that the tube-like organ gets inflated, thereby enabling the doctor to get a better view of its inner surfaces.

Colonoscopy preparation may vary from one person to another, as various factors like health conditions, are taken into consideration. However, the basic requirement is an empty colon. Besides recommending the special liquid diet, the doctor may also administer some laxatives so that any fecal matter left in the colon is expelled, before the procedure. You must also inform your doctor about your health and medical conditions and the medicines you are taking.

Sticking to a clear liquid diet for colonoscopy can be very challenging, but serves the purpose. The above mentioned sample of clear liquid diet, is only an example. You have to strictly adhere to the instructions of your doctor, so as to avoid complications. As an improper colonoscopy preparation may require repetition of the whole procedure, you must stick to the diet, as advised by your doctor. If you experience any discomfort, pain or cramping, call your doctor immediately. According to latest researches, a clear liquid diet before colonoscopy, may not be necessary. As per some studies, no significant difference was found in patients who adopted such a diet and those who adopted a full liquid diet (with ice cream, milk and yogurt), before colonoscopy. Both these groups were rated equally, for cleansing the colon. Is it necessary to adopt such a diet before colonoscopy? The decision has to be taken by the doctor and you have to follow his/her instructions only.