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What Are Clear Liquids?

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Updated August 23, 2010

Question: What Are Clear Liquids?
Medical professionals use the term "clear liquids" to prescribe a specific diet intended to reduce nausea and vomiting and to treat other digestive disorders. You may also be instructed to drink only clear liquids before a surgical procedure requiring anesthesia so that you don't choke on food during surgery.
Answer: The following foods and drinks are considered clear liquids:
  • water
  • ice chips
  • plain Jell-o
  • a popsicle made of flavored water or fruit juice (with no fruit or pulp in it)
  • black coffee
  • tea without cream or sugar
  • soda pop
  • soup broth (only liquid, no food items)
  • fruit juice that does not contain pulp such as apple juice
  • sports drinks like Gatorade
  • Pedialyte (electrolyte drinks for sick children)
The following foods are not clear liquids:
  • milk
  • orange juice
  • applesauce
  • pudding
  • coffee that contains cream and sugar

Also, some procedures may be even more specific than this. For example, prior to a colonoscopy, you may be told not to drink any red or blue liquids.

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