Does Clear Liquid Diet Actually Work ? 

clear liquid diet

By the name of this diet ‘ Clear Liquid diet ‘ you might have got an idea of what this diet consists of – liquid.  But what type of liquids are included in it exactly?  Clear liquid does not mean that they should be colorless. It means that we should be able to see through them (strained). In addition, they should be at room temperature only.

Well, clear liquid diet allows you to have only these liquids: fresh fruit juices like apple, orange, watermelon, grapes, mango juice etc (with no pulp), water, fruit flavored beverages for example lemonade etc, tea and coffee ( without milk and cream but sugar can be added ) , sports drink , clear fat-free vegetable soup , ice pops ( dairy-free) , carbonated drinks, vegetable juices like cucumber, beetroot, tomato, celery, carrot juice and so on. Any solid food is restricted to have during this diet. Clear liquid diet is also known as surgical liquid diet due to its perioperative uses.


If you want to start this diet, you can follow this diet plan as an example:



  • Water before meal
  • A cup of coffee or tea without dairy in it
  • A glass of fruit juice (without pulp)
  • A glass of vegetable juice


Brunch :


  • Water before meal
  • A glass of fruit juice
  • A glass of vegetable juice


Lunch :


  • Water before meal
  • A glass of fruit juice
  • A bowl of clear vegetable soup (salt can be added)



Supper : 


  • Water before meal
  • Popsicle
  • 1 cup coffee or tea without dairy
  • Fruit juice


Dinner : 


  • Water before meal
  • Fruit juice
  • Vegetable soup


This diet consists of about 1000 calories (which is less than our normal calories requirement)

Food items not allowed on this diet:

  • Dairy products for example milk, cream, butter, ice cream etc
  • Juices with pulp for example orange, pineapple, tomato, grapefruit, apricot, lemonade etc
  • Soups for example chicken noodle soup or soups containing vegetables, noodles, pasta. It should be clear.
  • Oatmeal


There are two types of clear liquid diets:


  • Clear liquids that contain sugar such as, sodas, popsicles, regular Jell-O, Gatorade G1, 2, 3, fruit juices etc.


  • Clear liquids that do not contain sugar for example: Green tea, black tea and black coffee without sugar,  water, diet sodas, sugar-free Jell-O, Vitamin water (Vitamin water contains negligible amount of sugar) and so on

Things we should know before beginning clear liquid diet:

– When people do this diet, they tend to take in more sugar than they would usually so this should be taken into consideration that limited amount of sugar should be consumed. Sodas which are high in sugar should be avoided as excess sugar intake can worsen Crohn’s disease instead of reducing its symptoms.


 – As this clear liquid diet doesn’t completely provide you with every essential nutrient and calories required, it is recommended not to do it for a long period of time. This is usually prescribed to patients by doctors before any medical procedure for digestive system so consult your doctor before beginning it.


– If before getting done test like colonoscopy, you are opting to do this diet, it is advised to avoid red and purple color liquids as they tend to interfere the test imaging process by hiding polyps or changing actual color of colon mucosa. For more details, ask your doctor.


– If you are a diabetes patient, ensure to get at least 0.2 kilograms of carbohydrates to maintain good blood sugar level. Get back to normal diet as soon as possible. Ensure to talk to your doctor before starting this clear liquid diet.


– This diet should not be done for many days if you are already healthy. Suggested time period to do this diet for healthy people is for maximum 5 days. If continued for more than 5 days, vitamin supplements would be required as this can cause deficiency of nutrients.

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– If you are underweight, have eating disorders, endocrine disorder or is suffering from malnourishment. Clear liquid diet is a big NO for you.


– A lot of people have this misconception that clear liquid diet leads to weight loss. However, it is not a good option because during this diet few pounds will be shed but as soon as you will start your normal diet, all those pounds are going to gained by you again.


– If clear liquid diet is prescribed to you by your doctor, ensure to follow the instructions accurately otherwise it can lead to unreliable test results and problems during procedure.


– Drink various clear liquids instead of one type of liquid. Drink glass of water every hour. You should consume at least 48–64 ounces of liquids in a day. It is a good idea to dilute fruit juices first in order to prevent nausea or diarrhea. Moreover, do not drink extreme temperature liquids. They should be neither too hot nor too cold. Room temperature liquids are best.

Why should we do Clear Liquid Diet?

Some patients who underwent stomach or intestinal surgery are sometimes prescribed to do clear liquid diet.

People with health problems like diarrhea, nausea, stomach issues are also recommended to do this diet.

If you underwent any dental procedure or have oral injury so you cannot eat any solid food. This will help in healing and prevent oral infection.

Clear liquid diet might seem too difficult or impossible for some people to do. However, the amazing benefits it to our health offers makes it worth doing:

Lipid peroxidation is decreased which is the process which leads to damage of cells. Therefore, clear liquid diet helps to prevent cell damage.

On clear liquid diet, production of nitric oxides by cells increases which is a crucial molecule. It is beneficial for blood vessels by causing them to get wider. This helps to improve blood flow and maintain normal blood pressure.

This diet is skin friendly. It helps to make your skin glowing and young. Hydration is really important for our body. If a body is well hydrated, the body temperature is properly maintained, infections are prevented, organs work normally, there will be no sleep and mood issues and much more. This diet ensures that it provide sufficient hydration. Moreover, it also provides necessary electrolytes for example potassium and sodium.

It helps to clear stomach and intestines and improves the overall digestive system as these liquids are easily digested by our bodies and doesn’t put any strain on the system. Clear intestines makes diagnose of medical problems more convenient.

Clear liquid diet helps to recover from medical procedure. Due to the procedure such as bariatric surgery, in some cases the body system changes and becomes unable to digest and absorb food. Thus, this diet helps in its recovery, absorbing food etc. Afterwards, you can add food items gradually in your diet.

Being on clear liquid diet helps to prevent gastrointestinal distress as liquids involved in this diet makes digestion easier and reduces stomach problems such as viruses in stomach. It also helps you calm after having nausea, diarrhea, vomiting etc.

This diet decreases bad cholesterol level ( LDL )

This diet helps to increase hormone growth and reduces triglycerides. Thus, it reduces the risk of getting metabolic diseases such as diabetes.

Research shows that people who do clear liquid diet has less risk of getting heart diseases. Additionally, they have lower body mass index.

Research also suggests that being on this diet can improve your gut. This diet leads to decrease in Firmicutes and Proteobacteria along with increase in Cyanobacteria and Bacteroidetes ( good bacteria ).

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This diet is for people suffering from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. This is a  medical condition in which the intestines gets inflammed. For Crohn’s disease sufferers, this leads to lesions in the lining of the digestive system. These diseases causes a lot of diarrhea, abdominal cramps, rectal bleeding and severe constipation. Crohn’s disease is characterized by flare-ups, which shows that symptoms are more severe at certain times than others. During flare-ups, number of bowel movements should be reduced. Following clear liquid diet is a perfect way to reduce the amount of bulky solid passing through the gastrointestinal tract.

This diet is for people who suffers from nausea or vomiting as well as food poisoning, stomach flu and other various health issues that causes continous vomiting or feeling of nausea. In such cases, this liquid diet helps to keep body fully nourished and gain balance.

Along with health benefits, everything in this diet is quite affordable and available in most houses making it suitable for everyone. In addition, it is less time consuming as you don’t need to cook anything for hours. Instead you just need to put everything in a blender to make juice which can be done in few minutes.

Negative side effects of clear liquid diet are weakness, nausea, dry skin, hair loss, heart issues , dizziness and so on . . . .

Nowadays, many people are habitual of eating loads of junk food. Hunger is only satisfied when cooked food enters our stomach. This makes clear liquid diet really difficult to do. It makes person feel exhausted and hungry all the time as it lacks a lot of crucial nutrients and calories. ( this diet has about 500-1000 calories only ). Furthermore, this diet is too plain which people find boring.


This is a low-fibre diet as you cannot consume whole grains, fruits and vegetables which can cause constipation. It doesn’t provide you with adequate protein required which can lead to muscle loss.

By reading this article, you must be familiar with both the benefits as well as risks of being on clear liquid diet. If you are willing to give it a try, it is highly suggested to take advice from your healthcare professional who will let you know whether your decision is risk-free or wrong.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) :-

– Is clear liquid diet fatal due to lack of nutrients ?

It is true that this diet doesn’t provide us with all necessary nutrients which can cause mild problems like feebleness, nausea, dry skin, hair loss, nutrients deficiency etc.

However, it is absolutely not fatal.

– Does clear liquid diet helps to lose weight ?

It is widely known to help in weight loss but it is only temporary. Once you will get back to your normal diet, you will begin gaining weight again. Thus, this should not be done mainly for weight loss purpose.

– Can everyone do this diet ?

It will be beneficial for almost everyone except people who are underweight, have eating disorders, suffering from malnourishment or have endocrine disorders.

– Does this diet lead to frequent visits to bathroom ?

As this diet only consists of liquids, it is natural to pee more often than you would on normal diet. Through urine, all the dirt will leave your body.
Thus, detoxifying whole body.

– For how many days we should do this diet?

You can do it for only 24 hours and still get some benefits or even more days but not more than 5 days. If you are seeing great results and want to continue for more, consult your doctor to suggest you some supplements to cover up nutrients deficiency.


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