From a Mechanical Soft Diet to the Clear Liquid Diet
Yes, my diet was “downgraded,” as we say in the healthcare world. I was temporarily not allowed the mechanical soft diet I was following. Instead, I was on a clear liquid diet. Luckily, it was brief.
For me, it was less than one a day, just long enough for there to be no solid food in my system when the doctors ran tests. But some patients can be on a clear liquid diet for days.
So, I thought it’d be helpful to answer some questions about clear liquid diets…
What is the purpose of the clear liquid diet?
Although you may lose weight, it is not a weight loss diet. It has two main purposes: 1) preparation for medical procedures in which the GI tract cannot contain solids; 2) a way to introduce foods back into the stomach after physical stress, such as surgery or severe vomiting.
How long are patients on a clear liquid diet?
In the first case, a clear liquid diet is usually only required for less than two days.
In the second scenario, it depends on the patient. It may last one meal or more than one week, depending on how well the patient tolerates liquids.
A clear liquid diet is just that—a diet of clear liquids only. Clear liquids are mostly beverages: water, apple juice, white grape juice, tea, ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, sports drinks, and broth. However, if you want something more solid-feeling in your mouth, you can have water ice or gelatin, which are broken down into clear liquids by the body.
If you are concerned about getting enough nutrients while on a clear liquid diet, you can drink Ensure Active or Boost Breeze, which are clear nutritional drinks. You cannot have the regular creamy versions of these products. There are other clear beverages that can provide calories, sugar, vitamins, and minerals, but these will provide protein.
Are there clear liquids I should avoid?
Your doctor may ask you to avoid products that contain red dye if you are undergoing certain medical tests. You also should avoid alcoholic beverages, because alcohol will affect you differently when you haven't eaten.
If you have more questions or want to share your experience, please use the comment section below.