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What is the Clear Liquid Diet? When is it Recommended?

The clear liquid diet is an aggressive protocol that can be implemented in a timely manner to generate a cleansing at the intestinal level. Its application is not recommended without the supervision of a professional and without a specific objective, since it is a regimen with several nutritional deficiencies.

However, in certain circumstances, such as before a bowel test, it can be positive to put this plan in motion. Its adoption makes it possible to eliminate possible waste lodged in the digestive tract, which improves the diagnosis of underlying pathologies. Do you want to know more about it?

What is the goal of the clear liquid diet?

The main goal of the clear liquid diet is to sweep away intestinal dirt. This can be done for two different reasons, such as cleaning the area or facilitating the diagnosis of diseases with a subsequent test.

Either way, if it is started to improve bowel function or to cleanse impurities, you have to be very careful. As we will see below, it is a type of diet deficient in many nutrients that the body needs. Without them it is not able to function optimally for a long period of time.

Characteristics of the clear liquid diet

This type of diet focuses, above all, on hydration. It guarantees water intake and electrolyte balance, which is considered key at the health level. It must be borne in mind that poor hydration can cause alterations in blood pressure, according to a study published in Nephrology.

Despite this, we are talking about a very restrictive diet, since only the following products are allowed:

  • Mineral, carbonated or flavored water.
  • Fruit juices without pulp.
  • Flavored drinks.
  • Tea or coffee alone.
  • Jelly.
  • Strained vegetable or tomato juice, without skins or pulp.
  • Sport drinks.
  • Defatted and strained broth.
  • Honey and brown sugar.

Now, on some occasions, the diet can be more restrictive, according to the specialist’s indications. Either way, it is a very calorie and protein deficient approach. For this reason, its adoption in the medium or long term is not recommended.

It must be taken into account that adequate protein consumption is key to preventing the development of chronic diseases. In fact, in recent years the requirements of these nutrients in dietary guidelines have increased, as stated by research published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism.

Menu example

There is a wide variety of menus to follow this type of diet. The important thing is not to incorporate other foods other than those recommended. Usually, the doctor determines what each dish of the day should be like.


  • Sweetened black coffee.
  • 1 fruit juice.


  • 1 cup of gelatin and a glass of juice.


  • 1 glass of juice.
  • Defatted chicken broth.
  • 1 cup of gelatin.
  • Water


  • Black coffee with sugar.


  • 1 cup of defatted fish broth.
  • 1 cup of gelatin.
  • An infusion with sugar.

When is it recommended to follow this diet?

As we have commented, it is not appropriate to plan this diet to lose weight, or for long periods of time. It can be applied to cleanse the colon before a colonoscopy or to perform any other diagnostic test of the digestive tract.

Even in a case of very marked dysbiosis, it could be started together with adequate supplementation. In this way, a change is exerted on the microbiota, gradually reintroducing fiber and solid foods to settle the new bacteria.

Possible risks and contraindications of the clear liquid diet

As you can imagine, we are talking about a diet that is not capable of meeting energy requirements. It also does not meet the needs of essential macro and micronutrients. It is simple, if it takes longer than necessary, there is a risk of acute conditions due to an inefficient supply of nutrients.

For example, as detailed in a study published in the journal Advances in Food and Nutrition Research, not consuming optimal amounts of vitamin C leads to scurvy in the short term. In turn, not meeting iron demands causes anemia.

Therefore, it is only recommended to follow a dietary treatment of this type under medical prescription. It is important to heed the advice of the professional to do it minimizing the risks, thus consuming a certain amount of sugar to avoid hypoglycemia.

Clear liquid diet, a very strict protocol

In short, the clear liquid diet should not be used to lose weight. It is also not advisable to make it at home to experiment with it. Its implementation can generate harmful effects on health, especially if it is not applied correctly.

It is a short-term feeding method that has a very specific objective, and should not be used beyond that. In addition, it must be supervised and endorsed by a health professional, to reduce the associated risks.

As a general rule, you should avoid excessively restrictive diets. They do not generate benefits in the medium term and are not sustainable. The only thing that can be achieved with them is the development of diseases caused by the inefficient supply of nutrients.

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