A clear liquid diet is composed of clear fluids that the stomach can easily digest, explains Mayo Clinic. Consuming these clear liquids leaves no undigested remnants in the intestinal tract. Water, plain gelatin and fat-free broth are typically included in a clear liquid diet.
Doctors often instruct patients to consume a clear liquid diet prior to a medical test, procedure or surgery that requires an empty stomach, states Mayo Clinic. People with digestive problems may also benefit from the diet. However, a clear liquid diet is typically recommended for no more than a few days because clear fluids cannot provide the body with sufficient nutrients and calories.
A clear liquid diet keeps the body properly hydrated, provides enough energy and supplies essential electrolytes, such as potassium and sodium, says Mayo Clinic. Foods that can be added to the diet include fruit juices, fruit-flavored drinks, carbonated beverages, tea and coffee. Sports drinks, vegetable juice, hard candy, honey and sugar are also allowed in a clear liquid diet.
Solid foods that do not turn liquid at room temperature should be avoided, notes Mayo Clinic. A person may consume colored liquids that are transparent; however, liquids and gelatin with red coloring are not allowed when preparing to undergo certain medical tests, such as a colon exam.