Q:

Why are you only allowed to have liquid-type food before a colonoscopy?

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Quick Answer

A clear liquid diet is typically required before a colonoscopy, as clear liquids are easy to digest, and they don’t leave undigested traces in the intestinal tract, explains Mayo Clinic. It is essential to avoid eating solid food to keep the stomach and intestines clear during the exam.

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Full Answer

A clear liquid diet provides sufficient hydration, essential electrolytes and adequate energy prior to a medical test, procedure or surgery, says Mayo Clinic. It minimizes strain to the digestive system during the preparation for a procedure or during the recovery from a surgery.

Water, gelatin, fruit juices without pulp and fruit-flavored drinks are some of the suggested food items for individuals in a clear liquid diet, states Mayo Clinic. Carbonated beverages, sports drinks, vegetable juices, honey and sugar are also allowed. Milk and cream should not be added when drinking tea or coffee. Lemon drops and other hard candies can be included in the diet. A person should not continue a clear liquid diet for many days, as it does not give the body enough calories and nutrients.

It is important to follow the exact diet recommended by a physician to avoid inaccuracies during a colonoscopy, notes Mayo Clinic. A person may have to undergo the test again if she doesn’t follow a clear liquid diet and the results become erroneous.

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