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Patient education: Full liquid diet (The Basics)

Patient education: Full liquid diet (The Basics)

What is a full liquid diet? — A full liquid diet includes only fluids and foods that turn to liquid when left at room temperature. You cannot eat solid foods when you are on a full liquid diet.

Usually, you only need to follow a full liquid diet for a short time. Liquids can help to rest your stomach.

A full liquid diet gives you a little more nutrition than a clear liquid diet.

Why might I need a full liquid diet? — You might need a full liquid diet:

As you transition from a clear liquid diet to a regular diet

After an illness or surgery, especially if it involves your stomach or intestines

If you have broken bones in your mouth or jaw

If you have problems chewing or swallowing

What can I eat and drink on a full liquid diet? — Liquids can be thin or thick, but they must not contain any solid bits. Try to eat a variety of foods to give you plenty of energy and protein.

Some examples:

Grains – Thin, cooked cereals like grits, cream of rice, or cream of wheat.

Fruits and vegetables – Fruit or vegetable juice (check with your doctor about juices with pulp), soup broth, strained cream soups, vegetable soups that are thin and pureed, gelatin without anything added such as fruit bits, and frozen ice pops with no pulp or solid bits.

Dairy – Milk and milk alternatives (such as almond, soy, rice, cashew, or coconut milks), milkshakes, custard, pudding, plain ice cream, sherbet, sorbet, yogurt, powdered milk, and eggnog.

Proteins – Beef or chicken broth, liquid dietary supplements (sample brand names: Boost, Ensure), and protein powder.

Other – Syrups, gravy, melted butter, oil such as olive and canola oils, water and ice, coffee and tea, sports drinks, and bubbly drinks like seltzer and soft drinks.

You might be able to add other foods to your full liquid diet if they are thinned, melted, or strained to have no lumps. Ask your doctor, nurse, or dietitian before adding other foods.

What food and drinks should I avoid on a full liquid diet? — It is important to avoid foods and drinks that have any solid parts, even very tiny pieces like fruit bits or seeds.

Some examples:

Grains to avoid – Pasta, rice, bread, crackers, dry cereal, cookies, cakes, and cold cereals.

Fruits and vegetables to avoid – Whole, fresh, frozen, or canned fruits and vegetables.

Dairy to avoid – Cheese and smoothies or yogurt with nuts, fruits, chips, or solids in them.

Proteins to avoid – Beef, pork, poultry, fish, seafood, nuts, all types of nut butters, eggs, all meat substitutes such as soy and tofu, and all lunch meats and cold cuts.

Other foods to avoidAny solid foods or foods with solid bits in them.

What else should I know? — Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to start your full liquid diet and how long you should follow it.

Also:

If you have diabetes, talk with your doctor or nurse about the types of full liquids to eat or drink. You need to be careful about the amount of sugar in your diet.

If you will be on a full liquid diet for more than a few days, your doctor or nurse might suggest working with a dietitian. It can be hard to get the right amount of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals on a full liquid diet. You might need to take a liquid vitamin or drink certain liquids with extra protein and calories.

More on this topic

Patient education: Clear liquid diet (The Basics)
Patient education: Fasting before surgery (The Basics)
Patient education: Facial fractures (The Basics)
Patient education: Mouth and dental injuries in adults (The Basics)
Patient education: Mouth and dental injuries in children (The Basics)
Patient education: Colonoscopy (The Basics)
Patient education: Dysphagia (The Basics)

Patient education: Colonoscopy (Beyond the Basics)

This topic retrieved from UpToDate on: Jun 02, 2024.
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