A bland diet includes low-fiber soft foods that are not spicy. A clear liquid diet allows only clear fluids or foods that become clear liquids at room temperature. A full liquid diet is less restrictive than a clear liquid diet, but still only permits beverages or foods in fluid form. Combining both a bland diet and a liquid diet into a bland liquid diet presents special challenges.
Bland liquid diets provide your gastrointestinal system with nutrients in a form that is easy to digest while keeping you well hydrated. This type of diet may help ease gastrointestinal health problems, such as nausea, vomiting, gas, diarrhea, heartburn or ulcers, or problems with chewing or swallowing. Doctors commonly prescribe it before certain medical procedures or following intestinal or stomach surgery. A bland clear liquid diet supplies you with carbohydrates, electrolytes, vitamins and minerals, but, because it lacks enough protein or fat, you will only be on this diet for three or four days. A bland full liquid diet, on the other hand, provides complete nutrition and may suffice for long periods of time, reports MedlinePlus.
A bland clear liquid diet permits apple, cranberry or grape juice; clear broth, bouillon or consomme; clear, non-caffeinated sodas; clear, flavored gelatin; decaffeinated tea; ice pops with no fruit chunks; and sports drinks. A bland full liquid diet allows all of these as well as liquid low-fat milk products, filtered fruit and vegetable juices, strained soups, ice milk, low-fat frozen yogurt and commercial liquid nutritional supplements. Your health care provider may also include pureed potatoes, farina or strained meats in your bland full liquid diet.
Liquids to Avoid
High-fat foods, such as cream or full-fat ice cream, may not be consumed on a bland liquid diet. Spicy liquids are also not included, as they may irritate your digestive tract. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages until your health care provider allows them. A bland clear liquid diet does not permit coffee, and, while it does allow decaffeinated tea, avoid adding milk. A bland full liquid diet, while more permissive, does not include any sort of mashed food, such as avocado or potato.
Consume your bland liquid diet in small, frequent doses throughout the day, suggests the University of Maryland Medical Center. Drink slowly to avoid digestive upset, and refrain from taking in fluids for two hours before you go to bed. If you will be on a bland full liquid diet for an extended period and need to increase your calorie consumption, add powdered milk to soups and beverages or sweeten your drinks with sugar or flavored syrups.
The University of Illinois McKinley Health Center recommends adding new liquids to your bland liquid diet progressively. For example, if your digestive system handles fruit juices and sports drinks with no problem, add one new item, such as clear broth or gelatin, and wait for several hours to determine how your body reacts before adding another new liquid to your diet. Consult with your health care provider or nutritionist if your symptoms worsen, and revert back to the food items that do not bother your digestion.
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A writer since 1985, Jan Annigan is published in "Plant Physiology," "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences," "Journal of Biological Chemistry" and on various websites. She holds a sports medicine and human performance certificate from the University of Washington, as well as a Bachelor of Science in animal sciences from Purdue University.