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Liquid Diet for Pancreatitis

Your doctor will likely ask you to follow a clear liquid diet when you have an episode of pancreatitis. Your pancreas produces several enzymes that aid digestion. When it becomes inflamed, avoiding solid food gives your digestive system a rest and your pancreas time to heal. Severe pancreatitis may require hospital admission, after which a clear liquid diet is often the first meal plan. Call your doctor and dietitian if you're having an episode and follow their dietary instructions to the letter.

Clear Diet Overview

A clear liquid diet keeps you hydrated, provides electrolytes like sodium and potassium, and supplies energy from calories when you're unable to eat a regular diet. It consists of liquids you can see through. Because it is not nutritionally complete, you'll stay on it for only a few days -- no more than 3 to 5 -- according to Arizona Digestive Health 1. After that your doctor will advance you to the next phase -- typically a soft diet -- before returning you to your regular diet.

  • A clear liquid diet keeps you hydrated, provides electrolytes like sodium and potassium, and supplies energy from calories when you're unable to eat a regular diet.
  • Because it is not nutritionally complete, you'll stay on it for only a few days -- no more than 3 to 5 -- according to Arizona Digestive Health 1.

Allowed Liquids

High-Protein Gelatin for Clear Liquid Diet

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Along with water, acceptable clear fluids include:

  • fruit juices
  • sports drinks
  • flavored water
  • Italian ice
  • plain gelatin

You can also purchase a clear liquid nutritional supplement that contains vitamins and minerals to boost your nutrient intake. If you're craving a warm meal, have clear, fat-free vegetable, chicken or beef broth.

Liquids to Avoid

Check with your dietitian if you're unsure whether a specific liquid is allowed. Your doctor may limit certain liquids depending on the severity of your condition. Avoid all fruit nectars -- fresh and canned -- as well as liquids with pulp or fruit bits. Alcohol is completely off-limits because it irritates the digestive system. In addition, milk is not allowed on a clear liquid diet 2. Other liquids to avoid are tomato soup, tomato juice, pudding, ice cream and hot or cold chocolate.

  • Check with your dietitian if you're unsure whether a specific liquid is allowed.
  • In addition, milk is not allowed on a clear liquid diet 2.

Sample Menu

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On a clear liquid plan, you'll get anywhere from 600 to 1,300 calories daily, depending on what you eat and how often you eat. A sample breakfast on this plan is a cup of gelatin, a cup of fruit juice and some tea with lemon. A typical lunch is a cup of clear chicken broth, 1/2 cup of Italian ice and 2 cups of a sports drink. A sample dinner is a cup of beef broth, two ice pops and 1/2 cup of gelatin. You can snack on clear nutritional supplement drinks between meals.

  • On a clear liquid plan, you'll get anywhere from 600 to 1,300 calories daily, depending on what you eat and how often you eat.
  • A typical lunch is a cup of clear chicken broth, 1/2 cup of Italian ice and 2 cups of a sports drink.
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