Clear Liquids Only Before Colonoscopy? Study Says Maybe Not

Low-residue diet leads to improved bowel prep, more rested patients
Low-residue diet leads to improved bowel prep, more rested patients

(HealthDay News) — A low-residue diet prior to a colonoscopy may be better than clear liquids only, according to research presented at the annual Digestive Disease Week, held from May 21 to 24 in San Diego.

Jason Samarasena, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of medicine with the division of gastroenterology and hepatology-interventional endoscopy at the University of California, Irvine, and colleagues assigned 83 patients to undergo a colonoscopy after a day on a clear-liquid diet or a day in which they were allowed to eat a small number of low-fiber foods like macaroni and cheese, yogurt, white bread, lunch meats, and ice cream. The patients ate about 1,000 to 1,500 calories from a combination of fat, protein, and carbohydrates.

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The researchers found that more of the patients on the low-fiber diet were adequately prepared for a colonoscopy than those who took clear liquids only. And, those in the low-fiber group were less tired on the morning of the procedure. Also, 97 percent of those in the low-fiber group said they were satisfied with their diet compared to just 46 percent of those in the clear-liquid group.

"The assumptions about no food on the day before colonoscopy are probably not correct. The clear-liquid diet is very restrictive, and probably too restrictive," Samarasena told HealthDay.

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