Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Clear liquids and full liquids

If you experience nutritional side effects during your cancer treatment, you will need to consider the different kinds of liquids that you may use for nourishment, to quench your thirst or settle your stomach. Clear liquids are helpful for many of the side effects of cancer. Generally speaking, clear liquids are liquids that are easy to see through and to pour. A clear liquid diet is not nutritionally adequate and should only be followed for a short period of time to help control symptoms from cancer treatment side effects. If you are experiencing symptoms that will not allow you to consume anything more than clear liquids, talk to your physician or registered dietitian for recommendations. Full liquids have more calories, protein and nutrients so they can be used to help meet your daily calorie and protein requirements. Full liquids include those that are easy to pour and/or can be sucked through a straw. Some liquids are considered both clear and full.

The National Cancer Institute provides the following list of clear liquids:

  • Bouillon
  • Clear, fat-free broth
  • Clear carbonated beverages
  • Consommé
  • Apple/cranberry/grape juice
  • Fruit ices without fruit pieces
  • Fruit ices without milk
  • Fruit punch
  • Honey
  • Jelly
  • Plain gelatin dessert
  • Popsicles®
  • Sports drinks
  • Strained citrus juice
  • Strained lemonade/limeade
  • Strained vegetable broth
  • Tea
  • Water

Full liquids include the following:

  • All fruit juices and nectar
  • Ice milk
  • Small amounts of strained meat
  • Butter/cream/oil/margarine
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Cheese soup
  • Coffee/tea
  • Fresh or frozen plain yogurt
  • Fruit drinks
  • Fruit punch
  • Honey/jelly/syrup
  • Liquid supplements
  • Milk, all types
  • Milkshake
  • Pasteurized eggnog
  • Plain cornstarch pudding
  • Plain gelatin desserts
  • Potatoes pureed in soup
  • Refined/strained cooked cereal in broth or gelatin
  • Smooth ice cream
  • Soft or baked custard
  • Strained lemonade/limeade
  • Strained or blenderized soup
  • Thin fruit purees
  • Tomato juice
  • Tomato puree for cream soup
  • Vegetable juice