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Can You Have Tomato Soup on a Liquid Diet?

Can You Have Tomato Soup on a Liquid Diet

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None of the following are permitted: milk, cream (dairy or non-dairy), ice cream, whipped topping, half-and-half, etc. NOT ANYTHING hazy like tomato or orange juice, mashed potatoes, or meat stew. There wasn't even a sip of alcohol. You should stay away from the artificial red and purple dyes.

In the days before major medical procedures, such as colonoscopies and surgeries, patients are typically instructed to consume only clear liquids. This diet consists entirely of liquids, which are easily absorbed by the body and produce minimal waste for medical staff to deal with. Is there, however, any tomato soup available? Can it be consumed with only liquids?

The purpose of this article is to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about clear liquid diets, including whether or not tomato soup is allowed on such a plan.

What is a Clear Liquid Diet?

A clear liquid diet is a type of diet that consists of only clear liquids, such as water, broth, apple juice, and tea. These liquids are easy to digest and leave little residue in the digestive tract, which is why they are commonly prescribed before a colonoscopy or surgery.

What Foods Are Allowed on a Clear Liquid Diet?

The following foods and beverages are typically allowed on a clear liquid diet:

  • Water
  • Broth (chicken, beef, or vegetable)
  • Apple juice
  • White grape juice
  • Clear soda
  • Tea (without milk or cream)
  • Coffee (without milk or cream)
  • Ice pops without fruit pieces or cream
  • Jell-O or other gelatin desserts without fruit pieces
  • Sports drinks (such as Gatorade) in small amounts
  • Clear, fat-free bouillon or consommé

What Foods Are Not Allowed on a Clear Liquid Diet?

On a clear liquid diet, you are only permitted liquids without pulp or pieces of fruit. For example:

  • Milk and dairy products
  • Soups with vegetables, meat, noodles, or rice
  • Fruit juices with pulp or pieces of fruit
  • Tomato juice or tomato soup with pulp or seeds
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Solid foods, including bread, crackers, and cereal

Can You Have Tomato Soup on a Clear Liquid Diet?

Tomato soup, like most other red or purple liquids, is not allowed on most liquid diets, so the simple response is no.

Tomato solids and seeds are found in tomato broth and have been linked to colon irritation and residue buildup. A colonoscopy or other surgical procedure may be complicated as a result. The red color of the soup may also confuse physicians because it looks like blood, obscuring their view of the digestive system.

Clear Liquid Diet

Tomato sauce is typically not recommended during pregnancy, but your doctor may have an exception if they give you permission to eat it. In this situation, it's important to do exactly as they say.

When Should You Not Eat Tomato Soup?

Avoid tomato soup if you have a tomato allergy or sensitivity. Some people have severe allergic reactions after eating tomato soup, including hives, itching, and swelling. Tomato soup may also be avoided by those who suffer from acid reflux or irritable bowel syndrome because it can make their conditions worse. Any negative reactions to tomato soup should prompt a trip to the doctor to rule out a tomato allergy or sensitivity and rule out the possibility of a more serious underlying medical condition.

Alternatives to Tomato Soup on a Clear Liquid Diet

Tomato soup isn't the only thing you can't eat if you're on a clear liquid diet and you're wanting something savory and comforting. Here are a few illustrations:

  • Clear broth (chicken, beef, or vegetable)
  • Clear consommé
  • Bouillon
  • Tea (without milk or cream)
  • Coffee (without milk or cream)

It's important to note that even though these liquids are allowed, they should be consumed in moderation and not deviate from the prescribed diet.

Final Thoughts

While it may be tempting to indulge in your favorite foods and beverages before a colonoscopy or surgery, it's important to follow your doctor's prescribed clear liquid diet. Tomato soup, due to its tomato solids and seeds, is generally not allowed on a clear liquid diet. However, there are alternatives that are allowed, and if you have any questions or concerns about your prescribed diet, be sure to talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian.

Aaron Bernstein, MD, MPH

Aaron Bernstein is the Interim Director of The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment, a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics.

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