Can I have applesauce the day before my colonoscopy?

Many people wonder if they can have applesauce the day before a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is a procedure in which a doctor uses a colonoscope (a long, flexible tube with a camera at the end) to examine the entire length of the colon and rectum. It is commonly used to screen for colon cancer or to evaluate gastrointestinal symptoms.

In the day or two leading up to the colonoscopy, patients are asked to follow a clear liquid diet and then a laxative-based bowel prep to thoroughly cleanse the colon. This allows the doctor to have optimal visibility during the procedure. As a result, the question often comes up regarding whether applesauce is allowed on the day before the colonoscopy as part of the preparatory diet.

Clear Liquid Diet

The day before a colonoscopy, patients are typically instructed to follow a clear liquid diet. Clear liquids are defined as any liquid you can see through. Examples include:

– Water
– Clear fruit juices without pulp such as apple juice or white grape juice
– Clear sodas such as ginger ale or lemon-lime soda
– Clear broths including chicken, beef or vegetable broth
– Plain gelatin
– Popsicles without fruit pieces or pulp
– Coffee or tea without milk or creamer

The purpose of sticking to clear liquids is to avoid any residue that could potentially interfere with the bowel prep process. Clear liquids minimize gastrointestinal contents, empty the colon faster, and allow for better visualization during the colonoscopy procedure.

Is Applesauce Allowed?

So can you have applesauce the day before a colonoscopy on a clear liquid diet? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Here are some key reasons why applesauce is restricted:

Not a clear liquid: Applesauce contains apple pulp and has an opaque, cloudy appearance. It does not meet the definition of a see-through clear liquid.

Fiber content: Applesauce contains fiber from apples. Fiber can leave behind residue in the colon and impact the quality of the bowel prep.

Thick consistency: The thick, chunky texture of applesauce is the opposite of thin, watery clear liquids that empty quickly from the stomach.

Fruits and vegetables avoided: Fruit and vegetable fiber and pulp are restricted on the day before a colonoscopy. Even though applesauce has a smooth consistency, it is still derived from apples.

Can clog the colonoscope: Anything thick like applesauce poses a risk of obstructing the colonoscope lens during the procedure. Small flecks could cling to the scope.

Doctor’s instructions: Most physicians instructing patients to follow a clear liquid diet advise avoiding applesauce entirely the day before a colonoscopy.

What About Clear Apple Juice?

Clear apple juice without pulp or sediment is permitted on a clear liquid diet before a colonoscopy. The filtering process removes soluble fiber and pulp, leaving only the transparent, clear apple-flavored liquid. Clear apple juice flows easily through the gastrointestinal tract and does not have the same risk of obstructing the colonoscopy procedure.

Other acceptable clear juices include white grape juice, lemonade, and cranberry juice cocktail. Orange juice with pulp should be avoided. It is advisable to stick to light colored juices only since darker pigments can be mistaken for blood or polyps during the colonoscopy.

Purpose of Liquid Diet and Bowel Prep

To understand why applesauce is prohibited before a colonoscopy, it helps to review the purpose behind the preparatory diet and bowel cleansing protocols:

– Empty the colon of all solid matter prior to the procedure
– Allow for excellent visibility during the colonoscopy
– Reduce the risk of complications like a perforation since less stool means a lower risk something could be pushed through the colon wall
– Prevent injury to the colon from the colonoscope bumping into debris
– Decrease procedural time from having to wash debris out so the doctor can visualize the colon lining
– Minimize the amount of stool and fluid that needs suctioning out during the procedure
– Reduce the number of hidden polyps or areas obscured by residual stool

Consuming thicker substances like applesauce that can leave behind traces of fiber and pulp defeats the purpose of thorough cleansing before a colonoscopy. Sticking to allowed clear liquids optimizes the prep.

Sample Clear Liquid Diet Timeline

Here is a sample timeline of what you might be allowed to eat and drink the day before your colonoscopy while following a clear liquid diet:

Breakfast: Water, clear fruit juice, black coffee, tea

Lunch: Clear broth soup with saltine crackers, ginger ale

Dinner: Clear broth, plain gelatin, popsicle

Throughout the Day: Stay hydrated by drinking approved clear liquids

Note that milk, cream, pulp, seeds, skins, fiber, and anything red, blue, or purple are prohibited. Read prep instructions carefully as directives can vary. The key is to stick to transparent liquids only.

Starting the Bowel Prep

Later in the evening, after following the clear liquid diet all day, patients will start their bowel prep. This typically involves drinking a laxative solution like polyethylene glycol, which causes diarrhea to clean the colon.

You will need to stay near a restroom once the laxative prep starts working. Some people also experience nausea or abdominal bloating. Prepare by stocking up on clear liquids, Vaseline, reading material, and anything else that will make the process more comfortable.

The goal is to eliminate all stool matter leaving only clear yellow liquid by the end of the prep. This liquid contains electrolytes and digestive secretions that cannot be absorbed because the colon has been entirely cleansed of waste.

If you are passing brown liquid or anything cloudy, you may need to take additional laxative solution to ensure the prep is fully effective. Only transparent yellow fluid should remain.

What If I Eat Applesauce By Mistake?

If you unintentionally eat applesauce the day before your colonoscopy, do not panic. Here are some options:

– Contact your doctor’s office and ask for guidance. They may instruct you to take a half dose of laxative prep earlier to cleanse your colon faster. Or they may say to continue as planned.

– Take clear liquids only for the next few hours to flush your system. Opt for clear broth, popsicles, and approved juices.

– Once you start prep solutions, make sure to finish all required doses. This will help compensate for any applesauce residue.

– Be honest with your doctor about the slip up prior to the colonoscopy. They may recommend rescheduling if prep is thought to be ineffective.

– If small traces of applesauce did pass into your colon, the doctor can try to wash debris away with water flushes during the actual procedure.

While not ideal, a small amount of applesauce should not sabotage the entire prep. Stick closely to the approved diet apart from that mistake.

Foods to Avoid With Applesauce

On the day before a colonoscopy, it’s important to avoid all foods that can leave residue behind. Here are some other foods to avoid along with applesauce:

– Cooked grains like oatmeal, rice, quinoa or pasta
– Bread, cereal, granola bars
– Meat, poultry, fish
– Beans, lentils, legumes
– Vegetables and vegetable juice with pulp
– Fruits like bananas
– Nuts and seeds
– Milk, cream, nondairy milk alternatives
– Ice cream, frozen yogurt

Really focus on exclusion of all fruits, veggies, fiber and protein sources. Stick to any liquids you can see directly through. Broths, sodas, plain gelatin, juice without pulp, popsicles and water are go-to options.

Foods You Can Eat Before a Colonoscopy

While the clear liquid diet and bowel prep are restrictive, there are still quite a few allowable foods and drinks before a colonoscopy. Here are some go-to items to enjoy up until it is time to start drinking only prep solutions:

– Water – Stay well hydrated with plain water. Add a squeeze of lemon if desired.

– Clear soda – Opt for light colored sodas like ginger ale, Sprite or lemon-lime seltzer. Avoid dark sodas.

– Clear juices – Apple, white grape, and lemonade are great choices. Other light options are usually fine too.

– Clear broth – Sip on chicken, beef or vegetable broth. Low-sodium is ideal.

– Plain gelatin – Flavored gelatin without fruit chunks or pulp is permitted.

– Popsicles – Look for clear ice pops without any solids or beads.

– Clear protein drinks – Clear protein supplements can provide needed calories.

– Honey or sugar – A touch of sweetener can improve flavor.

– Saltine crackers – These can be allowed to add texture to broth. Check with your doctor.

– Hard candy – Sucking on lemon drops, jelly beans or mints can curb hunger.

– Tea and coffee – Plain without milk, cream or foam.

Sample Menu for the Day Before

Here is an example menu of allowed clear liquids you could enjoy from breakfast through dinner the day before a colonoscopy:

– Scrambled egg whites or clear protein shake
– Apple juice
– Water
– Black coffee

– Chicken broth
– Saltine crackers
– Clear soda
– Plain gelatin

– Beef broth
– Popsicle
– Tea

This provides nutrients from egg whites and protein shakes in the early day before transitioning to only transparent liquids closer to when prep starts.

Benefits of a Clear Liquid Diet Before Colonoscopy

Although quite limiting, following a clear liquid diet the day before a colonoscopy offers many benefits:

– Allows the colon to rest and empty which improves prep effectiveness
– Provides adequate hydration from approved liquids
– Minimizes side effects like nausea that can occur when digesting heavier foods
– Reduces potential discomfort from gas-producing foods
– Decreases peristalsis so the colonoscope can be inserted easily
– Requires minimal digestion allowing the body to focus on the impending bowel flush
– Contributes to higher quality colon cleanse and visualization
– Reduces risk of complications during the procedure

Despite being challenging for some patients, embracing the clear liquid diet sets the stage for an optimal colonoscopy and thorough examination of the colon tissue.

Tips for Following the Liquid Diet

Here are some tips to help you adhere to the clear liquid diet on the day leading up to your colonoscopy:

– Stick to allowed see-through liquids only – do not cheat!
– Sip liquids slowly instead of gulping large amounts
– Set reminders to drink water and approved beverages at regular intervals
– Opt for clear broth rather than plain water when desiring something savory
– Keep a variety of clear liquids on hand like different broth flavors, juices and sodas
– Suck on hard candies to ease hunger or sweet cravings
– Don’t overindulge on sugar-filled beverages
– Use lemon wedges, salt, or other flavors to liven up plain drinks
– Stay busy with activities to keep your mind off eating
– Talk to your doctor if struggling significantly with the liquid diet

What to Expect After Starting the Bowel Prep

Once you begin drinking the bowel prep solution in the later afternoon or evening, here is what typically happens:

– You’ll start having loose, watery stools within a few hours of your first dose, as the laxative stimulates the bowels
– Frequency of bowel movements increases dramatically, up to every 15-20 minutes at the height of the prep
– Initially brown liquid will pass, then stools gradually become clearer yellow fluid
– Be prepared to spend lots of time sitting on the toilet
– The urge to have a bowel movement can feel sudden and intense
– Abdominal cramping and bloating are common as the bowels contract to expel contents
– Nausea sometimes occurs and a few people vomit
– You’ll likely become exhausted from hourly bathroom trips and poor sleep
– Hydration is extremely important to avoid dehydration from fluid loss

While not especially pleasant, take it one step at a time. The payoff is a colon free of excess waste matter, allowing the doctor to thoroughly check the entire lining.

Tips for Getting Through the Bowel Prep

Keep these tips in mind to help you get through the challenging bowel preparation:

– Stay near a toilet once the prep starts – do not go far from a restroom
– Massage your abdomen to ease cramping between bathroom trips
– Use soothing wipes to prevent a sore bottom from frequent wiping
– Set a phone or tablet up in the bathroom for entertainment
– Apply petroleum jelly or diaper rash ointment before bowel movements
– Drink clear liquids throughout the night to stay hydrated
– Use lemon drops, mints or gum to reduce nauseous feelings
– Wear loose, comfortable clothing and bring a robe or slippers for trips to the restroom
– Have someone keep you company during the long night
– Remind yourself that the unpleasant process is temporary

What Happens If You Eat on Prep Day?

You may be wondering what would occur if you accidentally consume prohibited solid foods on the day you begin drinking prep solutions. Here’s what to expect:

– The laxatives will likely override any attempts to retain solids, forcing them out through diarrhea
– You can anticipate more painful cramping and bloating as chunks are expelled
– Solid pieces may clog the suction tubes used during the colonoscopy, creating issues
– There will likely be increased nausea, possibly even vomiting if food sits in the stomach
– Food residue could linger in the colon, partially obstructing the view
– The doctor may abort the procedure if prep is deemed ineffective
– At a minimum, expect a longer, more difficult colonoscopy procedure

Eating solid foods on prep day is strongly discouraged for these reasons. Stick closely to allowed clear liquids to optimize cleansing.

Day Before Colonoscopy FAQs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the day before colonoscopy prep:

Can I drink milk? No, milk is not allowed on a clear liquid diet.

What about meal replacement shakes? If a shake has a completely clear appearance without solids, it may be approved by your doctor. But most are too opaque.

Can I have Jello? Yes, as long as it is a transparent flavor without fruit or other add-ins.

Is it okay to drink alcohol? Check with your doctor, but small amounts of clear alcohol like gin or vodka are usually permitted.

Can I have any coffee creamer? Unfortunately no. Black coffee only.

Are eggs allowed? Plain egg whites without yolks may be permitted earlier in the day before liquids only.

Can I have popsicles with fruit bits? No, you must stick to clear popsicles without any particles.

What about lemon in my water? Yes, you can add lemon wedges or a squirt of juice to enhance plain water’s flavor.

Shopping List for the Day Before

To make sure you have plenty of options for clear liquids, here are some items to include on your shopping list:

– Water – Flat, sparkling, or mineral water to stay hydrated

– Clear fruit juices – Apple, white grape, lemonade, cranberry

– Clear sodas – Sprite, ginger ale, seltzer water, club soda

– Clear broths – Chicken, beef, vegetable broth with low sodium

– Plain gelatin cups – Lemon, lime, orange, or other light flavors

– Popsicles – Look for basic flavors like grape or cherry with no solids

– Clear protein drinks – Protein2O, Isopure, etc. Check labels.

– Tea – Herbal and green varieties won’t stain prep fluids

– Honey, sugar or lemons – Sweeten beverages

– Clear hard candies – Lemon drops, jelly beans, mints

– Saltine crackers – To accompany broth at allowed meals

Having afridge stocked with a variety of allowed clear liquids will make the day go by easier.


To summarize, applesauce is not permissible on the day before a colonoscopy because it fails to meet the clear liquid criteria. The chunks and fiber can interfere with colon cleansing. Stick to approved transparent beverages, broth, gelatin, and popsicles without pulp or fruit pieces to comply with physician instructions. Successful colonoscopy prep requires discipline to follow the liquid diet diligently before starting active bowel cleansing. Although challenging, this sets the stage for an effective procedure allowing comprehensive evaluation of the entire colon.

1 thought on “Can I have applesauce the day before my colonoscopy?”

  1. i am diabetic, and it would be very difficult for me to fast for 24 hours straight. Is there any doctor in the rockland county ny area that doesn’t require me to fast more than 14 hours? could i have something for lunch the day before colonoscopy that does not have high fiber like scrambled eggs or something light like tuna or a little chicken? I had a colonoscopy about 14 years ago, and i had an excruiating headache in the morning right before colonoscopy.thank you


Leave a Comment