Fact sheetDiet specifications

Published on 1 May 2016

Fluid diet - preoperative oral

This document is part of the ACI Diet Specifications for Adult Inpatients. It is not to be used for patient education.


To continue oral fluids until 2 hours before a procedure to replace or maintain the body’s water balance and leave minimal residue in the stomach.


Only fluids that are rapidly cleared from the stomach. All liquids containing fat, protein and insoluble fibre are excluded.


Preparation of patients for procedures involving anaesthesia or sedation. This diet can be used up to 2 hours prior to the procedure. Pre-operative oral fluids can improve postoperative wellbeing and clinical outcomes.

Nutritional adequacy

This diet is inadequate in all nutrients and should not be used as the sole source of nutritional support for more than one day.


Patients may not receive a menu.

Patients with diabetes should be ordered Fluids - Preoperative Oral Diabetes.

This diet is not suitable for patients on thickened fluids.


Suitable for use in paediatrics when combined with an age-appropriate diet.

Specific menu planning guidelines

Allowed Not allowed
Hot main dishesNone-
Sauces, graviesNone -
Starchy vegetables / pasta / riceNone -
Salads, dressingsNone-
Breads, cerealsNone -
Hot breakfast choicesNone -
Milk and cheeseNone -

Water, apple juice, other pulp-free fruit juice, cordial, lemonade

Black tea and coffee

All others, including prune juice and beverages containing red, blue or purple colouring (natural or added)

Thickened fluids


Commercial rehydration fluids

Commercial high-energy, fat-free, protein-free nutritional supplements

Sugar, sweetener

Products containing red, blue or purple colouring (natural or added)

Cream, pepper, salt

Commercial supplements with milk or soy protein


  1. Smith, I., Kranke, P., Murat, I., Smith, A., O’Sullivan, G., Søreide, E., Spies, C., and in’t Veld, B. Perioperative fasting in adults and children: guidelines from the European Society of Anaesthesiology. European Journal of Anaesthesiology. 2011;28:556–569
  2. American Society of Anesthesiologists Committee on Standards and Practice Parameters. Practice guidelines for preoperative fasting and the use of pharmacologic agents to reduce the risk of pulmonary aspiration: application to healthy patients undergoing elective procedures: an updated report [trunc]. Anesthesiology. 2011 Mar;114(3):495-511.
  3. Lambert, E., and Carey, S. Practice Guideline Recommendations on Perioperative Fasting: A Systematic Review. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. 9 January 2015.
  4. Nygren, J., Thorell, A., and Ljungqvist, O. Are there any benefits from minimizing fasting and optimization of nutrition and fluid management for patients undergoing day surgery? Current Opinion in Anaesthesiology. 2007; 20:540–544
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