The Answer is Clear: Addressing Misconceptions Around Presurgery Drinks

  • For decades, patients have been told to fast before surgery. So, when people first hear about presurgery drinks, it’s natural for them to say “Hey, wait—you’re just trying to sell us something we don’t need! And besides, that’s going against doctor’s orders.” But the truth is, despite some misconceptions swirling around presurgery drinks, they are right in line with modern medical research and updated patient protocols. Today, we’re covering:


    • The misconception that presurgery drinks are only about keeping you from “starving”
    • The misconception that it’s unsafe to drink before surgery
    • The misconception that you can just drink water instead of presurgery drinks


    Now, let’s dig in…


    Misconception: “People won’t ‘starve’ if they don’t eat for a few hours before surgery.” 

    People hear presurgery drinks marketed as a way to ensure patients “don’t starve before surgery,” and they immediately think: “Wait—you don’t starve after a few hours of not eating!” We totally understand this point of view, but there are two realities here that make it a major misconception: 


    Reality: Presurgery drinks aren’t just about keeping you from starving. 

    ClearFast nourishes you before surgery so you feel satisfied and full, sure—but it’s also formulated to do so many other beneficial things for your body before and after surgery. It helps make the experience less stressful, greatly reduces your chances of post-op nausea and vomiting, and provides vital nutrients and minerals that aid in speeding your recovery process. 


    Reality: “Starving” doesn’t mean “starving to death.” 

    Your body enters a starved state after hours with no nourishment. When you fast before surgery, your body is entering into a starved state, which can make your surgery experience stressful and your recovery harder than it needs to be.  When we talk about “not starving before surgery,” we’re referring to the latter—the “starved state” your body enters into as a result of fasting before surgery. 


    Misconception: “It’s unsafe to eat or drink before surgery.” 

    Fasting before surgery is a decades-old practice, so it makes sense that patients are wary when they first hear about presurgery drinks. After all, doctors say it’s unsafe to eat or drink before surgery, right? Well, not so much:


    Reality: Fasting before surgery is an outdated practice and is being replaced with instructions to nourish and hydrate, instead. 

    We break down everything you need to know about why fasting before surgery is outdated here (so take a look!), but here’s a quick summary: Having food in your stomach before surgery can cause you to aspirate (aspiration is essentially the entry of your stomach contents/food into the lower respiratory tract and lungs, which can be very dangerous during surgery). Because of this, medical professionals implemented a sweeping rule over 150 years ago: no food or drink after midnight before surgery. 


    By the year 2000, however, a collection of 30+ independent studies proved that patients who drank clear fluid before surgery actually had emptier stomachs than those who didn’t eat or drink anything—which ultimately reduced their risk of aspiration, making their surgery experience safer than those who fasted. 


    When you fast, your stomach creates gastric acids—so it’s not, in fact, empty (even though you haven’t eaten or drank anything). When you drink the right clear liquids up to two hours before surgery, your stomach doesn’t create these acids and is, in fact, empty. ClearFast is designed to clear from your stomach fast (hence the name!), so—as long as you finish your last bottle at least two hours before surgery—ClearFast is not in your stomach during the time of surgery…and neither are those dangerous stomach acids your body creates as a result of outdated fasting. 


    In fact, an article published by the University of Minnesota Health Center in 2015 states, “A number of studies show that patients do much better if they’re allowed to drink up to two hours before surgery. They use less IV fluid, and depending on what they drink, they have better metabolism. It’s also less difficult to control a patient’s sugar levels following surgery.”


    Reality: We ALWAYS recommend you follow your doctor’s instructions. 

    We aren’t just a company working to sell patients presurgery drinks—we’re a community of medical pros, and we work closely with physicians all of the time. Their recommendations and the research they share with us drives what we do as a team. We greatly respect physicians and always recommend patients ask their doctor about ClearFast before using it before surgery. 


    Misconception: “People can just drink water instead. They don’t need to spend money on presurgery drinks.” 

    You now understand that it’s safe to drink before surgery (safer than if you had nothing at all, in fact)—so you immediately think: “Ok, so people can just have water! Why waste money on some product they don’t actually need?” We love water as much as the next parched patient…but the truth is there are a number of benefits you get from a presurgery drink that water just doesn’t provide:


    Reality: Water is great—but, while it hydrates, it doesn’t nourish. 

    We’re not waging a war on water—it’s obviously vital for hydration. But, the main difference between water and presurgery drinks is that presurgery drinks actually nourish you before surgery. ClearFast was specially formulated to, not just hydrate like water can do, but to make for an enhanced recovery after surgery, which water can’t. It includes complex carbs, nutrients and minerals that are vital to tissue function and healing, and electrolytes. You can read all about the ingredients in ClearFast—and how they contribute to a better surgery experience—here


    Psst…one of the biggest benefits of drinking a presurgery drink instead of just water before surgery? It greatly reduces your risk of post-op nausea and vomiting. When you’re given anesthesia meds on an empty stomach, you tend to get sick upon waking from surgery. When you’ve nourished your body with the complex carbs, nutrients, and minerals found in presurgery drinks, however, you’re much less likely to get sick upon waking. Don’t believe us? Check out our ClearFast Amazon reviews and read all about the difference ClearFast has made in patients’ surgery experiences.


    Reality: Enhanced recovery protocols call for a drink that’s rich in complex carbs, which water isn’t.

    Enhanced Recovery After Surgery programs (or ERAS®) are programs borrowed from the UK that luminary hospitals across the U.S. are now implementing. ERAS are all about following different practices (or “pathways”) to ensure your surgery recovery is the best it can be. These programs are comprised of 17 key elements for your doctors to follow—like pre-admission counseling for patients and the use of short-acting anaesthetic agents—which, when combined, work to enhance your recovery after surgery. One of the main elements of these programs is nourishing patients with a clear, complex-carb-rich beverage before surgery for a better recovery experience. Water, then, simply doesn’t cut it when it comes to following ERAS protocols. 


    Overall, more and more modern medical research points to the fact that presurgery drinks make for safer, less stressful procedures and enhanced recovery after surgery. Have a misconception you want an answer to, or simply ready to have ClearFast on-hand for your next procedure? You can order ClearFast here or reach out to the ClearFast team at support@drinkcf.com if you have any questions at all. We’re always here and happy to help!


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