Fasting guidelines for adults

What can I eat and drink the night before and day of my procedure/surgery?

If you are getting any anesthesia, you need to follow these instructions.

8 hours before your procedure

Unless told differently by your doctor, do not eat food for 8 hours before your procedure (even food or formula given through a feeding tube).

6 hours before your procedure

Do not drink non-clear fluids, such as milk, hot chocolate, or coffee or tea with milk, cream, or nondairy creamer.

Up to 2 hours before your procedure

  • You may drink clear fluids if your doctor approves. Clear fluids are:
    • Apple or white grape juice (not orange juice)
    • Black coffee
    • Carbonated drinks, such as cola, ginger ale, Sprite®
    • Clear, fat-free broth
    • Clear tea
    • Sports drinks, such as Gatorade®
    • Water
  • Remember:
    • Clear fluids cannot be hazy or cloudy. They cannot have pulp or fats.
    • No milk, creamer, or lemon added to any drinks.
    • No alcohol.
    • Do not swallow gum, mints, or candy.

2 hours or less before your procedure

  • Do not take anything by mouth if possible. If you must take prescribed medicines, take them with 1 ounce of water.
  • Your stomach must be empty for your procedure. We do not want food from your stomach to get into your lungs. Your procedure will be delayed if you do not or cannot follow these instructions.
Last reviewed: 
September 2020

Interested in using our health content?