What You Should Know About the BRAT Diet

The BRAT diet, short for Bananas, Rice, Apple sauce, and Toast, is a diet for patients with gastrointestinal disorders such as gastroenteritis or diarrhea.There are other variations of the diet which include BRATT that adds tea to the diet and also BRATTY that adds the elements of tea and yogurt. The BRAT diet usually consist of low fiber and often bland foods because it is considered that high fiber food causes gas and therefore causing greater gastrointestinal irritation.

It’s recommended that patients consume plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration in addition to their restrictive dietary plan. No matter what age you are it is important to stay hydrated to replace depleted
electrolytes to reduce the risk of salt imbalance. Sever salt imbalances can result in weakness, comas, and possibly death.

BRAT Diet Nutritional Facts

BRAT Diet Meal

For most patients the BRAT diet is not particularly recommended and according to the American Academy of Pediatrics children should continue with a normal age specific diet. Food groups from the BRAT diet can be added supplementary but not replace foods that can be tolerated.

BRAT diet is typically incomplete in nutritional value and could be lacking fat, protein, fiber, calcium and certain vitamins. Another thing to consider avoiding is carbonated or sugary drinks.

How long to follow the BRAT diet

A well balanced diet is not always best during gastrointestinal episodes. Both adults and children should follow the BRAT diet for only a short period of time because it does not provide all the elements of a healthy diet. Following the BRAT diet for too long can cause your body to become malnourished. This means you are not getting enough of many important nutrients. If your body is malnourished, it will be hard for you to get better.

You should be able to start eating a more regular diet, including fruits and vegetables, within about 24 to 48 hours after vomiting or having diarrhea. Restricting food intake during these periods help to reduce the amount of time of the diarrhea.

When someone is sick and needs diarrhea treatment, begin introducing fluids first before solid foods. Sips of water and Gatorade and similar drinks are good choices. Stay away from citrus juices or milk. Citrus contains acid and can further upset the stomach. Milk causes mucus and is not well tolerated when nausea is present.

BRAT Diet Alternatives

An alternative diet that is being researched is the “CRAM” diet which is cereal, rice, apple sauce, and milk since it may add more complete protein and needed fats into the diet. Other medical professionals advise first aid treatment for gastroenteritis by briefly limiting the diet to bland, easy to digest foods and plenty of liquids.