Quick guide to BRAT diet

BRAT diet consists of bland, low fiber foods that are often prescribed to treat stomach issues, digestive illnesses, and diarrhea. BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. Long ago, physicians commonly prescribed it, but because it is unnecessarily restrictive, it is no longer generally recommended.

brat diet

What is BRAT Diet?

BRAT diets consist of bland, low fiber foods and are often recommended as treatment for stomach issues, digestive illnesses, and diarrhea. Doctors have traditionally prescribed the BRAT diet for diarrheal infants. What are the commonalities among these foods? Each of them is bland and can be eaten easily. You may feel better faster if you stick to them after dealing with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The BRAT diet may be beneficial for short periods of time, but following a diet so low in fiber, protein, and fat for an extended period of time can have unintended consequences.

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What is included in it?

BRAT diet foods include bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, crackers, and chicken broth, which are low in fiber and gentle to the stomach. The following foods can also be included:

  • Cooked cereals, like oatmeal or cream of wheat
  • Weak tea
  • Apple juice or flat soda
  • Boiled or baked potatoes

Foods that are “non bland” should be avoided on this diet. Among them are:

  • Dairy products
  • Anything fried, greasy, fatty, or spicy
  • Proteins, such as steak, pork, salmon, and sardines
  • Raw veggies, including salad greens, carrot sticks, broccoli, and cauliflower
  • Acidic fruits, such as berries, grapes, oranges, lemons, and limes
  • Very hot or cold drinks
  • Alcohol, coffee, or other drinks containing caffeine
What is brat diet

How to follow BRAT diet plan?

How to follow brat diet

Guidelines for the BRAT diet are limited, but recommendations for a 3-day plan do exist. You might want to skip food completely for the first 6 hours after becoming ill. Rest your stomach and wait to eat until vomiting and diarrhea are gone. Try sucking on popsicles or ice chips and drinking water or sports drinks as you wait to eat. This will help replace electrolytes and water you lost during your illness.

Within 24 hours after your illness, add clear liquids to your diet – such as water, apple juice, and vegetable or chicken broth. If you experience symptoms again, stop drinking clear liquids and wait a couple hours before trying again. Start the BRAT diet on day two. Diets like this are not very nourishing and can be very restrictive, so you won’t want to take them long-term. When you feel well enough, you can start slowly adding normal foods back into your diet on day three following your illness. Start with foods such as soft-cooked eggs, fruits and vegetables, and white meat, such as chicken or turkey. Following your body’s cues is important. Your symptoms may return if you eat too much variety too soon.

When you can take BRAT diet?

In order to recover from stomach problems, you should follow a bland diet like the BRAT diet. In other circumstances, like after surgery, when gentle digestion is beneficial, people can also use the diet. To help parents manage acute gastroenteritis in infants, healthcare providers have recommended the BRAT diet in the past. However, the current American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines do not support it. Diets like BRAT aren’t recommended for weight loss, as they are nutritionally deficient. When you suffer from nausea, queasiness, diarrhea, or vomiting, ask your doctor if the BRAT diet can help.

Cases in which you should practice caution with the BRAT diet:

You should consult your doctor if you don’t improve after 24 hours on the BRAT diet or if your infant has vomiting or diarrhea for 1 day. In such circumstances you should practice caution with the BRAT diet. It is important to consult a doctor if your diarrhea:

  • Persists for more than two days
  • Is accompanied by temperatures of at least 102oF
  • Is on a regular, recurring, or severe basis
  • Accompanied by rectal bleeding

In addition, people should seek medical attention when they exhibit symptoms of dehydration, which include:

  • Decreased urine output
  • Mouth dryness
  • Thirst
  • lightheadedness, dizziness, or weakness

Infants and children should be taken to the doctor if they experience vomiting or diarrhea for more than 24 hours, are unable to cry, have sunken cheeks, or exhibit any of the symptoms above.

Is it diet best to treat stomach issue:

There have been no recent clinical trials examining whether the BRAT diet is an effective treatment for diarrhea or gastrointestinal illness, despite the BRAT diet being recommended for decades. The diet may help some people with their symptoms, but doctors do not recommend it. Another, nutritionally balanced eating plan may improve recovery and reduce symptoms even more. Some researchers, however, have investigated the potential role of bananas and rice in treating diarrhea. Pectin, a starch present in bananas, is beneficial for the digestive system.  Study results from 2016 showed that rice soup could be effective in treating diarrhea in children who took it along with an oral rehydration solution. Despite this, the possible effects of individual foods on diarrhea do not provide a clear picture of how eating a diet that just contains those foods can affect the body. Deficits in certain nutrients can exacerbate diarrhea.

Is It Safe to Use it?

BRAT is unlikely to cause significant harm when followed for a limited period of time, but long-term use of the diet should be avoided. Using the BRAT diet for long periods of time may cause malnutrition and low energy since it contains too few calories and not enough of these nutrients:

  • protein
  • fat
  • fiber
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin B-12
  • Calcium

The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend that children with diarrhea use the BRAT diet due to its risks and restrictions. Although a child who normally eats these foods with other foods can continue eating them along with them if these foods are part of the child’s diet.

Sample BRAT diet plan

Following is the sample diet plan for BRAT Diet:

MealTimeFoods To Eat
Breakfast7:00 – 8:00 amSandwich of Banana and toast 2 Toast2 bananas ½ Bowl of yogurt
Snack10:30 – 11:30 am1 cup Apple juice ½ bowl Vegetable Salad
Lunch12:30 – 1: 30 pm1 bowl rice ½ cup chicken
Super4:00 – 5:00 pmCrackers ½ bowl oatmeal
Dinner7:00 – 8:00 pm1 bowl boiled rice ½ cup vegetable curry

Final Words:

Hence, BRAT diet consists of bland, low fiber foods that are often prescribed to treat stomach issues, digestive illnesses, and diarrhea. BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. Long ago, physicians commonly prescribed it, but because it is unnecessarily restrictive, it is no longer generally recommended.

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