BRAT Diet What is it Used For

Most of us do experience diarrhea sometimes, whichever causes it.  The BRAT diet is gentle on your digestive system. Meals to be taken for nausea, vomiting and diarrhea should consist of foods that are bland and also gentle on the stomach.

If you’re; re-experiencing such symptoms, it may be hard for you to hold food and some foods you take may worsen the symptoms. For many years this diet below has been a remedy for people who experience such symptoms. 

The BRAT diet has been a recommendation for people experiencing nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. But it’s not as common today as it was, because it was restrictive in some nutrients.

What is BRAT Diet

BRAT is an acronym that stands for Bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.

The diet consists of bland, low fiber foods and it is recommended for treating stomach issues, digestive illness, and diarrhea The diet was recommended by pediatricians in the past to treat stomach problems in children.

They were easy to digest and could ease the stomach issues and reduce the amount of stool that was produced. You may feel better faster if you stick with this diet after dealing with nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Although, it’s not as recommended today, since many experts believe that this diet may not be the best option for treating stomach issues.

What can I eat on a BRAT diet?

The main thing is to eat bland foods that are soft on the stomach. It is argued that the bland diet and BRAT diet are different, but many doctors would agree that you can eat more than just bananas applesauce rice, and toast.

There are also some accepted foods to eat on the BRAT diet which are considered to be “binding foods” as they are low in fiber and may stop diarrhea by firming up your stool.

The BRAT foods consist of: 

Bananas: They are easy to digest and have high potassium contents. They are also rich in amylase-resistant starch which is known to stop diarrhea quickly. 

White rice improves the rate of rehydration and decreases the length of illness. Boil rice till it’s soft enough, for it to be gentle on the stomach. 

Applesauce. Apples are one of the most popular fruits we can find anywhere. They are low in fiber and this makes a stool firmer. Raw apple fruits may be hard to digest so it’s best to make applesauce from them.  

Steps to make an applesauce

  1. Peel and slice the apple into smaller chunks. 
  2. Place in a pot and add 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. 
  3. Bring to boil on high heat and allow to simmer for 30 min until apples are soft
  4. You can use potatoes mash or you can use a blender to make it smoother. 
  5. Add a teaspoon of sugar.

Toast: This is very easy to digest, and contain low fiber, which will help firm your stool. You can spread jam if your stomach can take it but you should avoid butter as they are high in fat, and could be hard on your stomach. 

Examples of food that can be included are:

  • crackers
  • cooked cereals, like cream of wheat or oatmeal
  • weak tea
  • boiled or baked potatoes
  • apple juice or flat soda
  • broth

What to avoid on the brat diet?

Avoid foods that are non-bland which may include

  • Anything fried, fatty, spicy, or greasy.
  • proteins, such as steak, pork, salmon, and sardines should be avoided
  • milk and dairy but yogurts and kefir are ok
  • raw veggies, including salad greens, carrot sticks, broccoli
  • acidic fruits, such as berries, grapes, oranges, lemons, and limes
  • very hot or cold drinks should be avoided
  • alcohol, coffee, or drinks that may contain caffeine

How to follow the diet

There is little research based on how to follow the diet, but here is a 3-day plan. 

On day one, Inside the first 6 hours of experiencing such an illness, you should skip food for a while to give your stomach a rest. You have to wait until the vomiting and diarrhea have stopped. 

Why waiting, try to sip water or sports drinks to help replace water and electrolytes that were lost during the illness. Add clear water to your diet and if the symptoms return, stop drinking the clear liquids and wait for some hours before trying again. 

On the second day, you should start following the BRAT diet. The diet is only a short-term diet and is helpful for short durations. So, you are not expected to stay on the diet for longer since it’s not very nutritious and limiting. 

On the third day, if you feel like, you can start adding back the normal foods to your diet again. It’s best to start with soft foods still like cooked fruits and vegetables and white meat like chicken and turkey with cooked eggs.

 

What is the diet used for?

The diet is designed mainly to help you recover from stomach issues. But the diet can also be useful for situations like after surgery, where gentle digestion would be needed.

It was also recommended by health care providers to help parents manage acute gastroenteritis in infants. But that was the past and currently, now, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend using it. 

It’s important to know that the BRAT diet should not be used as a weight-loss diet plan. Since it’s lacking some nutritional value that makes it suitable for long-term use. If you’re experiencing nausea or diarrhea or vomiting, it’s best to ask your doctor if you could try the diet before trying it out.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids should resume eating normal well- balanced diet meals that are appropriate for their age within 24 hours of getting sick. The meal

should consist of mixed fruits and vegetables with yogurt and complex carbohydrates. Is important to know that we should drink plenty of fluids when we are ill to prevent dehydration. You can also add Broth, sports drinks, or any rehydration solution which can replace lost electrolytes.

The diet may have been recommended by doctors in the past. But currently, with recent studies, it has been found that it may not be the best option. AAP no longer recommends it to children or infants. IT’s a restrictive diet and doesn’t give the body enough nutrients like protein and some micronutrients and macronutrients for healing. Limitations or restrictions in the diet may cause more harm than good. We should resume our normal balanced diet meal as soon as possible for us to prevent malnutrition. There may be no clinical trials on the diet but studies show that food which are included in the diet does have some impact on diarrhea and nausea problems. 

If you don’t feel better after trying the diet for 24 hours, it’s best to go see the doctor. Also, try to see the doctor if you’re experiencing frequent or severe diarrhea. A more serious medical condition may be responsible for your illness.

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