The BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) is an old-school remedy for stomach issues like diarrhea.
It's easy to digest and can help ease symptoms. However, doctors today believe that it isn't the best option for treating these illnesses.
What is a Brat Diet?
The BRAT diet is an acronym for the foods it enables you to consume: bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.
Pediatricians often recommend the BRAT diet for infants experiencing diarrhea. These bland foods can help soothe a sore stomach and make you feel better faster.
Benefits of BRAT Diet
A bland diet like BRAT is designed to help you recover from stomach issues. You can also use the diet in other situations, like after surgeries, where gentle digestion can be beneficial.
In the past, healthcare providers recommended BRAT to help parents manage acute gastroenteritis in infants. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations do not support it.
The BRAT diet is not a good choice for long-term weight loss, as it's nutritionally unbalanced. If you experience nausea, queasiness, diarrhea, or vomiting when using the diet, ask your doctor if the diet may work for you.
What do You Eat on BRAT Diet?
Doctors have different opinions about the BRAT diet, but most agree that you can eat more than just bananas, applesauce, rice, and toast when following this diet.
The key is to eat foods that are gentle on the stomach and stop diarrhea by firming up the stool. Acceptable BRAT diet foods are low in fiber and should act as binding agents to prevent diarrhea.
Other examples of bland foods include:
- cooked cereals such as oatmeal and cream of wheat
- weak tea and flat soda, broth
- boiled potatoes or baked potatoes without salt and butter.
Efficacy of BRAT Diet
Doctors have traditionally recommended the BRAT diet to patients who suffer from diarrhea, but there may be better options.
While it's true that some doctors still recommend the BRAT diet for infants and children, the American Academy of Pediatrics no longer endorses it. That's because the diet is restrictive and doesn't give the body enough protein, micronutrients, or macronutrients for healing.
In addition to being an incomplete diet, there are no clinical trials on the effectiveness of the BRAT diet. Some studies on how foods included in this diet affect diarrhea do exist, though.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends feeding children a balanced diet, not just BRAT foods, to avoid malnutrition. That can help them recover from diarrhea.
If you experience stomach distress and want to try the BRAT diet, talk with your physician.
How to Follow BRAT Diet
The BRAT diet is a great way to help you get better when you're sick. There aren't any strict guidelines on how to follow the diet, but the BRAT diet is often used with children and involves bananas, rice, applesauce, or toast.
You might want to eat these foods when you first start feeling ill so that you don't lose too much fluid from vomiting or diarrhea.
If you're sick, keep drinking fluids till your symptoms abate. The liquids can be ice chips or popsicles, sports drinks, water, or broth. Once you feel better, add clear liquids back into your diet, like water and apple juice.
On Day 2, start the BRAT diet. This diet is easy to follow and can help you feel better quickly. On Day 3, add soft-cooked eggs back to your diet if you feel up to it. If not, stick with BRAT till you’re ready. Don’t worry — you can always go back if you feel too bad.
There’s no solid evidence that the BRAT diet is effective for healing stomach illnesses or allergic reactions. However, it could be worth trying if you want to re-introduce some healthy food groups while you’re waiting to see if your symptoms subside.
The BRAT diet may not be a magical cure, so you should consult your doctor if you experience serious problems with digestion. However, bananas, potatoes, and rice may help provide some nutrients and energy for the body.
Poll : Have you tried the BRAT diet?
Nope; this is new for me.