The BRAT diet

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Steven Doerr, MD
    Steven Doerr, MD

    Steven Doerr, MD

    Steven Doerr, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Doerr received his undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He graduated with his Medical Degree from the University Of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado in 1998 and completed his residency training in Emergency Medicine from Denver Health Medical Center in Denver, Colorado in 2002, where he also served as Chief Resident.

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What is the BRAT diet?

The BRAT diet is one type of bland diet that doctors sometimes recommended for people who are recovering from a gastrointestinal infection. BRAT is an acronym that stands for

  • Bananas
  • Rice
  • Applesauce
  • Toast

The BRAT diet is based upon the fact that these foods are easy to digest and are well tolerated by most people. The BRAT diet is not a weight loss regimen and is not intended to be used over the long term. It is low in protein, fat, and fiber so it is not ideal from a nutritional standpoint for long term use. The low-fiber nature of the diet can help make loose stools firmer, and the bananas provide a needed source of potassium.

What are modifications of the BRAT diet?

Popular modifications of the BRAT diet are sometimes recommended. These modified versions of the BRAT diet include the BRATY diet, which adds yogurt to the list of foods, and the BRATT diet, which adds tea.

When is the BRAT diet recommended?

The BRAT diet may be recommended for recovery from gastroenteritis or other causes of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach upset. It also helps some women who are suffering from morning sickness during pregnancy.

The BRAT diet was formerly recommended for children recovering from stomach upset, but the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that children resume a normal diet within 24 hours of becoming sick. The BRAT diet is not considered to contain enough nutrients for optimal recovery.

Of course, while following the BRAT diet or when recovering from any illness, it is important to drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration. Supplementing water intake with a sports drink or an electrolyte drink such as Pedialyte can help replace lost electrolytes as well as fluids.

While recovering from a gastrointestinal illness and transitioning back to a normal diet, it's also recommended to avoid fatty and greasy foods, raw fruits and vegetables, alcohol, dairy products, and citrus fruits.

Medically reviewed by Martin E. Zipser, MD; American Board of Surgery

REFERENCE:

Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 18th edition.
United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2011.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/18/2015

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