What is the BRAT diet?
Following a BRAT diet may be helpful for people recovering from a gastrointestinal illness.
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
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 the BRAT diet modifications?
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.
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Some health care professionals suggest a special diet for the gastroenteritis, especially for viral and/or bacterial infections in children. First and foremost is adequate fluid rehydration to prevent dehydration.
The diet frequently suggested is termed the "BRAT" diet. This diet consists of foods that are not usually irritating but soothing for the gastrointestinal tract. The BRAT diet stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. Although some doctors think this diet may not markedly benefit patients, others recommend it for both adults and children for a day or two to make the transition from the resolving symptoms of acute gastroenteritis to the patient's previously normal diet.
What is the BRAT diet used for?
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.
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Medically Reviewed on 10/20/2022
Medically reviewed by Martin E. Zipser, MD; American Board of Surgery
Longo, D.L., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 18th Edition. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2011.