The BRAT diet is designed to help heal those with gastrointestinal issues. The foods included in the BRAT diet are gentle enough for delicate digestive systems and can help get everything back on track after you've been ill. Because the diet is not very nutritionally balanced, you should follow it for only a very limited time before moving on to more substantial fare.
The BRAT diet helps ease your body back into a normal diet after you've been sick, especially after an illness involving an upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea. It is appropriate only for adults and children who are no longer actively vomiting. Before that point, stick to clear liquids.
The four components of the BRAT diet are bananas, white rice, unsweetened applesauce and dry toast. You also can take weak hot tea, which can be soothing to upset stomachs.
Rice is a binding food that can help you form solid stools. It's easy to digest and, because it's high in carbohydrates, it provides energy and aids recovery. Stick to plain white rice when you're on the BRAT diet. Brown rice and wild rice are more difficult to digest, and rice with rich additives like butter or oil can be too hard on an upset stomach.
You should start the BRAT diet as soon as your symptoms taper off. Stick to the eating plan for 24 to 48 hours, then start adding in items such as crackers, clear soups, mashed potatoes and fruit. Staying on the diet any longer than two days is likely to make your system weaker.
If your symptoms last for longer than 24 hours, visit a doctor. You might require medical intervention to restore your hydration and electrolyte levels. Though all the foods on the BRAT diet are relatively mild, you might want to go easy on the applesauce, particularly if you've had diarrhea. Eating too much at once can cause a relapse.
- "Eating Positive"; Jeffrey T. Huber and Kris Riddlesperger; 1998
- "Diet Management Guide"; Rajiv Sharma; 2007
- FamilyDoctor: BRAT Diet