What is The BRAT Diet?

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what is the brat diet

It is quite common for people to suffer from an upset stomach and turn away from delicious foods. This is the stomach flu (gastrointestinal infection) we’re talking about which attacks all age groups. While there are medications and treatments that are offered to people who have stomach flu, nausea, and diarrhea, 9 out of 10 doctors will recommend to change the diet and start to eat foods that are light such as Bland diet. Here’s where the BRAT diet comes into play.

What Is The BRAT Diet?

The BRAT diet was first mentioned in 1926. The diet was recommended to children and people who had severe diarrhea and vomiting issues. However, it is still popular today as it is quite effective in recovering an ill stomach. The BRAT diet is a diet that people can digest easily since it focuses on giving the stomach some rest by offering foods or (Bland Diet) that are low on fiber, fats as well as protein so that less amount of stool is passed.

BRAT stands for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. The entire BRAT diet is about eating these 4 foods until the digestive illness recovers. All in all, the BRAT diet is about having bland diet or foods that can be easily digested so that the stomach is kept lighter and the person can recover faster from an illness like vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, stomach issues etc.

However, it should be noted that this diet is not to be followed for long-term because it is not nutrient rich. The diet should be followed for 48 hours only or as recommended by your doctor. 

Which Foods To Eat In The BRAT Diet?

To recover from an upset stomach, you need to follow particular brat diet foods that help you out not only in healing but also in making you able to fight with weakness. More or less, you can eat bananas, toast, and rice, which is a perfect brat diet for diarrhea. The main reason behind the brat diet foods is that it is gentle on your stomach.

You can also consider brat diet foods as binding foods, which means they are low in fiber may help you in stopping your diarrhea by making your stool solid.

Brat Diet for Diarrhea/Brat Diet for Adults

Other than the banana, toast, and rice some other foods are also available in the list of brat diet foods. It includes;

  • Broth
  • Crackers
  • Oatmeal, cream of wheat, cooked cereals
  • Apple juice
  • Flat soda
  • Cooked cereals such as oatmeal. Cream of wheat can also be eaten.
  • Light tea.
  • White rice.
  • Potatoes (boiled only).
  • Clear liquids such as water, juice, beverages which contain electrolytes and are also caffeine free such as such as sports drinks, soda etc.
  • White bread toast.

Which Foods To Avoid In The BRAT Diet?

There is another list of foods, which are not included in the brat diet. Such as;

  • Fried, greasy, fatty, or anything spicy
  •  Raw veggies, which include carrot sticks, cauliflower, salad greens, cauliflower, and broccoli
  • Proteins, such as steak, salmon, sardines, and pork
  • Too hot or cold drinks
  • Alcohol, or caffeine-containing beverages or foods
  • Fruits included orange, apple, tomato, and pineapple
  • Dairy products, milk etc.
  • Protein containing foods like salmon, steak, pork, sardines etc.
  • Raw vegetables such as green salads, broccoli, carrot sticks and.
  • Fruits should also be avoided (grapefruit, pineapple, orange, apple, and tomato).
  • Caffeine-containing drinks such as coffee.

The Right Way To Follow The BRAT Diet

You should ideally follow the diet as per your doctor’s instructions, however, if you are not happy with it, then you may follow this diet plan:

First 6 hours: Once the symptoms have started (vomiting, nausea, diarrhea etc), you need to stop taking any all kinds of foods and even liquids for 2 hours. This is important because keeping your stomach empty for two will make it easier for your stomach to recuperate.

After that, start sipping water or sports drinks so as to recover the number of electrolytes you have lost. You can also have a hard candy but make sure not to chew it yet.

Day 1 - First 24 hours: The most important thing during stomach illness is to keep yourself well hydrated. Hence, keep drinking water every 10 minutes or so. Not just water, you can start other liquids too such as broth, light tea, apple juice.

Day 2: Now start including foods into your diet such as bananas, toast, crackers, applesauce, and rice.

Day 3: Since the diet isn’t much nutritious, you need to include a variety of bland diet such as soft-cooked eggs, white meat, sherbet, stewed fruits etc. These foods are easy to digest and won’t pressurize your stomach. Moreover, they will help a great deal until you recover. The key is to add bland diet variety a bit late because if you start eating foods right away, the symptoms may return.

The most important thing is to avoid dehydration in the body and to do so. This can be done by consuming a good amount of liquids.

Benefits Of The BRAT Diet

Prevents Nausea: Since this diet is lighter and doesn’t affect the gut, the feeling of nausea is eliminated during digestive illness.

Anti-Diarrhea Effects: The BRAT diet emphasizes eating bananas because it is said to have anti-diarrheal effects. This is because bananas can easily be passed through a digestive tract which is weak. Moreover, bananas are an excellent choice since they are rich in vitamins and potassium, especially green bananas, as per this study.

Firm Stools: Since the diet restricts from eating foods that are rich in fiber, firmer stools are passed with no issues.

Lighter Stomach: A lighter stomach makes people feel better quickly and also speed up the recovery process.

BRAT Diet Recipes

There are no fancy dishes in this diet, but let’s have a look at some basic ones:

Banana Bread 

Ingredients:

  • 5 tbsp. of Malt-O-Meal.
  • ½ cup water
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar free vanilla syrup
  • Half banana 

Method:

  • Take a microwavable bowl and add Malt-O-Meal and cinnamon in it.
  • Take a container and heat water in it for a minute.
  • Pour the heated water in the bowl, add vanilla syrup and stir.
  • Put the bowl in the microwave for a minute.
  • Take it out from the microwave and smash half a banana into the mixture and allow it to cool.

How Soon Can You See The Results?

The results of a bland diet depend upon the severity of your digestive illness. Doctors recommend following this diet for 1 to 3 days only because it lacks nutrients. 

Efficacy of Brat Diet Foods

Brat diet for diarrhea has been recommended for years, but it is not the ultimate solution of diarrhea. Brat diet for adults has some specific criteria, but the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) no longer suggest the brat diet for infants or children. It is because the brat diet foods are limited and you cannot get enough protein, micronutrients, and calcium needed for healing. Well, there have been studies on the effects of brat diet foods on diarrhea.

Banana is a part of the brat diet for diarrhea, and it has definite starch which is known as pectin and also good for the digestive tract. The pectin helps in absorbing water and electrolytes as well.

Brat diet for adults and children is better than eating nothing at all. However, it must not be used as a long term solution.

The Verdict

What is The BRAT diet? It is the first choice that comes to mind when you have an upset stomach. It is easy to digest, therefore, speeds up the stomach recovery process. However, the Brat diet is not ideal for kids because they need nutrition more than adults and the BRAT diet lacks nutrients.

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