BRAT Diet – Is It Really Necessary?

BRAT diet

was once a major suggestion that doctors gave to overcome gastrointestinal distress. Especially in pediatrics, this was the preferred diet that was to be given to kids suffering from diarrhea.

BRAT (B-bananas, R-rice, A-apple sauce, R-rice)

diet is known to cause mild constipation thus, alleviating diarrhea.

But doctors today, are no longer suggesting this diet. Why is it so?
Bananas Rice Apple Sauce Toast

BRAT Diet-Why is it Being Avoided?:

The reason why doctors suggested this diet to people suffering from diarrhea or indigestion was due to the low fiber that these foods possessed. Foods other than the ones in the prescribed diet (tea and yogurt excluded) were often discouraged until the condition got any better.

  • But, things are different now. The American Academy of Pediatrics now advises to continue normal diet that fits the age. As a matter of fact, doctors now ask patients to only have this diet as an add-on rather than a supplement.
  • If this is the case with children, even adults who suffer from diarrhea due to graft-versus-host disease (a complication of bone marrow transplant)are also advised to avoid BRAT as a diet as it could lead to long-term nutritional problems.
  • The reason for the nutritional problems is because this particular diet lacks in calcium, vitamins, protein, fat, energy and fiber.

The Advantages of a BRAT Diet:

Although it is not being recommended now, this dietary supplement comes with its own advantages. In people suffering from diarrhea, the cells in the intestine that help absorb nutrients are damaged. This can make it difficult to digest proteins and fats.

  • During this time, the best way to provide body with the required energy is through intravenous electrolytes and a

    BRAT diet

    . While the electrolytes would substitute for the lost salts, the diet consisting of bananas, rice, apple sauce and toast would provide carbohydrates.

  • Another advantage is that the diet can be used to check if the condition still persists or has improved.


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