What Is BRAT Diet & How Does It Help Your Stomach Health?

BRAT diet for Tummy right

BRAT diet or banana, rice, applesauce, toast diet is a common staple diet recommendation of pediatricians which is generally given to children and infants with upset stomachs.

The main aim of this diet was to provide a period of rest to the stomach and bowel movement of the gut during times of excess feces excretion and stool passage.

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This is a sort of simple diet which is aimed at making sure that the stomach and gut have time to rest and regain its normal functioning during ailments of diarrhea and nausea especially.

BRAT diet consists of simple and bland tasting foods. These food items are supposed to make the stomach feel at ease. Having a BRAT diet during vomiting, diarrhea or nausea is so that you may feel better faster.

Benefits Of BRAT Diet

BRAT diet overall is the simple consumption of bland food to return bowl movement and upset stomach to normalcy.

Having a BRAT diet during such times is beneficial in the following ways:

Firm stool:

During metabolic problems like diarrhea and food poisoning, the stool excreted by patients tends to become loose and quite runny. This causes dehydration and mineral loss in the body.

By indulging in a BRAT diet, you consume food items that are starchy and have a high amount of fiber in them. This helps in the binding and making the loose and runny feces firm.

Soothing for the stomach:

Normally, proteins and fats are difficult for the stomach to digest and process.

It takes a longer and more amount of effort for the gut to completely process food products that are rich in proteins and fats.

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BRAT diets being composed of food items that are low in fats and proteins cause the stomach to face a significantly low amount of strain and irritation.

The digestive system of the body is put under lower amounts of stress also.

Absence of nausea:  

Being extremely simple and bland in nature, BRAT diets have shown to decrease the tendency of nausea.

The consumables have a low smell and do not possess any strong tastes that can make the patient nauseous.

Foods To Eat During BRAT Diet

BRAT diet
BRAT diet

BRAT diets are characterized by their bland and tasteless nature. Still, those who wish to continue having a BRAT diet can have an array of food items that they can enjoy while strictly adhering to the diet.

Saltine biscuits/crackers:

Eating slightly salty and light biscuits or crackers is completely fine if you are in the midst of a BRAT diet.

The light and flaky aspect of the condiment is suitable for going easy on your digestive track makes a wonderful snack for your afternoon tea also.

Clear soup:

A picture of clear soup
Clear soup

Similar to the cracker, having clear soup is another way to mix up your BRAT diet. It is important to know that the soup should not contain other solid vegetables or meat items for that would become heavy for your stomach.

Steamed, baked, grilled meat:

If you feel that you are missing out on your protein, you can help yourself to simple chicken which is steamed or grilled or baked. Avoiding fried meat products are very important and also to avoid the skin and fat of the meat when preparing.

Light fluids:

Diarrhea can lead to acute dehydration. It is important to drink lots of fluids and stay hydrated. In a BRAT diet, water, weak tea, apple juice and clear broths are the best way to make up for the lost liquids.

The basic idea of the BRAT diet is the consumption of simple boiled and light food items to make it easy for your stomach to digest them as it recovers.

Avoiding oily and heavy foods that are rich and spicy is key when it comes to having a successful BRAT diet.

BASIC Diet Guidelines

If you are wondering how to go about a BRAT diet for nausea or diarrhea, them here is a simple diet plan which you can easily follow and incorporate to your temporary lifestyle.

Generally this diet is started after a few instances of vomiting or acute diarrhea. Immediately after vomiting, it is recommended to give some time for the stomach to recalibrate itself.

If the patient exhibits signs of discomfort or simply to ease the stomach in general, the patient can suck on a hard candy or lollipop.

It should be noted that the candy should not be chewed or bitten off chunks should not be ingested directly. After an hour or two, it can be progressed to small chips of ice or minute sips of water if nausea continues to show.

For the first 24 hours or one day, slowly incorporating clear liquids and water is advised if vomiting has stopped. A good way to begin is to have the patient have one or two sips of water every 10 minutes.

If nausea and vomiting again return, again a period of rest for an hour or two is recommended with occasional sips of water.

Here, sips of water, clear broth, apple juice flat sod or even weak tea is acceptable. Any form of light liquid is allowed for consumption.

For the second day, you can slowly begin to add simple and bland food items to the patient’s diet. Foods like banana, rice, applesauce, toast are the basic tenants of the BRAT diet. Other simple food items that can be added are cooked cereals, jelly and clear broths.

Slowly incorporating theses in the diet with careful moderation will help the stomach gradually regain its strength and get accustomed to the normal digestive functioning.

Day three on the BRAT diet consists of progression to regular food. This time, add slightly more robust foods to the diet of the patient. Cooked vegetables, fruits and soft cooked eggs are a good way to go about this. You can even add boiled or grilled chicken is the signs of nausea have stopped for a considerable amount of time.

Disadvantages Of BRAT

The biggest and most prominent disadvantage of a BRAT diet is that does not provide the required nutrients that are required by people who are recovering from illness need.

When it comes to vomiting and diarrhea, the patient has already lost a lot of nutrients which need to be replenished.

Also, suffering from nausea and such ailments causes the patient to have a poor appetite so he or she naturally consumes less food which leads to an even greater nutrient and mineral deficiency.

Children and elderly people are far more prone to develop malnutrition in such cases. BRAT diets are focused around low protein and fat and often another nutrient which is necessary for the proper healing and immunity of the body.
Studies have found that a BRAT diet given to a two-year-old infant who suffered from vomiting and nausea did not get the Reference Daily Intake or RDI of nutrients. The child was found to be lacking in the nutrient which would have helped him I healing his systems and overall fitness.

The general span of time for the application of a BRST diet is normally for two days. Though, it has been often observed that the diet has been in application for longer durations of time until the problems of diarrhea and vomiting were resolved. This extended tenure for the diet can cause damage to the functioning and processing of minerals and vitamins by the body in the future.

The most common effect of prolonged indulgence in a BRAT diet is the development of malnutrition and deterioration in bodily strength and metabolism.

Health institutions who have researched the effects of prolonged use of BRAT diet recommend returning to the normal diet in hours of cessation of the symptoms.

Foods To Avoid In A BRAT Diet

Just as a BRAT diet is beneficial as an immediate treatment for the cases of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, there are some food products and items that should be strictly avoided.

Consuming these food items during a BRAT diet would render its effects useless can would continue the discomfort and ailment that is plaguing the patient. Here are some food items and products that should be actively avoided in a BRAT diet:

1. Sugar:

Food products that are high in sugar content have been known to worsen the symptoms of nausea and diarrhea.

In a BRAT diet for diarrhea, the foods provided are low is naturally low in sugar and extra sugar materials are also avoided.

2. Alcohol:

Alcohol is a type of diuretic that has been known to cause dehydration. Also. Consumption of alcohol causes discomfort and irritation to the stomach and gut.

This aggravates the pre-existing irritation and dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea.

3. Fired foods:

Fried foods
Fried foods

Fried foods are rich and spicy in nature and are very difficult to digest. In a pre-weakened state of excessive diarrhea, the consumption of such food only makes matters worse.

4. Caffeine:

Caffeinated drinks like coffee and soft drinks can act as a mild diuretic which is preferred to be avoided when following a BRAT diet.

5. Heavy proteins:

Protein is very difficult to digest and cause added stress on the functioning of the stomach and digestive system. It causes even more discomfort especially if the meat has a high-fat content.

6. Milk and dairy products:

Milk and dairy products like cheese, ice cream and even normal cream can cause difficulty in digestion.

Just as having the right food is important for a proper BRAT diet, avoiding the food items that are harmful to you in your weakened state is crucial for a quick recovery.  

When To Seek Professional Medical Attention

Taking up a BRAT diet for vomiting and nausea is an appropriate step for immediate treatment. Generally after beginning this diet, the symptoms do subside and finally are cured. Still certain signs must be noted which indicate that professional medical care and suggestion is required.

One should always and without any recitation consult a doctor if diarrhea symptoms continue to persist for more than 2 days after starting with a BRAT diet.

Often accompanied with such ailments, patients can have a fever or body temperature of a staggering 102 degree Fahrenheit. Is this does not show any signs of lowering then medical attention is advisable in that situation.

Due to the excessive passage of stool, the rectal area may suffer from cuts and bruising which can cause bleeding from the rectum and also lead to groin pain. Rather than waiting for natural remedies, consulting a doctor is the best course of action that can be taken.

BRAT diet for nausea and diarrhea can cause temporary relief and help in the recovery of the patient. It must be understood that it by itself is not a cure for extreme loose motion or vomiting. It is merely one of the many ways in which a patient can assist his or her recovery.

In more recent time, the following of BRAT diet is not as much recommended or prescribed as it was a few years back. Albeit, those who have rectal problems, especially with the functioning of the stomach and movement of the bowls, BRAT diet is a safe and viable method to try out if your first response is self-recovery.

When following a BRAT diet, having a partner who will monitor and regulate and also make appropriate changes to the application of the diet can prove advantageous.

If you are the one who is suffering from excessive vomiting or diarrhea, you might not have the mental energy or clarity to make the proper decision when it comes to formulating a BRAT diet. In such cases having a family member, friend or just another able-bodied and trustworthy person around you would prove highly beneficial.

The most common mistake people make when it comes to a BRAT diet is that after they have followed through the diet strictly, often they forget to return to a normal diet and replenish the lost nutrients.

BRAT diet solely focuses on the relief of the stomach. A BRAT diet is one which simply provides a relief to the stomach and the rectal area after extreme and over functioning.

By providing this relief, the body is denied many minerals and vitamins which it requires for its recovery. Adding on to that is the fact that the body has already lost a lot of nutrients from forcefully expelling bolus in the form of vomit and loose feces.

This leaves the body highly prone to malnutrition and mineral deficiency. Not having a proper meal and diet consisting of all the necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients can cause long-term damage to the body.

Another mistake that people tend to make is that even after being cured of nausea and diarrhea like conditions, people continue to follow their BRAT diet I the fear of relapse. Doing this throws the bodily systems out of balance and cause harm to the human system.

To sum it up, BRAT diet for nausea is a diet that benefits if don correctly. Helping the stomach get a break from being overused, this diet can help in the recovery of a patient. Simple bland foods that do not have a strong smell or taste are best for this diet.

Similarly, light and simple liquids like plain water, weak tea and apple juice is suggested to be taken in frequent periods of time to make up for lost water and avoid de-hydration. A BRAT diet should be carried out for 2 to 3 days at most after first cessation of vomiting and diarrhea symptoms.

Having a professional medical doctor’s opinion and prescription should always be the first course of action regardless of the severity of the symptoms. If the doctor approves of the follow-up of s BRAT diet then it can be considered the safest.

Depending on the severity and extremity of the patient’s condition, changes can be made to the BRAT diet to suit the needs of the patient and his or her symptoms.

With recent medical breakthroughs and development, many methods have been stated for the homely treatment of cases of nausea vomiting and diarrhea. BRAT diet is a slightly out dated method but its effectiveness is still trustworthy. Many medical pediatricians do recommend BRAT diets even today for its simplicity and natural remedy.

BRAT diet is a diet which not only is simple in nature but can be followed and taken up by all members of society. From young infants to adults and even to the elderly, brat diets are universally beneficial.

The only drawback in that on the cases of children and elderly, brat diet can lead to the development of malnutrition of it is not monitored carefully and a follow-up diet is not initiated.

Knowing how a BRAT diet will affect the patient in what manner helps is improving the productivity of the diet. Medicinal supplements and drugs can also be taken along side this diet.

In accordance to your RAT diet, medicines as prescribed by your doctor can also help you recover much faster without putting extra strain on your stomach. By combing the two, you can boost the effectiveness of the diet overall which will benefit you when it comes to the recovery from vomiting and excess diarrhea.


4 thoughts on “What Is BRAT Diet & How Does It Help Your Stomach Health?

  1. Sandra says:

    Hey, thanks for a wonderful article. I am looking to lose weight and I am thinking of going for the brat diet you mentioned here. I noticed you mentioned something about consulting a doctor if one sees the symptoms of diarrhea. It is a great thing you said that. Thank you.

  2. Sandra says:

    Hey, thanks for this great article. I actually read through twice because I so much enjoyed it. I am looking to lose weight and I’ve read so many blog posts, but never seemed to make up my mind. I like that you mention consulting a doctor if one should notice diarrhea. That’s a great point. Thanks!

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