BRAT Diet and Its Effectiveness

BRAT Diet and Its Effectiveness

Bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast (BRAT) are bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. Pediatricians used to promote the BRAT diet to youngsters who had stomach problems. The theory is that by eating bland, easy-to-digest foods, you can lessen the amount of stool you generate and alleviate the symptoms of gastrointestinal issues. However, experts now believe that the BRAT diet isn't the most significant way to address stomach problems. This article delves into the science behind the BRAT diet and its efficacy in healing stomach ailments.


The BRAT diet comprises plain, low-fibre foods and is frequently prescribed for stomach problems, digestive problems, and diarrhoea. For infants with diarrhoea, paediatricians have traditionally suggested the BRAT diet. What are the comparations and variances between these foods? They're all bland and designed to be easy to digest. After coping with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea, adhering to them may help you feel better quicker. However, while the BRAT diet can be beneficial for short periods, there are hazards to eating a diet so low in dietary fibre, protein, and fat over a longer length of time.

What Can You Consume on a BRAT DIET?

A plain diet, according to some physicians, is not the same as the BRAT diet. However, most people believe that the BRAT diet allows you to eat more bananas, applesauce, rice, and toast. The goal is to consume plain, soothing foods that will not upset your stomach. In addition, the BRAT diet allows you to eat items that are termed binding foods, which are low in fibre and may help you prevent diarrhoea by shoring up your stool. The following dishes are also bland:

  • crackers
  • cereals that have been cooked, such as oatmeal or cream of wheat
  • weak tea
  • potatoes, boiling or baked
  • apple juice or flat soda
  • broth

On this diet, people should stop items that aren't bland. They are as follows:

  • Dairy and milk
  • fried, greasy, fatty, or spicy foods
  • steak, pork, salmon, and sardines are examples of proteins
  • salad greens, carrot sticks, broccoli, and cauliflower are examples of raw vegetables
  • Berries, grapes, oranges, lemons, and limes are acidic fruits
  • drinks that are extremely hot or chilly
  • alcoholic beverages, coffee, and other caffeinated beverages

How to follow the BRAT diet

There are few research-backed directions on following the BRAT diet strictly. However, there are suggestions for a 3-day schedule. You might wish to avoid eating for the first 6 hours of your illness. Give your stomach a break, and don't consume anything until the vomiting and diarrhoea have ended. Try eating popsicles or ice chips and drink water or sports drinks while you wait to eat. This will aid in the replacement of water and electrolytes that have been lost due to your illness. Within the first 24 hours after your condition, try to reintroduce clear liquids like water, apple juice, and vegetable or chicken broth to your diet. Stop drinking clear drinks and wait a few hours before trying again if your symptoms return.

Begin following the BRAT diet on day two. You won't want to continue this diet for much longer than is necessary because it is restrictive and deficient in nutrients. However, if you feel up to it, you can begin gradually reintroducing normal foods into your diet on day three after your illness. Soft-boiled eggs, cooked fruits and vegetables, and white meat, such as chicken or turkey, are good places to start. The greatest vital thing is to pay attention to your body. Your symptoms may reappear if you overeat a variety too quickly.

When Should You Use the BRAT DIET?

A plain diet, such as the BRAT diet, is intended to aid in the recovery of stomach problems. People can also utilize the diet in other instances where slow digestion is beneficial, such as after surgery. Previously, healthcare experts advised the BRAT diet to help parents manage their infants' acute gastroenteritis. Existing American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations, on the other hand, are against it. In addition, the BRAT diet is not recommended for long-term weight loss since it is nutritionally deficient. Ask your doctor if the BRAT diet can help you if you're having nausea, sickness, diarrhoea, or vomiting.

Effectiveness of BRAT Diet

Doctors have suggested the BRAT diet in the past. However, it is not always a superb option. Despite the anecdotal evidence, research on the BRAT diet's usefulness is lacking. After years of support, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) no longer recommends this diet for children and newborns. The diet is restrictive and does not include enough protein, micronutrients, or macronutrients for the body to repair. Although there are no clinical trials on the BRAT diet, some studies have shown how foods in the BRAT diet affect diarrhoea.

Bananas, for instance, contain pectin, a type of carbohydrate that is beneficial to the digestive system. Bananas also contain potassium, which aids in water and electrolyte absorption. According to a comprehensive review published in 2019, the Green banana pulp can help youngsters with diarrhoea and constipation. In addition, rice soup was beneficial in treating severe diarrhoea in children in a 2016 study. While these findings are encouraging, they cannot be used to decide whether a bland-only diet is beneficial and safe for addressing gastrointestinal problems.

The BRAT diet's restrictions may cause a lot of problems. Researchers discovered that two weeks on the BRAT diet might cause severe malnutrition in youngsters and other medical difficulties, according to an old study. This was an extreme situation, and the investigation is no longer valid. However, no follow-up studies have looked into the BRAT diet's effectiveness.

The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that children be fed a complete diet as soon as they are well and that newborns be nursed or given full-strength formula. The BRAT diet is probably better for adults and children than eating nothing at all. It's simply not a long-term answer. Even if your diarrhoea lingers, the goal is to return to a regular diet as quickly as possible to avoid malnutrition. More recent research is needed to see if the BRAT diet is viable for persons suffering from gastrointestinal issues. Consult to your doctor if you're having stomach problems and wish to attempt the BRAT diet.

When Should You Seek Assistance

Make an appointment with a doctor if you do not feel better after 24 hours on the BRAT diet. For example, if you've had regular or severe diarrhoea, you should consult a doctor. Your symptoms could be an indication of viral gastroenteritis, which doesn't usually require medical attention. There are, however, other illnesses that produce comparable symptoms and necessitate medical attention. Your symptoms could, for example, be caused by:

  • a parasite
  • bacteria
  • some medications
  • intolerances to certain foods
  • additional concerns that may necessitate medical attention right now

Even if you think you only have a stomach illness, you should see a doctor if your diarrhoea lasts more than two days or you feel dehydrated. Dehydration can cause the following symptoms:

  •  the dry mouth
  • thirst
  • decreased urination frequency
  • weariness, weakness, or dizziness

If you experience severe stomach or rectal pain, bloody or black faeces, or a temperature over 102°F, consult your doctor. If vomiting or diarrhoea lasts more than one day in tiny children or babies, you should contact their doctor.

Last But Not Least

The BRAT diet isn't validated by science, but it might be an excellent way to ease back into intake a wider variety of foods following a stomach sickness. After suffering gastrointestinal difficulties, you may be concerned about eating again, but dehydration is the more serious risk. Dehydration can be fatal if left untreated. So drink plenty of water and begin introducing foods as soon as you're able. Though the BRAT diet hasn't been proven to help you recover faster, bananas, potatoes, and cooked grains like rice or oatmeal may. Eat a varied, balanced meal as soon as you're able to recover your general nutrition and energy levels.