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BRAT Diet for Digestion Disorders

The BRAT diet is commonly used as a short term dietary treatment for digestion disorders, such as diarrhea, gastroenteritis and some incidences of food poisoning. The name BRAT is an acronym for: Bananas - Rice - Applesauce - Toast. Although an oral rehydration solution or other liquids are usually given to the patient immediately the diarrhea or gastroenteritis starts (to prevent dehydration), a BRAT diet is usually administered after about 24 hours, once vomiting has stopped and they are able to eat.

BRAT Diet: Bland Foods Low in Fiber

BRAT diet foods are used because they are a combination of bland, low dietary fiber foods which provide energy without gastric irritation.

BRAT Diet: How It Works

The bananas provide potassium, a vital mineral for controlling the body's fluid balance - while boiled rice and toast provide low-fiber carbohydrate that doesn't irritate the bowel. The applesauce supposedly has a cleansing effect on the digestive system. Some alternative BRAT diet foods include: vegetable or fruit juices (except prune juice) cooked cereals, crackers and pasta.

BRAT Diet: Fluids Needed

Due to severe fluid loss which characterises both diarrhea and gastroenteritis, the BRAT diet is accompanied by oral rehydration therapy (ORT) through the administration of liquids (eg. caffeine-free soda, juice) or food-based fluids (such as broth or gruels), to prevent dehydration.

BRAT Diet Management Tool

Even though no clinical trials have been conducted to assess its effectiveness, the BRAT diet is a traditional dietary-management tool used in many pediatric practices in the United States. That said, the BRAT diet is merely a short term holding measure (approx 24-36 hours), rather than a specific diet plan. Generally speaking, the sooner the affected patient is able to resume more normal eating and full nutritional intake, the better.

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