Is The BRAT Diet Good for You?

– The BRAT diet is often prescribed for adults and children with gastroenteritis which is an infection of the intestines also known as stomach flu. However, the BRAT diet has been criticized for being overly restrictive. In this video, I’m looking
at whether it’s appropriate during recovery from digestive illness or not. BRAT is an acronym for bananas,
rice, applesauce and toast which are the main foods
that make up the diet. It’s prescribed for
both children and adults with stomach flu because
the foods it contains, are bland, easy-to-digest
and it may help with reducing nausea or vomiting and diarrhea. The first mention of the BRAT
diet was nearly a century ago in a 1926 report. The report described the
diet’s use for children with intestinal illness
involving severe diarrhea and dehydration. But despite its why it’s
produced over the past century, there has been very little
research on the BRAT diet to support its efficacy. Foods to Eat and Avoid on the BRAT Diet The BRAT diet only allows
a few foods and liquids although they can be consumed
in unlimited quantities depending on your appetite. So foods allowed on the BRAT
diet: bananas, white rice, applesauce, toast made from
white bread, and soda crackers. Clear liquids including
water, weak tea, broth, juice. Electrolyte-containing
beverages like sports drinks and soda that’s flat and caffeine-free. Foods to Avoid on the BRAT Diet: Meat, fish, poultry, and
eggs, and dairy products. Fruits other than bananas and applesauce. Vegetables, and nuts and seeds. Whole grains, beans and legumes. Beverages that contain caffeine and carbonated beverages. Advantages of the BRAT Diet Although there is no direct evidence supporting the BRAT diet’s
ability to reduce diarrhea, it does appear that
bananas might be helpful. Bananas may act as a binding agent and provide other anti-diarrhea effects. In a study of tube-fed
hospitalized patients, 57% of those who received
banana flakes in their feedings, were diarrhea-free at the
end of the study compared to 24% of patients who received
medical treatment instead. In this study of more than 2,900 children with acute diarrhea, they
found 80% of those who received green bananas, experienced
resolution of diarrhea within three days compared
to 53% of children who did not eat green bananas. It appears green or unripe bananas are particularly effective
at reducing diarrhea. They contain resistant starch
which may help increase the gut’s ability to
reabsorb water and nutrients which can be very beneficial
during episodes of diarrhea. The BRAT diet also only
consists of easy-to-digest foods that are unlikely to irritate
the gut or cause nausea during digestive illness. Disadvantages of the BRAT Diet I guess the main disadvantage
is that it doesn’t provide the appropriate
nutrition that people who are recovering from digestive
illness, actually need. These individuals are already
nutritionally depleted from things like vomiting and diarrhea, and just poor appetite. This is especially concerning for children and the frail elderly, who
are more likely to become malnourished and are at greater
risk of repeated illness than strong, healthy individuals are. The BRAT diet is very low in protein, fat and other nutrients that are
needed for proper healing. In one study, researchers
analyzed the nutritional content of the usual diet of a two-year old versus the nutrition of the BRAT diet. They reported the following:
300 fewer calories on the BRAT diet. They also had 70% less protein and 80% less fat. Now the BRAT diet was also
shown to provide far less than the referenced daily
intake for key nutrients involved in healing. 12% of the RDI for Vitamin A. No Vitamin B12 and 12% for calcium. Although the BRAT diet is
intended to be followed for no longer than two days,
there are many reports of children staying on this
diet for as long as it takes to resolve the diarrhea symptoms. In 1998, researchers reported
the case of two young children who followed the BRAT diet for two weeks and developed severe malnutrition due to insufficient
protein and calorie intake. The nutritional inadequacy
of the BRAT diet has been acknowledged by
many major organizations who now recommend that
children resume a normal, age-appropriate diet within
24 hours of getting sick which includes lean meat,
yogurt, eggs, fruits, and vegetables. Pediatricians and other experts
now believe the BRAT diet is unnecessarily restrictive
for treating digestive illness. For healthy adults,
following it for a few days is unlikely to cause any
problems, but there is no evidence that it will help improve
your symptoms quicker. For children and elderly,
by resuming a proper diet as soon as possible,
is strongly recommended to regain strength, ensure proper healing and prevent any risk of malnutrition. Instead, aim to avoid
foods that worsen diarrhea such as fried or spicy foods. Be sure to have adequate water intake and do eat bananas because they seem to help firm up loose stools. Thanks for watching. Make sure to give this video a thumbs up if you found it informative,
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11 thoughts on “Is The BRAT Diet Good for You?

  1. A) The so-called BRAT diet is for the stomach flu – therefore it is essentially only a short-term thing, if symptoms persist more than 24 hours seek medical help. B) Speaking as a person who has dealt with the ongoing- nausea of chemo: toast and Vegemite/Promite/Marmite (ie a salty spread) would help alleviate the symptoms often long enough for me to get something more nutritious down (eg a vegie soup) and keep it down (at least for a few hours). Also note that women experiencing morning sickness are advised to keep saltines at hand – again the saltiness helps alleviate the nausea at least long enough for the stomach to settle and you are able to eat something more nutritious. These are not ways to east every day of your life, but to get you passed a short/limited term problem until you are able to eat normally once more. If you are NOT able to go back to eating normally something is seriously wrong and you should get immediate medical assistance.

  2. Everyone saying this diet is dumb, is an idiot for not understanding moderation. I've done this diet and felt good, it has illeviated stress on the stomach and intestines allowing them to rest and repair more often/easily. After 2 days I could tell my body lacked protein and fats so I ate yoghurt (don't have milk) and chicken in slight amounts, this helped me regain nutrients that I lacked. As with any illness, you're gonna feel like shit.

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