Sounding like a fad diet straight from Hollywood, this diet was actually developed to help with various types of gastrointestinal problems such as with gastroenteritis, diarrhea, and dyspepsia. Historically prescribed to patients with the above problems, this diet basically consists of bland foods that are low in fibre – the low fibre is recommended as foods high in fibre can cause excess gas and worsen the gastrointestinal problems.
Remember this diet was designed to suit specific stomach conditions and not as a weight loss program.
What does BRAT, BRATT or BRATTY mean?
BRAT is a acronym for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. BRATT is for bananas, rice, applesauce toast and tea. BRATTY stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, tea and yogurt. These are the foods recommended to prevent a increase in gastrointestinal problems and can in some cases cure them.
Eat a few bananas. Bananas are a bland fruit that can be constipating, a good thing for diarrhea.
Eat some rice. Rice is bland and well tolerated and likely to not cause nausea.
Eat applesauce. The creamy consistency of applesauce goes down easily, and contains pectin which assists in the stopping of diarrhea.
Eat a few slices of toast. Almost everyone likes toast, and with a bit of apple jelly, it adds needed calories for the patient.
Drink plenty of black tea to help with hydration.
Provides good cultures/bacteria that are lost during bouts of diarrhea and vomiting.
It is recommended that all patients with gastroenteritis or diarrhea that are on the above diet increase their fluid intake regardless of age. Oral re-hydration solutions should be taken in conjunction with the extra fluids to prevent dehydration as severe diarrhea depletes a persons electrolytes which can cause a severe salt imbalance thus resulting in confusion, weakness, coma or even death. Avoid carbonated beverages, sugary or processed fruit drinks and gelatin based foods.
An important point to remember while on this diet is that it is not comprehensive and lacks in vital foods such as protein. So although the diet is helping with your intestinal problems the body still needs protein and it is recommended that you also consume some lean meat like turkey or indulge in some tofu. A good multi vitamin tablet taken daily, will also help at this time.
In these modern times this diet is no longer recommended by pediatricians, they recommend the child stays on its normal diet and the BRAT diet is given in addition to their normal tolerated foods. Studies have shown that a well balanced diet should be maintained while having diarrhea and by incorporating some of the BRAT foods like applesauce (due to its pectin) it can reduce the severity.
Medical attention is needed if the diarrhea is still severe after 3 or 4 days of being on the BRAT diet and if blood or mucus is present in the stool.