Avoid certain foods Although experts don’t recommend the BRAT diet as a long-term solution to your upset stomach, you should avoid fried, oily, or spicy foods for a few days. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine can also help. Because BRAT diet foods are low in fiber, protein, and fat, the diet is lacking enough nutrients to help a child’s gastrointestinal tract recover. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that children return to a normal, balanced diet appropriate to their age within 24 hours of the illness.
This diet should include a mix of fruits, vegetables, meat, yogurt, and complex carbohydrates. The rice you eat on the BRAT diet should be white rice, as it is lower in fiber and more stomach-friendly than brown rice. The BRAT diet was often recommended for nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, but is no longer the case due to its restrictive effect. In addition, the report notes that sticking to the BRAT diet for too long (more than a few days) can ultimately lead to malnutrition.
BRAT diet foods are low in fiber, so they can help make your poop firmer, and because they don’t have much fat (or flavor), they’re less likely to trigger nausea. The theory behind the BRAT diet was to give the digestive system a break by consuming easy-to-digest, bland foods that also promoted the formation of solid stools. The BRAT diet focuses on low-fiber foods, so white bread or potato bread is preferred over whole grain bread or high-fiber bread with bran. The BRAT diet is an old-fashioned recommendation for children and adults struggling with diarrhea, but it is extremely restrictive and lacks adequate nutrients.
By focusing on four easy-to-digest foods, the BRAT diet limits fiber intake to reduce the severity of diarrhea and tight bowel movements. In addition to bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, other foods recommended for the BRAT diet include soups made with clear broth (such as chicken or vegetables), apple juice, water, decaf tea, canned peaches and pears, sweet potatoes, crackers, wheat cream, eggs, and gelatin. Foods to avoid on the BRAT diet include dairy products, alcohol, fried foods, pork, salmon, sardines, raw vegetables, citrus fruits such as lemons and limes, tomatoes, extremely hot or cold drinks, coffee, and caffeinated drinks such as lemonade, as well as added sugar and sweets. The BRAT diet, an acronym for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, is a diet developed to treat and support stomach problems in children and adults.
All of these could be signs of a more serious problem, and you shouldn’t try to treat them with a BRAT diet. Sticking to the BRAT diet if you have stomach flu, diarrhea, or nausea can be a helpful way to maintain your strength without making your GI symptoms worse. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics no longer recommends the BRAT diet for kids because it’s so restrictive. Aside from the staples of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, and possibly the other bland foods mentioned, the BRAT diet excludes just about any other food.