What Is the BRAT Diet? 


Posted By Author on September 21, 2022


Bumps, bruises, and sniffles are common for children, with parents always at the ready with a bandage and a comforting hug. But more serious symptoms are highly concerning, especially when children are very young. 

Indigestion, nausea, and diarrhea may require a trip to the pediatrician. For years, the BRAT Diet was recommended to ease the strain on the gut and reduce the amount of stool produced. 

BRAT stands for:

  • Bananas
  • Rice
  • Applesauce 
  • Toast 

Today, many parents wonder if the BRAT diet is safe, or if a new approach to alleviating symptoms is best. While the BRAT diet will not do any harm for short periods, it lacks necessary nutrients – and has since been amended to include more variety.

Here at Charleston GI, our gastroenterologists have provided more details about BRAT diet, so read on!

Is the BRAT Diet Safe?

Consisting of select low-fiber foods, the BRAT diet was created to relieve symptoms often associated with food poisoning, the stomach flu, indigestion, and more. While it is safe for a limited time, our GI specialists do not recommend sticking to the BRAT diet for extended periods.

Bananas, rice, toast, and applesauce, because of their low fiber content, help to make your stools firmer. In addition to being gentle on the stomach, bananas can help replace nutrients like potassium that are lost through diarrhea or vomiting.

Parents often ask about the BRAT diet for kids. Here’s what you need to know: The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that children resume eating a normal, age-appropriate diet within 24 hours of getting sick. Drinking plenty of fluids is also recommended. Water is a great option, but sports drinks are encouraged in order to replace electrolytes. 

Foods to Focus On

In addition to the four foods included in the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast), our GI specialists now recommend the following:

  • Soft fruits: bananas, applesauce, avocado, pumpkin, canned fruit (packed in water, NOT syrup), and melons
  • Steamed or boiled vegetables: carrots, green beans, potatoes, and squash 
  • Low-fiber starches: white bread, white rice, saltine crackers, cream of wheat, instant oatmeal, and noodles
  • Unseasoned skinless baked chicken or turkey
  • Scrambled eggs 
  • Yogurt 
  • Clear liquids: water, bone broth, clear fruit juice, Pedialyte, sports drinks and ginger ale 

It is best to allow your stomach to rest for about six hours after vomiting or diarrhea. Once that time has passed, progress from drinking small sips of water to consuming clear liquids. You can then continue slowly adding the BRAT diet alternatives listed above. Over-the-counter antidiarrheal medications are not recommended unless you are specifically instructed by your GI doctor. 

Foods to Avoid 

Because these foods can worsen symptoms like diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, it is best to avoid them. Stay away from the following:

  • Milk and dairy products
  • Fried, fatty, or greasy foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Processed foods
  • Pork and veal
  • Raw veggies
  • Onions
  • Corn
  • Fruits (citrus, pineapples, cherries, seeded berries, etc.)
  • Alcohol 
  • Coffee, soda, and other caffeinated or carbonated beverages

Because diarrhea and vomiting can result in dehydration and lack of nutrients, if severe symptoms persist, visit the emergency room as soon as possible. If symptoms remain manageable, however, just schedule an appointment with a board certified gastroenterologist at Charleston GI – no referral needed!

Visit Your Trusted Gastroenterologist at Charleston GI today! 

If your digestive issues have you feeling less than your best, Charleston GI can help! Our team of healthcare professionals is dedicated to providing the care you need – and to helping you feel better fast.

If you’re looking for a gastroenterologist near you, we have four offices throughout the Charleston, SC area to make care more convenient. Come see us in Summerville, Mount Pleasant, or West Ashley today! There’s no referral needed! 

Whether you’re experiencing stomach, intestinal or digestive issues, our medical team strives to provide relief – along with the best possible gastroenterology experience! Our medical team specializes in the following conditions:

  • Chronic Pancreatitis
  • Acute Pancreatitis
  • Constipation 
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Diarrhea 
  • Diverticulitis 
  • Reflux Disease
  • Hemorrhoids 
  • Hepatitis
  • Irritable bowel 
  • Ulcerative Colitis 

Get in touch to schedule your appointment today!