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This article has been clinically reviewed by Dr. David Ceres, Professor of Internal Medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
Our stories are reviewed by medical professionals so you can get the most accurate and useful information about your health and wellness. Visit our Medical Review Board for more information.
If you or your child has ever had a stomach virus, you may have heard about—and tried—the BRAT diet. BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, which is believed to be easy on the stomach and help relieve symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea.
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However, this diet has fallen out of favor since it was first introduced and may no longer be the best option. Here’s what you need to know.
The BRAT diet “has been around for a century and was originally developed for pediatricians to reduce the amount of diarrhea that occurs in children with acute intestinal disease,” says David Cutler, MD, a family physician. Providence St. John’s Health Center.
Although this diet was developed primarily for sick children, adults suffering from serious stomach problems can also use it to ease their symptoms. But before you or your child start the BRAT diet, it’s important to know what the symptoms are.
[Diarrhea] has many different causes, and for some, the BRAT diet is definitely not a good idea [like] if they have an infection, if they have an inflammatory disease in their gut, or if they’re on a diet. Cutler says it reacts.
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Important: Cutler warns that if you have bloody stools, a high fever, or severe abdominal pain, there may be something more serious going on. In this case, instead of starting the BRAT diet, you should see a doctor.
Let’s say you’ve ruled out other possible problems, and you’re just dealing with an acute viral intestinal illness like gastroenteritis—like a stomach bug—that clears up in a few days.
To truly recover from stomach worms, experts agree that you need a full spectrum of vitamins, nutrients, proteins, and healthy fats. The BRAT diet provides lower amounts of nutrients such as vitamin C in applesauce and fiber and vitamin B-6 in bananas. But you’ll be deficient in other key nutrients, including protein and healthy fats.
In fact, the BRAT diet is not as popular or supported by doctors as it once was. “Over the years, it’s become clear that many of the nutrients that kids need are lacking,” says Cutler. Therefore, in general, their consumption has disappeared.”
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So, to get the full spectrum of nutrition, you’ll want to resume a regular balanced diet after a day or two of the BRAT diet to regain your health.
Since prolonged diarrhea and vomiting can cause dehydration, the most important thing is to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
“The best way to treat diarrhea is to simply replace the fluid you lose through diarrhea,” says Cutler.
Drink plenty of water and consider rehydration solutions with low-sugar alternatives such as G2 or Pedialyte that contain fluids and electrolytes. Avoid high-sugar drinks like regular Gatorade or Powerade because sugar can actually make diarrhea worse. Simple soups or broths are also good choices that are soothing and hydrating.
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“Most experts now recommend that people avoid foods that can aggravate diarrhea and eat a healthy diet high in fiber, protein, and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats,” Cutler says.
In addition to sugary drinks, other foods that can upset your stomach and increase your symptoms include dairy, fatty foods, and foods high in insoluble fiber, such as beans, nuts, and leafy greens.
The BRAT diet can help in the short term, but it’s more important to stay hydrated and avoid junk food while you’re trying to recover.
In general, the BRAT diet should not be used in children or adults for more than a few days.
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Ashley Lederer is a New York-based freelance writer specializing in health and wellness. Follow him on Twitter @ashladere. You’ve tried several diets in the past, but when a close family member said they had great success on the low-carb, high-fat keto diet, you thought you’d give it a try. A shot, too, for all its benefits, one thing he forgot to mention was a major drawback—diarrhea. But, despite all the discomfort and all the running to the bathroom, the keto diet works, although it can be a little messy.
First used by the Mayo Clinic in the 1920s to control seizures, the keto diet has since been beneficial in many ways beyond weight loss, including:
The keto (short for ketogenic) diet has many health benefits, including weight loss, reduced risk of obesity, and more.
The keto (short for ketogenic) diet is about eating more healthy fats and less carbs. When you eat carbohydrates—ice cream, bread, rice, potatoes, corn, candy, whole fruits, etc.—your body stores fluids to store the carbohydrates to use as energy. But when you decrease your carbohydrate intake and increase your fat intake, the body is forced to use fat as its primary energy source instead of carbohydrate glucose. If only fat is available for use as fuel, your body will convert fat into fatty acids and then into ketones (hence the keto diet). These ketones are then used to fuel your body’s cells. Fat and protein keep you fuller than carbs, which reduces overall calorie intake.
The Brat Diet: What Foods To Eat On An Upset Stomach
And while a close family member might be able to handle a 60-75 percent increase in calories from healthy fats, your body might break down and end up with diarrhea.
As it turns out, diarrhea is not uncommon on the keto diet. As with any major dietary change, it will take a few days for your body to adjust. But, you may ask, if you get all your vitamins from food, why do you need supplements? Because the keto diet alone is not enough to maintain optimal production of minerals such as magnesium, potassium and calcium. And since you may not be eating many of the same foods you did before the diet, supplements can add specific nutrients you may be missing while reducing the bothersome effects of diarrhea.
People new to keto may experience flu-like symptoms known as the “keto flu.” This is another name for “carb flu”.
All these symptoms are associated with the inability to digest certain foods, increased fat consumption and “carbohydrate withdrawal”. Fortunately, your symptoms will subside as soon as you notice the crusting subsides, which usually happens in about 7 to 10 days.
How To Safely Treat Diarrhea
During the keto diet, if the diet is not properly balanced (too much unhealthy fats and dairy), a person may experience digestive problems, including diarrhea.
The goal of the keto diet is to achieve ketosis. However, it requires a commitment that is often difficult to maintain from day to day. MCT (Medium Chain Triglyceride) Oil Gel is for keto dieters who want to increase energy and stamina, naturally suppress appetite, and improve digestion and nutrients. They want to balance attraction. The extra support you get from our MCT Oil Softgels will go a long way toward making your keto diet a success.
To help supplement your daily fat intake with healthy sources of fat, MCT oil softgels are easy to take and make sure you’re following the keto diet the right way.
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We use exogenous beta hydroxybutyrate (BHB) in our ketone capsules and powders because the body uses BHB more effectively than other ketones. BHB capsules and powders can help you reach and maintain ketosis faster. In addition, it can cross the blood-brain barrier and deliver 70% of it to your brain
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