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Is the BRAT Diet Safe for Children?

The BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast) was once a staple of most pediatricians' recommendations for children with an upset stomach. The idea was that it gave the gut a chance to rest and reduced the amount of stool produced. Experts now say the BRAT diet may not be the best option for children who are ill.

Because BRAT diet foods are low in fiber, protein, and fat, the diet lacks enough nutrition to help a child's gastrointestinal tract recover. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that kids resume eating a normal, well-balanced diet appropriate for their age within 24 hours of getting sick. That diet should include a mix of fruits, vegetables, meat, yogurt, and complex carbohydrates.

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Both children and adults who are ill need to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Water is good, but adding broth, a sports drink, or a rehydration solution can help replace lost electrolytes.

Call your health care provider if you or your child experiences:

  • Diarrhea that lasts for more than three days
  • A temperature of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
  • Reduced urine
  • Lightheadedness
  • No tears or sunken cheeks

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on September 08, 2014

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