Bananas, rice, applesauce and toast are the four main foods people can eat when following the BRAT diet, states the American Academy of Family Physicians. Patients may also include other bland foods, such as boiled potatoes, clear soup and saltine crackers, in the diet without effect.
The objectives of the BRAT diet are to use bland foods that do not irritate the stomach to ease recovery for adults and children convalescing from stomach aches, vomiting and diarrhea, explains the American Academy of Family Physicians. The reasons for the choice of foods are that they are all low-fiber foods that help to bind stool and that the potassium-rich bananas help to replace nutrients the body loses through sickness. Because of the nature of the foods, the diet also helps to ease the nausea that some expectant women experience.
Despite providing a rest for the gut, the BRAT diet is but a temporary measure as it lacks nutrition and provides very little fiber, fat and proteins to the body when compared to a normal, healthy diet, adds WebMD. Thus, patients, particularly children, should start eating a normal and well-balanced diet that includes fruits, meat, carbohydrates, vegetables and plenty of fluids within 24 hours of the onset of the illness.