What Is the BRAT Diet?

The BRAT diet is an eating plan for people who are recovering from gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea and vomiting. The acronym stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast.

The foods included in the BRAT diet are easy to digest, so they are usually well-tolerated by people who are recovering from gastrointestinal infections. These foods are also easy on the digestive system because they contain little fiber, protein and fat. The BRAT diet is sometimes used by pregnant women who cannot tolerate other foods because of morning sickness.

This diet was previously recommended for children who were recovering from upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal conditions, but as of 2014, experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics say kids should resume their normal diets within 24 hours of illness. The reason for this policy change is because the BRAT diet is not nutritious enough to help the GI system heal. According to the new recommendation, children should eat a mix of vegetables, meat, whole grains, yogurt and fruits.

Someone following the BRAT diet should avoid greasy foods, citrus fruits, alcohol and dairy products while the GI tract heals. Drinking plenty of water is also important, especially in people who are prone to dehydration.