What Is the Best Diet for Diarrhea?

Individuals suffering with diarrhea should drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids.
Applesauce is part of the BRAT diet, which is often recommended for people with diarrhea.
Rice is one of the main inclusions of a diet to treat diarrhea.
Foods recommended for the help of diarrhea are gentle on the stomach to avoid further irritation.
Bananas can help bulk up stool in those with diarrhea.
A patient may receive intravenous fluids and nutrients to treat their diarrhea and dehydration.
Yogurt with live cultures can rebuild intestinal flora after diarrhea.
Dairy products can irritate the intestinal lining and should be avoided during periods of diarrhea.
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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 August 2014
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The best diet for diarrhea is generally a simple one made up of liquids and bland foods. Traditionally, the bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast (BRAT) diet is used for diarrhea, assuming there are no other symptoms or that all other gastrointestinal symptoms have stopped. All of these foods are gentle on the stomach and low in fiber, which can make diarrhea worse.

Replenishing fluids which may have been lost due to excessive fluid in the stools is the first step in any diet for diarrhea. This can be done by drinking plenty of water or commercially prepared re-hydration fluids. Sodas and other beverages should be avoided during this time because caffeine has a diuretic effect and has been linked to dehydration.

Those who have severe diarrhea or who are vomiting frequently in combination with loose stools may need to be hydrated using additional means. Herbs or medications may be used to prevent vomiting so that liquids stay down, or water pills can sometimes by inserted rectally. Taking baths can also help because some water absorbs through the pores of the skin. In very severe cases, fluids may need to be given intravenously in a hospital setting.

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Aside from fluid intake, the most common diet for diarrhea combines various bland foods which are easily digested. The BRAT diet is one example of this, although it is not the only one. It is important to remember that any foods given should be low in dietary fiber. Dairy products are also irritating to the intestinal tract, so they should be avoided.

Once the diarrhea has subsided and any other symptoms have gone, foods can slowly be introduced back into the diet. Grains and proteins should come first, followed by harder to digest fibrous fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. If diarrhea returns, discontinue eating the offending food. To determine which foods are causing problems, introduce only one new food back into the diet at a time. Children should stay on the diarrhea diet for a little longer than adults to prevent a recurrence of symptoms.

Most of the time, diarrhea is caused by eating a certain food or by a minor bacteria or viral infection and generally passes quickly. If symptoms persist, or diarrhea is accompanied by chills, body aches, vomiting, nausea, or fever, a doctor should be notified. Small children are especially at risk for dehydration, which can be a serious problem for childrenunder the age of five.

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closerfan12
Post 3

Do you guys know the reasoning behind the BRAT diet? It's actually really interesting. Besides being bland and low in fiber, the pectin in the apple sauce (or juice, if you go that way) can help stop diarrhea.

Another good food to add in if you aren't having nausea with the diarrhea is bananas. The potassium and starch in that can help stop the flow, so to speak, and it can make you feel better too.

And of course, you absolutely have to remember to keep hydrated. Even if you don't feel like drinking anything, just try to suck on some ice cubes or sip on some water, because your body will really suffer if you don't. This is also a big part of the diarrhea diet for toddlers and children as well, especially since they're bodies are smaller and more susceptible to dehydration.

And finally, try to keep your electrolyte balance up too. Non sugary sports drinks are good for this, as are bananas. Just make sure you don't get the ones that are purportedly sports drinks but are really just sodas.

pleats
Post 2

The BRAT diet is absolutely the way to go when you've got abdominal pain and diarrhea. It really works for everybody, so you don't even need to worry about changing to another diarrhea diet for toddlers or children in your household.

A good twist on the apple juice part of the BRAT diet is to freeze a cup of apple juice, and then break it up into little chunks to sip on. This is a good strategy to keep children from gulping the juice down and making themselves sick again, and if you're using it as an adult, it can make you feel better to have something to crunch on.

But yeah, the BRAT is the way to go. That's your best bet for any kind of diarrhea or intestinal distress.

rallenwriter
Post 1

Whenever I get diarrhea, I go straight for the saltine crackers and apple juice. That works better for me than any kind of specialized bland diet for diarrhea, and it's also cheap too.

Whenever I feel a serious case of food poisoning or flu coming on, I run to the store to stock up, because I seriously only live of of that for three to four days.

Although that may sound a little extreme, it really makes your bowel stop going crazy, and it can also settle your stomach really well if you're having nausea too.

I know that it wouldn't really work as a diet for chronic diarrhea since there's not too many nutrients in it, but really, if you only get diarrhea every now and then, then try it out.

You'll know that you're getting better when you start to get hungry after eating a few crackers -- but I usually don't feel like that until after the second day.

Best of luck!

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