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Diarrhea, what to feed your kid?

  • Posted on Nov 12, 2019

For decades, doctors have recommended that adults and children suffering from diarrhea resort to the BRAT diet while recovering. BRAT is an acronym for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, a bland diet of easy-to-digest food. Now, doctors have moved away from that recommendation. Why is that and what do they recommend instead?

The AAP, American Academy of Pediatrics, started moving away from the BRAT diet recommendation in the late 1990s, not because the foods weren’t easy to digest, but because they were low in fiber, fat and protein. “What changed is that with more evidence about how children handle the introduction of regular food, it turns out that most children with diarrhea who get regular food do just fine,” Dr. Fuchs explains, noting that the nutritional content of a regular, healthy diet is far superior to that of the BRAT diet. (The AAP affirmed these guidelines in 2016.)

The good news is that the newer recommendation for children with stomach issues is a lot simpler. Instead of sticking to a limited grocery list, children and adults can resume a normal diet once signs of dehydration are abated. “The recommendation is to rehydrate the child with something like Pedialyte,” Dr. Fuchs says. (The AAP notes that you shouldn’t try to substitute homemade salt-and-water solutions.) “Once they’re no longer dehydrated let them eat. If they can tolerate it, they can eat it.”