BRAT diet (1989)

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Fri Jul 2 16:01:07 UTC 2004

In a message dated Wed, 30 Jun 2004 23:09:53 -0400, LISTSERV at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
(pseudonym for Barry Popik) writes:

>  The Cutting Edge
>  Doctors Stumble on The Essence of Brat
>  Victor Cohn     208 words    17 January 1989   The Washington Post
>  (Copyright 1989)
>  One of the most common prescriptions for infant diarrhea is the "BRAT"
> bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. But there's a lot of confusion about
> among parents and physicians alike, according to a report in Pediatric News.
>  Dr. Thomas Self of the University of California at San Diego asked 100
> pediatricians and family doctors who said they prescribed the diet
> what BRAT stood for. He asked them face-to-face, so they couldn't look it
> "A very high percentage," he said, "really didn't know what the letters
> for, with answers ranging from B stands for bratwurst to T stands for tea."
>  Most, he added, also said it should be used for "a week or so," a vague
> recommendation that leads some parents to put an infant on this spare fare
> for days or weeks every time there's a loose bowel. The possible results:
> worse diarrhea and, worse still, serious undernutrition.
>  Self told physicians: Know all about the patient before prescribing the
>  Use it for no more than two to five days, with careful supervision. Keep
> track of the number of times it has been used.

My wife, who is a registered nurse, has used the expression "BRAT diet"
(meaning bananas, rice, appleSAUCE, and toast) for as long as I have known her,
which would be 1979.  She says she does not remember when she first heard the
term; it may have been from her mother.  I checked some of her old nursing texts;
the term does not appear in them.

    - James A. Landau

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