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What Are the BRAT and CRAM Gastrointestinal Upset Diets?

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The BRAT and CRAM gastrointestinal diets are often recommended by physicians for gastroenteritis and/or severe diarrhea.

The BRAT acronym stands for Banana, Rice, Applesauce and Toast.

The acronym CRAM stands for Cereals, Rice and Milk.

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When a person suffers from severe dehydration caused by diarrhea and/or vomiting, it is important to replace the loss of body fluids. Years ago, the doctor recommended the BRAT diet for several days until the gastroenteritis cleared up, but now that diet has been replaced by the CRAM diet because it contains more protein and fat than the BRAT diet.

Symptoms of dehydration include but are not limited to: dry mouth, inability to urinate, dark urine, headache, rapid heartbeat, dry skin, flushing, fatigue, fever, chills, extreme thirst, and muscle cramps.

It is also important to start oral rehydration therapy as soon as the vomiting has subsided and the patient can tolerate the fluid intake. It is highly recommended that the patient begin decaffeinated soft drinks, low-acid juices, and soup broths to replace fluid loss. These drinks are usually recommended for 24-48 hours.

Here is a suggested list of foods and drinks to try:

plain oatmeal

rice grain


Semolina porridge


Gelatine (jello)

chicken or beef broth


Decaffeinated Coke


Italian ice cream

Popsicles (fruit juice or root beer flavors)


plain rice



If your symptoms last more than 24 hours or are accompanied by abdominal pain, vomiting blood, blood in your stool, or a fever over 41 degrees, it’s time for you to call your doctor or visit your local hospital or health clinic.

Thanks to Shelly Hill

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