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16 Dec '17

Is there a special diet when my baby has diarrhea?

Posted by Sandra Sosa

Diarrhea is one of the most frequent diseases on babies and small children; and even when its treatment is simple, based only on oral rehydration therapy (more than 80% of cases); there's many myths about anti-diarrhea diets and especial food regimens for children suffering diarrhea.

Even when certain conditions such as food induced diarrhea (because of intolerance to a particular food component -i.e. lactose-) require special diets; that's not the fact on most of cases; moreover; up to 80% of diarrhea cases are related to self-limited viral infections requiring only oral rehydration therapy without any complementary treatment, neither a special diet.

On many cultures there's a lot of "special food" for diarrhea; from white rice to green bananas; all of them with the supposed property to stop diarrhea; however different clinical studies have been conducted and all of them conclude that diet does not influence diarrhea evolution, unless the cause of the diseases is a food intolerance (as it was mentioned above).

There's no effective anti-diarrhea food

So, according to current knowledge, no special diet is required, especially on acute diarrheas (those lasting less than one week); instead oral rehydration therapy must be implemented as soon as possible.

Regarding alimentation; normal diet must be followed. Of course it won't be an easy task because of appetite loss (hyporexia) due to diarrhea itself; so small food portions given more frequently may be helpful.

The type of food to provide during a diarrhea episode will depend of child's age; so small babies must continue breastfeeding (if that's their regular feeding way) or receiving formula; while bigger children must try to continue with their regular diets, including food from all nutritional groups (a balanced diet).

There's no other special indication regarding diet; just be patient and try to deal with hyporexia being creative and presenting your kids colorful, creative food plates in order to encourage them to eat regardless appetite lost.

Forget about anti-diarrhea diets because there's no evidence to support special food regimens during diarrhea. Just keep your child hydrated and keep a regular food schedule, meanwhile find medical advice to identify the cause and include complimentary treatments if required.


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