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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Diet and Fitness Diet therapy in diarrhea

Diet therapy in diarrhea

Diarrhea is one of the most common child illnesses, and it is associated with nearly 1 in 10 of all hospital admissions of children younger than 5 years of age. Although both diarrhea and gastroenteritis in children can safely be managed at home, through proper dietary and nutritional care, always contact your doctor or health care provider in the case of infants.

Main Objectives of dietary treatment:

  • To meet the nutritional requirements
  • To replenish water and electrolyte losses
  • To provide extra nutrients to compensate for losses.

Dietary treatment:

  • Energy: Energy requirements are increased 10-20% to meet the losses and to overcome weakness.
    Protein: Protein intake is increased by about 40-50%.
  • Carbohydrates: Carbohydrate intake should be increased to meet the increased energy requirement.
  • Fiber: A high fiber diet needs to be avoided.
  • Fats: Fats cannot be completely digested in case of diarrhea so a reduced intake of fat is advisable.  Emulsified fats like butter and whole milk may be given as they are easily digested.
  • Minerals: iron and calcium rich foods should be given as their absorption gets lowered during diarrhea. Due to excessive loss of fluids, minerals like sodium and potassium are lost. To replenish this loss and to prevent dehydration oral rehydration therapy is advised. It is as simple as a mixture of salt and sugar in water. Other light fluids like tender coconut water, light soups, buttermilk can also be given.


  • Diet should be soft, bland, and low in fiber.
  • Avoid high residue foods and fat.
  • Patient should drink plenty of fluids and eat at frequent intervals.
  • Small and frequent meals are advised. Food plan can be broken to 6-8 meals a day.