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What Are the Potential Benefits of a Bland Diet?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 05 December 2016
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A bland diet may have many potential benefits if a person suffers from stomach problems frequently, but most doctors do not prescribe any specific bland diet for patients or children. Many people find that refraining from spicy foods can help reduce heartburn, ulcers, and nausea. Some people find that recovery from stomach symptoms is aided by consuming bland, low-fiber foods like bananas, toast, and applesauce. Even so, every person's body is unique and some people may not benefit from a bland diet at all.

Potentially, adhering to a bland diet that is nutritionally complete can fully alleviate symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux. Avoidance of specific trigger foods may make a person's diet more bland overall, but usually these disorders are triggered not by foods that are flavorful, but by those that are spicy and greasy. Blandness of food does not always equate to easy digestion, but this restriction can make it easier to determine which foods are less likely to cause problems.

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For isolated uses of this diet, the potential benefits are a faster recovery time and a reduction in nausea and pain. Generally, it is thought that only eating foods that are bland gives the stomach time to recover, although some medical professionals have challenged this claim. It is certainly true that eating this type of diet gives people the feeling that they are getting better, whether this is due to the placebo effect or not. When even the thought of eating makes a person nauseous, consuming toast or rice can be a great way to start settling the stomach.

Most people who take on a bland diet are attempting to alleviate the symptoms of an illness rather than adopt the diet permanently. This type of diet can be very effective when it comes to minimizing irritation due to certain health conditions and recovering from pain, but it is important to continue to get all needed nutrition. The kinds of food once associated with a bland diet, including the elements of the traditional BRAT and CRAM diets, do not provide needed nutrition for very long and are therefore potentially dangerous. It is usually best, therefore, to eat a diet that does not cause agitation but is less restrictive than traditional bland diets.

Given that all bodies are different, coming up with a long-term bland diet can be an experimental process. When the goal of the diet is to stop eating foods that irritate the body, one must isolate which foods are actually causing the problems. A perfectly tailored bland diet has the potential to completely stop negative stomach symptoms and greatly improve quality of life.

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Mor
Post 3

@pastanaga - I think the problem with a bland diet must be that they develop other problems though. Because once you cut out fruits and vegetables you're also cutting out your vitamins and minerals and the same goes for meat and so forth.

That's not even mentioning fiber which would be the most urgent short term deficiency, particularly if the person is already having problems with their digestion.

This is why I wouldn't self-prescribe a bland diet as a treatment for digestive complaints. If your complain is caused by a lack of vitamins or lack of fiber then you're just going to make your problem worse by cutting those things out of your regular diet.

pastanaga
Post 2

@croydon - It might have been a bad ulcer or something like that. One of my friends had a problem where she developed a huge ulcer due to stress (and drinking) during college and she was told to go right back to the very blandest foods possible.

It was probably very good for her since it forced her to stop drinking so much and to cut stress out of her life. But I know she didn't like the bland diet.

croydon
Post 1

I was at a wedding once and sat next to a girl who was on a bland diet that had been prescribed by a doctor. She had had terrible stomach issues although I can't remember what caused them, but it meant that she had to strip right back to just eating the very blandest food, like rice and broth for a few weeks.

I just felt really sorry for her because the food at the wedding was lovely, and it must have been very difficult to keep to only the most ordinary parts of it. I would not have had so much self control if I was her. I would have definitely snacked on some of the desserts.

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