Diarrhea is basically a condition in which food passes quickly through the body with limited time in the colon. Due to the reduced time for the body to properly digest the food, it results to watery, loose stools. An individual can experience diarrhea at any point in life. The common causes include food allergies, antibiotics, food-borne illnesses, as well as stress or stomach virus.
In case of severe diarrhea, dehydration can develop and the individual will notice dark colored urine, weight loss, dry mouth and lips as well as increased thirst. Until the symptoms are properly controlled, a clear liquid diet is usually recommended in order to reduce gastrointestinal irritation as well as cut down the amount of diarrhea. By enrolling in a course on first aid, you can manage the condition.
Foods to be included
You have to combine small, regular fluid meals when the clear liquid diet is started. It is best to start with 3-4 meals and steadily increase as long as tolerated by the individual. Always keep liquids within reach so that the individual can easily sip on them. Even though it might be a challenge to comply with the calorie and protein goals with this type of diet, the hydration will improve with the steady intake.
Suitable foods include broth, flavored water, decaffeinated coffee or tea, gelatin, clear sports drink and ice pops. Supplements that are lactose-free and low in residue can also be included if allowed by the doctor. You can also combine liquid protein sources with clear beverages to increase the protein intake.
What are the foods to avoid?
There are certain foods that can irritate the stomach when on the clear liquid diet. The first on the list is caffeine which is a well-known stomach irritant. It is best to opt for decaffeinated drinks instead. Take note that apple juice should also be ingested with care since it can contribute to an upset stomach and gas depending on the tolerance of the individual.
Carbonated soda with sugar can also contribute to diarrhea and indigestion. Milk should also be avoided until the diet of the individual progresses and when diarrhea is controlled.
Supplementation of vitamins and minerals
It is also best to consult a doctor regarding liquid multivitamins due to the limited amount of food allowed during a clear liquid diet. The multivitamin can be taken alone or combined with another clear liquid.
Some electrolytes are already added to clear sports drink. Additionally, if the doctor recommends lactose-free, low-residue supplements, you have to check the label since some supplements already contain vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, thiamine and zinc.
Progression of the diet
The individual can steadily return to a regular, healthy diet as the diarrhea starts to improve. Once liquids can be properly tolerated, foods that are bland such as toast, rice, applesauce, plain soups and mashed potatoes can be added to the diet. If dairy products do not trigger indigestion, yogurt with probiotics is recommended to support healthy bacteria growth in the intestines.