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  Nutrition Management in Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea: Frequent passage of liquid stools or loose stools is called diarrhoea. This causes dehydration. Due to dehydration there will be excessive loss of electrolytes and water. Most of the times diarrhea is a symptom of several diseases. Acute diarrhea can be of short time where as chronic diarrhea may affect for long time.Diarrhoea is caused due to several reasons which include food intolerance, viral infections, bacterial infections, intestinal diseases and parasitic infections.

Calories: Energy requirements are increased around 10 to 20% to overcome weakness and to meet the losses. Intake of carbohydrates should be increased to meet energy requirements. Low residue foods to be given to patients. Cereal starches are good.

Protein: Protein intake should be increased. It is essential to build up body tissue and replace tissue breakdown.

Vitamins: Due to losses in diarrhea vitamin B group should be increased. As fat soluble vitamin A is impaired, good amount of vitamin A should be provided.

Minerals: Calcium and iron rich foods should be provided. As there is low absorption of calcium and iron, they form insoluble salts with free fatty acids. Zinc for infants and young children with acute diarrhea reduces duration and severity of diarrhea. Initially sodium requirement is increased; subsequently it is reduced as high sodium intake may raise a blood sodium level which is dangerous.

Fats: As fats are not properly digested due to increase motility of intestines intake of fats should be restricted.

Fluids: Fluids that provide both glucose and sodium help maximize the body’s absorption of fluids and electrolytes.

Dietary guidelines:

  • Oral rehydration salt and sugar solution should be given frequently.
  • Semi solid foods to be included in diet.
  • Diet should be easy to digest and should be low in fats and low in fiber.
  • Drink adequate amount of water.
  • Fluids like barley water, butter milk, cereal water, whey water, coconut water and weak tea can be given.
  • Drink good and fresh water.
  • Curd or yogurt contain helpful bacteria and can help control diarrhea in some cases.
  • Bread, biscuits, chapatti can be started as patient progresses.
  • Good choices for mild diarrhea include diluted fruit juices, soups, buttermilk, dhal water, sports drinks and caffeine free beverages.
  • People who can tolerate solid foods a liberal amount of foods with soluble fiber can control diarrhea. Temporarily insoluble fibers should be avoided.


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