Study: Diet Doesn't Cure Travel Diarrhea

Monday, August 9th 2004, 10:20 am
By: News On 6

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) _ If you come home from your vacation with a case of ``Montezuma's revenge,'' a bland diet may not help.

A study of college students taking antibiotics for traveler's diarrhea showed that those who restricted their diet to broth and bland foods did not get better any faster than those who ate whatever they wanted, according to an article in the Aug. 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, a medical journal.

Travelers' diarrhea usually comes from a bacterial infection caused by eating contaminated food. Patients are often told to eat clear liquids and simple carbohydrates, like crackers, toast, Jell-O, rice, bananas and baked chicken, while avoiding dairy products and spicy or fatty foods.

University of Texas researchers compared two groups of 105 college students visiting Guadalajara, Mexico, who were taking antibiotics for diarrhea. One group stuck to the bland diet, and the other was given no restrictions, although both groups were advised to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. The results showed no real benefit to the bland food.

However, researchers note that the study subjects were all young and in good health. The bland diet recommendation might still be advisable for other types of patients, especially if they do not take antibiotics to treat the diarrhea, according to Dr. Charles Ericsson, lead author of the study and Head of Clinical Infectious Diseases at University of Texas Houston Medical School.

Clinical Infectious Diseases is published by the Alexandria, Va.-based Infectious Diseases Society of America. For more information, visit