Because of the beneficial intestinal effects of dietary fibers, we have evaluated the therapeutic effects of green banana or pectin in children with persistent diarrhea.
In a double-blind trial, 62 boys, age 5-12 months, were randomly given a rice-based diet containing either 250 g/L of cooked green banana (n = 22) or 4 g/kg pectin (n = 19) or the rice-diet alone (control, n = 21), providing 54 kcal/dL daily for 7 days. Stool weight and consistency, frequency of vomiting and purging, and duration of illness were measured.
Most children (60%) had no pathogens isolated from stools, 17% had rotavirus, 5% Vibrio cholerae, 4% Salmonella group B, and 11% had enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli infections. By day 3 posttreatment, significantly (P < 0.001) more children recovered from diarrhea receiving pectin or banana than controls (59%, 55%, and 15%, respectively). By day 4, these proportions correspondingly increased to 82%, 78%, and 23%, respectively, the study diet groups being significantly (P < 0.001) different than controls. Green banana and pectin significantly (P < 0.05) reduced amounts of stool, oral rehydration solution, intravenous fluid, and numbers of vomiting, and diarrheal duration.
Green banana and pectin are useful in the dietary management of persistent diarrhea in hospitalized children and may also be useful to treat children at home.
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