6 Foods that You Should Avoid When You Have Diarrhea

15 January, 2020
To keep diarrhea from getting worse, it's important to follow a bland diet and avoid certain foods that can irritate your stomach.

Diarrhea is one of those conditions that can show up at any moment, no matter how well you take care of yourself.

Despite the fact that it is a relatively simple problem, diarrhea can cause a lot of setbacks in your day to day life.

To avoid making the situation worse, it is recommended that you know which foods to avoid when you have diarrhea. This is important because there are some foods that could make it last longer when it could have just been a one day issue.

Also, after dealing with it for only 48 hours, you can feel excessive tiredness and extremely dehydrated. Liquids are crucial to prevent dehydrationIn fact, the first stage in diarrhea care is to try to tolerate liquids. Once you can do that, you can move on to certain solid foods.

Today, we’ll share four foods that are good to avoid when you have diarrhea, and what you should eat. We’ll also make some recommendations about food prep.

Eating when you have diarrhea – what should you avoid?

According to an article in the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD), you can control most cases of diarrhea by adjusting your diet and lifestyle. While it’s important to keep an eye on your symptoms, diarrhea isn’t usually a sign of something serious.

So, you don’t usually have to make any drastic changes to your diet. It’s mostly a question of avoiding heavy foods and making sure you are replacing the nutrients that your body is losing. So, what should you avoid?

1. Foods that cause gas


The first group of foods that you should avoid when you have diarrhea are foods that cause gas. Their effect will increase your discomfort and worsen your diarrhea. 

Among the vegetables that are classified as such are:

  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Onions
  • Corn
  • Leafy green vegetables

Instead, try pureed vegetables like pumpkin, squash, and carrot. In general, it’s better to peel them and remove their seeds.

Among the fruits that you should avoid because they cause gas are:

  • Apricot
  • Plums
  • Raisins
  • Dried fruit

Substitute these fruits for:

  • Ripe bananas
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Peaches

The best way to eat these is crushed, grated, or cooked, with their skin and seeds removed.

Read more: Five Habits that Can Worsen Gastritis

2. Fats, fried foods, and sugars

Do you tend to eat foods that are high in fats and sugars? If so, it is probable that your indiscriminate consumption of these foods is causing your diarrhea. Fat and sugar can make stomach cramps worse and trigger reactions in your digestive system, according to an article in Harvard Health.

“When fatty foods are not absorbed normally, they go to the colon, where they are broken down to fatty acids, causing the colon to secrete fluid and trigger diarrhea,” says Dr. Greenberger in the above article.

With that in mind, it’s important to avoid these foods at all costs:

  • Sausage
  • Fast food
  • Fatty cuts of meat
  • Sauces
  • Commercial dressings

Instead, substitute these foods for lean proteins that are cooked or boiled. The best options are:

  • Broths
  • Soups
  • Chicken
  • Veal
  • Turkey

When it comes to sugars and their substitutes, they should also be avoided when you have diarrhea because of their laxative effect. If you consume then, it will increase the bloating feeling in your stomach and you will have more gas.

3. Milk and its derivatives

Milk and its derivatives

Even if you aren’t lactose intolerant, you should avoid dairy when you have diarrhea and for 48 hours after. A study published in the medical journal Paediatrics and Child Health concluded that avoiding dairy will help make sure that your discomfort doesn’t worsen or come back.

The reason why you should avoid milk is that it requires lactase in order to be digested. The problem is that when you have diarrhea, or after, the lactase in your stomach decreased and this will increase your symptoms like gas, bloating, nausea, and diarrhea.

It might be okay for you to have lactose-free milk, but your doctor should be the one to decide whether or not you should include it in your diet. It really depends on the severity of your diarrhea.

The only dairy product that you can eat is yogurt. Since it has a high amount of probiotics, it helps get rid of diarrhea. However, make sure that you are eating plain yogurt and avoiding the ones that have sugar.

Read more: Everything You Need to Know About Lactose Intolerance

4. Coffee, soda, and alcohol

These three popular drinks are irritating to the gastrointestinal system and can make diarrhea and stomach problems worse. Avoid them when you have diarrhea and ideally for a week after your symptoms go away.

  • You can substitute coffee with tea. The best options are chamomile, mint and peppermint teas.
  • Try to swap soda for water or fruit infusions.
  • Alcohol should just simply be avoided because its effects create the perfect conditions for diarrhea. Too much alcohol can speed up your digestion and intensify muscle contractions, which are responsible for bowel movements.

In the case that your diarrhea is very strong, try to replenish your liquids with serums. 

Tips for food preparation

Whether you have diarrhea or not, food prep is important for your gastrointestinal health. Good food prep involves the following:

  • Your fruits and vegetables have been washed and kept away from contaminating agents. Make sure your meat hasn’t been contaminated by rotten meats.
  • It’s important that your food is cooked in some way. When you are experiencing diarrhea, and a week after it, be sure that the majority of the foods that you are eating are cooked without a lot of fat or oil. Fruit is the only exception, though it’s not a bad idea to boil apples and pears.

Other recommendations for your stomach health:

  • Wash your hands before preparing and eating your foods.
  • Disinfect any surface where you prepare your foods (table, cutting board, etc.).
  • Avoid freezing and thawing foods more than twice since the changes in temperature cause decomposition.

Now that you know which foods to avoid when you have diarrhea, take these precautions and modify your diet a little bit.

In a few days, everything will return to normal, but don’t forget to watch what you are eating.

If you suffer from frequent and persistent diarrhea, make an appointment with your doctor to rule out the possibility of irritable bowel syndrome.