9 Ways Your Food Might be Giving You Diarrhea

9 Ways Your Food Might be Giving You Diarrhea

Feeling an unpleasant rumbling in your tummy? Here are 10 foods and drinks that could be giving you diarrhea.

It isn’t something we talk about, (“Hey, I have diarrhea!”) but we’ve all suffered from its discomfort.

Often, at least in North America, it’s not that serious. Something as simple as your diet could be making you dash to the bathroom.

Here are 10 foods and drinks that could be giving you diarrhea:

1) Soda


Drinking a lot of sodas with caffeine in them can actually give you diarrhea. Caffeine can have a laxative effect, and this is the result! Also, sodas contain a lot of sugar, and so if you have problems breaking down fructose and absorbing it, as some do, this could be your problem.

2) Coffee


For similar reasons as soda, (that laxative effect) the caffeine in coffee can loosen your stool. A little bit is OK, but more than 2 or 3 cups could send you running for help.

3) Artificial Sweeteners


All those sweeteners without the calories can come with a cost. Dr. Oz explains it well in this video.

Some artificial sweeteners inactivate digestive enzymes and cause changes in the way your gut functions. They can also wreak havoc on your good gut flora, causing problems.

The result? Sometimes it’s the runs!

4) Fatty Foods


If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) eating foods that are high in fat can be problematic. IBS can make it difficult to easily digest fatty foods, causing diarrhea.

5) Dairy! Dairy! Dairy!


Did I mention dairy? An intolerance to the lactose found in milk and milk products can cause difficulties with digestion and diarrhea. Some people have lactose intolerance all their lives, others have no problems, and some develop the intolerance as they grow older. I even heard of people who could drink milk in one country, but not another.

Why? It’s a mystery likely solved by examining how the milk is processed. Needless to say, if you get the runs after eating ice cream and drinking chocolate milk, try cutting them out and looking for dairy alternatives.

6) Alcohol


Alcohol can taste great but it irritates your digestive system, among other things. Even if you don’t suffer from IBS, it can cause problems in the lining of your bowels.

7) Wheat


If you are sensitive to wheat and the gluten it contains, it could be causing your stomach and bowel problems. Only about 1% of the entire population is actually intolerant to gluten, but many more could have sensitivities that can complicate the digestive system.

8) Spicy Foods


Buffalo wings, curry and jalapenos not topping your list of go-to grub? Spicy foods are another one that can irritate the lining of the bowels. What works for one person can be double-trouble for another. Just because your sister can order that Thai soup with 5 fires, doesn’t mean everyone can.

9) Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart…


While most of us don’t always get enough fiber and have the opposite problem, getting too much of it can loosen things too much. If you are adding fiber to your diet, do so a little bit at a time to avoid a digestive free-for-all.

If you find your experiencing diarrhea regularly, contact your doctor for a consultation and maybe some tests. It isn’t normal to have the runs all the time, and it could be that you are suffering from something like IBS or that there are foods you should be avoiding.

According the medical experts at the Mayo Clinic, you should get immediate medical help if as an adult, you have diarrhea and:

  • Your diarrhea persists beyond two days
  • You become dehydrated
  • You have severe abdominal or rectal pain
  • You have bloody or black stools
  • You have a fever above 102 F (39 C)

For kids, watch out for dehydration. The Mayo Clinic recommends that caregivers call a doctor if a child’s diarrhea doesn’t improve within 24 hours or if your baby:

  • Becomes dehydrated
  • Has a fever above 102 F (39 C)
  • Has bloody or black stools


Signs of dehydration in adults include extreme thirst, a dry mouth of skin, little or no pee, weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness, fatigue, and dark-colored urine.

In kids, dehydration surfaces as no wet diapers in three or more hours, a dry mouth or tongue, a fever above 102 F (39 C), crying with no tears, sleepiness, unresponsiveness or crankiness, and a sunken appearance to the stomach area, eyes or cheeks.

Take care.

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