12 Types of Foods That Can Trigger Diarrhea

Loose or watery stool, also called diarrhea, can be a symptom of an upset stomach. Most adults will get some sort of diarrhea about every year. Often these episodes are from a virus or bad bacteria and your body is trying to get rid of it in a hurry. It’s not unusual to have diarrhea from eating specific foods. Foods with high amounts of fake ingredients, spices, stimulants or oils can cause the trouble. Here are some common causes of diarrhea.

Foods That Cause Diarrhea

1. Spicy Foods

There are some seasonings that can cause diarrhea, especially when it’s a strong spice you haven’t had much off. It can cause irritation to the stomach lining while being digested. This causes burning, bloating, gas and in some cases diarrhea. Chili and curry commonly cause diarrhea.

If you want some spice without the discomfort, try paprika or mustard powder, which can be gentler on the stomach.

2. Sweeteners That Are Artificial

Sugar such as aspartame and saccharine can cause FODMAPs; this will disrupt the natural biology of the intestinal tracts. Cutting out artificial sugars is recommended if you have IBS. It’s not surprising that artificial sweeteners can be a cause of diarrhea.

Skip grabbing the fat-free versions of your favorite sweets, you are better off eating small portions of regular foods with more natural ingredients.

3. Milk

Milk is one of the foods that cause diarrhea. There are some of us who find that eating or drinking dairy products such as milk, can cause frequent trips to the bathroom. This may be from lactose intolerance. This tends to run in families and can develop later in life. Many people don’t even realize they have it. When you are intolerant to lactose, you lack the enzymes that break down milk sugar, leaving it indigestible. The body will then dispose of it very quickly, in the form of diarrhea.

There are plenty of cow milk substitutions. Lactose-free whole milk may treat your tummy better. Try something from flaxseeds, almonds, cashews, or coconuts and see if it makes a difference. Keep trying the different styles until you find something you like.

4. Coffee

Coffee contains caffeine which is a stimulant. It can kick start your brains and stimulate your digestive track. There are many who add other digestive triggers such as artificial sweeteners and diary to their milk. This combination can make it a common trigger of diarrhea in some people.

You won’t easily find a substitution for coffee, but half-caffeinated can make a difference. If you are adding a sweetener, make sure to use real sugar. Instead of cream, try a diary substitute such as almond milk or coconut cream.

5. Onions and Garlic

They are on the list of foods that cause diarrhea. Both garlic and onions are full of insoluble fiber. They often have juices that when your stomach acid breaks them down, release gas that can irritate the bowels. They are fructans, meaning they contain carbohydrates that are hard to digest. It can be a recipe for an upset tummy.

Leeks and shallots can be an excellent alternative. You can also experiment with fennel and celery to get the flavor you want when you’re avoiding garlic or onion.

6. Cauliflower and Broccoli

There are high amounts of nutrients in cauliflower and broccoli, and a lot of fiber. You may think this is a great thing, but your stomach won’t always agree. If you don’t regularly eat cauliflower or broccoli, then big servings can cause diarrhea, gas or even constipation. This doesn’t mean you should avoid these vegetables. Instead, be careful how much you eat a t a time. Start with small portions and increase from there.

7. Fast Food

These foods are high in saturated fats, which are unhealthy, hard on your body and hard to digest. There is little nutrition in these foods, so not much for your body to use. Instead, they pass through the system quickly. If you are looking for fast food, avoid some things like fried chicken or fries. Be careful with bacon and beef from drive-throughs as well. They often have excess oil and fat. Grilled chicken, vegetarian options, and turkey burgers can help you get fed fast without all the poor side effects.

8. Alcohol

If you’ve had a few too many on a night out, you will likely wake up with an upset tummy. Alcohol is an irritant and your gut may not take to your drinking a large amount. Booze speeds digestion, affecting your body’s water absorption. This can create watery stools the next day.

9. Barley, Rye or Wheat

Gluten, which is a mix of the proteins in barley, rye and wheat, can cause bloating and diarrhea in some. The good news is gluten intolerance is rare. If you feel wheat is a digestion problem, start a food diary and watch for patterns. Are you sick every time you heat pasta or bread? If you suspect an intolerance, you should visit a gastroenterologist to check for celiac disease. Those who struggle with this autoimmune disorder can cause serious damage to their small intestine if they aren’t careful with their diet.

10. Legumes

Some legumes can cause diarrhea. These aren’t always a common food among many people, leaving those who are unfamiliar more sensitive. Lima beans, peas, beans and soy beans will go through the small intestine and reach the large, undigested. This can result in gas and diarrhea. To prevent loose stools, eat the legumes with soluble fiber. It is a known fact that beans have more indigestible fiber than other foods.

11. Acidic Foods

Cooked tomatoes, citrus fruits, and vinegar are foods that cause diarrhea. They should be carefully eaten because of their high acidity. This can cause stomach irritation. If you consume a large amount of insoluble fiber, you will see more discomfort and gas.

12. Red Meat

It’s true that red meat is rich in vitamin B12, in addition to other nutrients. These can be hard to digest. Some other proteins such as white meat and fish will be more comfortable on the stomach.

How to Deal with Diarrhea

It is recommended that you find out which drinks and foods trigger your diarrhea. Keep a food journal and make notes. See if your doctor can recommend any tips or see a pattern if you can’t.

The American College of Gastroenterology suggests that if you have diarrhea for more than two days, you should see a doctor. You should see your doctor immediately if your diarrhea has blood in it, is accompanied by pain or you don’t feel good.

The elderly and infants are prone to dehydration, this means that diarrhea can be dangerous. It is important to keep an eye out for signs of dehydration, such as:

  • Reduced urine
  • Lowered heart rate
  • Confusion and dizziness

Diarrhea Treatment

When diarrhea strikes, make sure to stay well hydrated. Eight or ten glasses of water a day is recommended and you should drink even more if you have diarrhea. This is because dehydration can be a risk. Keep your system flushed with water and you will feel better more quickly.

Try to keep eating and don’t starve yourself. You want to make sure you don’t overeat when you are feeling better. A large, calorie rich meal, can cause more diarrhea. Try to enjoy low-fiber snacks for a while. Bananas rich in potassium are gentle and help you retain sodium which is lost during diarrhea. Herbal tea and caffeine-free drinks are recommended as well as peppermint and ginger to calm your stomach.

If over-the-counter medication is needed, there are many available choices. Pepto-Bismol and Imodium are excellent choices to relieve diarrhea.