Worst Foods to Eat with Diarrhea: A Comprehensive Guide

Jun 30


Jane Scaplen

Jane Scaplen

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Explore the worst foods to eat with diarrhea and provide answers to frequently asked questions on managing this condition.

Diarrhea is a common digestive issue that can disrupt your daily routine and leave you feeling weak and dehydrated. While it’s crucial to stay hydrated and rest,Worst Foods to Eat with Diarrhea: A Comprehensive Guide Articles your diet plays a significant role in recovery. Certain foods can exacerbate symptoms, prolonging discomfort and preventing recovery. Here, we explore the worst foods to eat with diarrhea and provide answers to frequently asked questions on managing this condition.

What foods are bad to eat when you have diarrhea?

Dairy Products

  • Why Avoid: Diarrhea can lead to temporary lactose intolerance, making it hard to digest lactose in dairy products. Consuming milk, cheese, or ice cream can worsen symptoms like bloating, gas, and loose stools.
  • Alternatives: Opt for lactose-free or plant-based milk alternatives, like almond or oat milk, which are gentler on the stomach.

Fatty and Fried Foods

  • Why Avoid: Foods high in fat are difficult to digest and can increase intestinal contractions, leading to more frequent and watery stools. Fried foods, greasy burgers, and heavy cream sauces should be avoided.
  • Alternatives: Choose lean proteins such as boiled chicken or turkey and steam or bake rather than frying foods.

Spicy Foods

  • Why Avoid: Spicy foods can irritate the digestive tract and exacerbate diarrhea. Ingredients like chili peppers and hot sauces can increase stomach acid, leading to more discomfort.
  • Alternatives: Stick to bland foods with minimal seasoning, such as plain rice, applesauce, and bananas.

Sugary Foods and Beverages

  • Why Avoid: High sugar intake can draw water into the intestines, worsening diarrhea. Sugary drinks, candy, and desserts can aggravate symptoms.
  • Alternatives: Hydrate with water, herbal teas, or oral rehydration solutions. If you crave something sweet, try small amounts of fruit like blueberries or strawberries.


  • Why Avoid: Caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, and soda can stimulate the digestive system, leading to increased bowel movements. They also have a diuretic effect, which can contribute to dehydration.
  • Alternatives: Decaffeinated herbal teas or water are better options to stay hydrated without irritating the stomach.


  • Why Avoid: Alcohol can irritate the gastrointestinal tract, leading to increased diarrhea and dehydration. It disrupts the balance of good bacteria in the gut, making recovery slower.
  • Alternatives: Avoid alcohol until symptoms completely resolve. Stick to water and rehydration solutions.

High-Fiber Foods

  • Why Avoid: While fiber is generally good for digestion, high-fiber foods like beans, broccoli, and whole grains can be too harsh during a bout of diarrhea. They can increase gas and bloating.
  • Alternatives: Opt for low-fiber foods like white rice, white bread, and cooked carrots.

Raw Vegetables

  • Why Avoid: Raw vegetables can be tough on the digestive system and may increase bloating and gas. Their high fiber content can further irritate the intestines.
  • Alternatives: Choose cooked vegetables such as carrots, green beans, and zucchini, which are easier to digest.

Artificial Sweeteners

  • Why Avoid: Sorbitol and other artificial sweeteners found in sugar-free candies and gum can have a laxative effect, worsening diarrhea.
  • Alternatives: Use natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup in small quantities, or avoid sweeteners altogether until symptoms improve.

Nuts and Seeds

  • Why Avoid: The high fiber and fat content in nuts and seeds can be hard to digest and exacerbate diarrhea symptoms.
  • Alternatives: Avoid nuts and seeds until symptoms subside, and then reintroduce them slowly.

FAQs About Diet and Diarrhea

What foods are safe to eat when you have diarrhea?

The BRAT diet—bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast—is often recommended. These foods are bland, low in fiber, and help firm up stools. Also, consider boiled potatoes, plain crackers, and clear broths.

How long should I avoid these foods after diarrhea starts?

It’s best to avoid these foods until your symptoms have completely resolved and you have had at least 24-48 hours of normal bowel movements. Gradually reintroduce foods to avoid shocking your digestive system.

Is it okay to drink sports drinks to stay hydrated?

While sports drinks can help with hydration and electrolyte balance, they often contain high levels of sugar, which can exacerbate diarrhea. Opt for oral rehydration solutions or dilute sports drinks with water.

Can probiotics help with diarrhea?

Probiotics can help restore the balance of good bacteria in your gut and may reduce the duration of diarrhea. Yogurt with live cultures or probiotic supplements can be beneficial.

When should I see a doctor for diarrhea?

Seek medical attention if diarrhea persists for more than 48 hours, if you experience severe abdominal pain, high fever, blood in stools, or signs of dehydration such as dizziness, dry mouth, or decreased urination.

Managing diarrhea involves more than just staying hydrated; dietary choices play a crucial role in your recovery. By avoiding these worst foods and following a bland, low-fiber diet, you can help alleviate symptoms and promote faster healing. Always listen to your body and consult with a healthcare provider if symptoms persist or worsen.