9 foods that cause an upset stomach

Written by Bel Marra Health
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9 foods that cause an upset stomach

No one likes to talk about diarrhea, but unfortunately, from time to time, we all experience it. It is really unpleasant and it can strike anytime. The worst part is, you can’t always pinpoint the cause. Food is a common culprit, and some foods are more likely to cause diarrhea than others. Below are some of the food items that can send you running for the bathroom.

9 foods that cause diarrhea

Sugar substitutes: Sugar substitutes – such as sucralose, aspartame, and sorbitol – may act as a laxative, depending on how your gut metabolizes them.

Coffee: For some people, coffee means an instant energy boost. For others, it’s nothing but tummy troubles. Caffeine stimulates the gut, pushing the food through more quickly. In the case of pre-existing digestive issues, the acidity of coffee can aggravate the symptoms.

Alcohol: Drinking too much the night before can leave you with an upset stomach the following day. Alcohol irritates your stomach and speeds up digestion. It can also affect water absorption which is why your hangover often comes along with diarrhea.

Dairy: Nearly 50 million Americans live with lactose intolerance, so if you notice an unhappy stomach after consuming dairy products you may be one of them.

Wheat, rye, and barley: Products that contain gluten can lead to diarrhea if you have Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

FODMAPs: Fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides, and polyols – or FODMAPS for short – are groups of carbs and sugar alcohols which are difficult to digest, especially for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). These foods are poorly absorbed in the small intestine, leading to symptoms of bloating, gas, and diarrhea.

Fiber: Fiber is known to relieve constipation and get things moving along. Unfortunately, sometimes, fiber is too effective. Overeating fiber can lead to diarrhea.
Spicy peppers: While some people can tolerate spicy foods without even flinching, for others it means running for the toilet. Spicy food can irritate the stomach and intestines. The less frequently you eat it, the more likely you are to feel the burn when you do.

Fast food: Greasy fast food can be harsh on your gut as it is hard to digest. So if you need another reason to skip out on the junk food, then consider the fact that you’ll be saving yourself from diarrhea.

Related: Bland diet for gastritis, ulcers, diarrhea, and reflux disease

Related Reading:

Traveler’s diarrhea: Causes, symptoms, and treatment

Diarrhea after eating – causes and home remedies


On any matter relating to your health or well-being, please check with an appropriate health professional. No statement herein is to be construed as a diagnosis, treatment, preventative, or cure for any disease, disorder or abnormal physical state. The statements herein have not been evaluated by the Foods and Drugs Administration or Health Canada. Dr. Marchione and the doctors on the Bel Marra Health Editorial Team are compensated by Bel Marra Health for their work in creating content, consulting along with formulating and endorsing products.