Which Foods Should You Avoid If You Have Diarrhea?

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The foods to avoid during a bout of diarrhea include dairy products, fatty foods, alcohol, caffeine and artificial sweeteners, explains Beth W. Orenstein for Everyday Health. It is also helpful to avoid foods that are known to produce excess intestinal gas.

Fatty foods, which include those that are fried, greasy or covered in rich sauces and gravies, are difficult to digest and can make diarrhea worse, notes Orenstein. Dairy products such as milk, butter, ice cream and cheese also exacerbate the symptoms of diarrhea because they are harder to digest. Even people who are not lactose intolerant should avoid eating dairy until diarrhea subsides. The exception to this rule is yogurt, which is rich in probiotic cultures. Probiotics in yogurt help restore proper digestive balance by increasing good bacteria in the gut. Alcohol and caffeinated drinks have a dehydrating effect on the body and should also be avoided since diarrhea itself is a dehydrating condition.

During a bout with diarrhea, avoid artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol in beverages, candies and sugarless gums. The body is unable to digest sorbitol, according to WebMD, and this produces a laxative effect. Foods that produce excess gas in the intestinal tract include beans, broccoli and cauliflower. Avoid these foods to feel more comfortable until the diarrhea resolves.