✓ Evidence Based

5 Common Foods That Can Cause Diarrhea

Diarrhea can occur when you consume new foods, as a symptom if medication, from specific foods, or as a symptom of too much of a water-soluble nutrient. Excess vitamin C supplementation can cause diarrhea, as one example.

It can also happen frequently for some due to existing conditions or circumstances, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), an illness like the flu or food poisoning, and much more.

Diarrhea is the opposite of constipation, although many who experience frequent diarrhea from disorders like IBS can experience both.

It can also happen frequently due to intestinal permeability, which is when the gut lining allows food particles to break down the barrier of the gut wall, creating many downstream issues.

When you experience diarrhea often, it is sometimes possible for your body to lose vital nutrients. It is essential to always replenish those nutrients with a healthy diet your body can digest well.

Everyone’s body handles foods differently, so while some may tolerate and digest these foods well, others may need to avoid them or limit the consumption altogether.

Foods that can Cause Diarrhea

If you experience diarrhea regularly, or even just here and there, make sure you are aware of the effect your diet has on your digestion. Check out the foods below to see what foods cause diarrhea the most.

1. Spicy Foods

Spicy foods can be a significant contributor to digestion distress, especially diarrhea. This is particularly the case for those who suffer from IBS. (1) Although, those who do not have an IBS diagnosis can still experience diarrhea from spicy foods.

That is because spicy foods are harder to digest than non-spicy foods. Bland foods pass through the intestinal wall and digestive tract in a different way than spicy foods.

Spicy foods irritate the gut lining when passing through the digestive tract, causing other unwanted symptoms as well as diarrhea. These can include heavy belching, bloating, acid reflux, GERD, and more.

Extremely spicy foods can cause diarrhea for those who do not suffer from IBS, mostly if you are not used to them. Common culprits of this include chili peppers and curry dishes. Since everyone’s body is different, even mild spicy foods can affect digestion significantly.

If you usually do not eat spicy food but want to try, make sure you ween into it lightly to avoid any unpleasant symptoms like diarrhea, and another digestive discomfort.

2. Alcohol

Alcohol is highly acidic, so it can result in it producing too much gastric acid. This can lead to inflammation and irritation when digesting. Beer and wine are often the most common culprits of diarrhea, although liquor can result in it as well.

Alcohol can cause diarrhea because it also can inflame the digestive system on the way down. This is mostly the case for excessive consumption of alcohol. (2)

Just like any food, the more you have, the higher the chance your body will go through some type of distress. This is one way the body rids excess toxins it cannot store for our health.

Alcohol consumption interferes with the body’s ability to retain water well. That is why you feel thirsty after a night of drinking. Dehydration can then create diarrhea typically the day after. To avoid experiencing diarrhea with alcohol, be sure to limit your exposure to too much alcohol at a time.

Try to have only one glass of your favorite drink a few times a week for a healthy consumption rate and far less chance of developing diarrhea. Even if you have a glass of alcohol each night, it is better than having multiple drinks in one night, because your body will be able to digest it properly in one sitting.

3. Dairy

Milk, cheese, and ice cream are common culprits of diarrhea for many. (3) While this is the case for many of those who suffer from lactose intolerance, it is even common among those who do not have lactose intolerance, too.

That is because many dairy products contain a hard-to-digest form of casein as well as many growth hormones. (4)

It is always best to pick dairy products that have fewer hormones, antibiotics, and growth hormones whenever you can. These additives can contribute to not only maldigestion, but skin issues like acne, and more.

The best way to avoid diarrhea from dairy, if you are not lactose intolerant, is to limit the consumption or choose easier-to-digest dairy products.

These include goat and sheep milk products, instead of cow’s milk. Goat and sheep milk products have an easier-to-digest form of casein than cow’s milk, helping to avoid this symptom.

4. High Fat and Greasy Foods

Processed, high fat and greasy foods are never a good idea for a healthy diet. And, they are especially harmful to those who already experience diarrhea.

The body cannot properly digest too much high-fat or greasy foods at a time, so it needs to excrete them somehow. (5)

If you eat too many unhealthy high-fat foods, it can also result in gallstones, an extremely common digestive issue. Because the body cannot digest high-fat foods well, it has to store excess in the gallbladder.

Eventually, excess material made of cholesterol or bilirubin builds up in the gallbladder, forming stones. The stones can range from the size of a grain of sand to a golf ball. If you have too many large gallstones, you need to take preventive measures to remove them.

The supplement D-limonene can significantly help dissolve gallstones, but it is best to avoid excess fat whenever possible. (6)

Always try to limit your intake of high fat, processed, or greasy foods to avoid stomach upset and distress symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, constipation, and vomiting.

5. Certain Fruits

Fruits that are high in fiber can cause diarrhea for some who consume too much. It can also happen if you are not used to consuming the specific fruits often, as a shock to the body.

Normally, it only occurs if you are consuming these fruits in excess, but the most common ones include apples, pears, and peaches. High in fiber, these fruits can cause diarrhea for some.

Apples, pears, and peaches are also full of healthy minerals that are great to include in your diet. Do not be afraid to consume these because of this fact.

If you eat a healthy, balanced diet, for the most part, you probably already know that these fruits will not harm you as much as processed, fatty or greasy foods will.

Moderation is the most important factor to consider when eating a healthy diet and avoiding unpleasant symptoms.


Diarrhea is only one symptom that can occur from too much digestive distress on the body. Digestive distress can result in acid reflux, GERD, belching, bloating, and more.

Many foods can cause diarrhea, such as spicy foods, high-fat foods, fruits, and more. Make sure to avoid unhealthy foods whenever possible to avoid digestive discomfort.

Although occasional diarrhea may not seem like a big deal, over time, you can lose vital nutrients that you must replenish with a healthy diet.

Always seek good health through better lifestyle choices by examining your diet, bad habits, exercise routines, and even your mental wellbeing. All factors can benefit your overall health when it comes to digestion, stress, energy, and much more.