Foods to Avoid as Part of the "Diarrhea Diet"
While you are waiting for the diarrhea to end, you should avoid foods that can make it worse, for example:
- Milk and milk products (except yogurt), such as ice cream or cheese
- High-fat or greasy foods, such as fried foods
- Very sweet foods, such as cakes and cookies
- Foods that have a lot of fiber, such as citrus fruits
- Apple juice, pear juice, and cherry juice (white grape juice is a good alternative)
- Any foods that contain Olestra®, such as fat-free potato chips or fat-free ice cream
- Sugar-free gum or mints
- Drinks with caffeine, such as coffee, tea, or soda.
Foods to Include
As you recover from a bout of diarrhea, the best foods to start eating are easily digested, high-carbohydrate foods. These include:
- Plain rice
- Boiled potatoes
- Cooked carrots
- Baked chicken without the skin or fat.
It is best to avoid milk and other dairy products for seven to ten days after the diarrhea improves. A mild case of lactose intolerance often follows cases of diarrhea.
For children, the pediatrician may recommend what is called the BRAT diet: bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.
Using Diet to Help Diagnose Chronic DiarrheaAny diarrhea that lasts longer than two weeks is known as chronic diarrhea. As part of diagnosing the cause, the healthcare provider will typically ask a number of questions. Based on the answers to these questions (along with the physical exam), your healthcare provider may suspect that a food intolerance or food allergy is causing your diarrhea. In such cases, your healthcare provider may ask you to avoid foods containing:
- Lactose, which is found in milk products and can cause diarrhea in people with a lactose intolerance
- Gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, and barley (if your healthcare provider suspects celiac disease)
- Other substances.
This is to see whether the diarrhea responds to a change in diet.