1. Home
  2. Health Information
  3. Digestive Diseases
  4. Diarrhea
  5. Eating, Diet, and Nutrition

Eating, Diet, and Nutrition for Diarrhea

What should I eat if I have diarrhea?

If you have diarrhea, you may lose your appetite for a short time. In most cases, when your appetite returns, you can go back to eating your normal diet. Parents and caretakers should give children with diarrhea their usual age-appropriate diet and give infants breast milk or formula.

Mother feeding a bottle to an infant.
Parents and caretakers should give children with diarrhea their usual age-appropriate diet and give infants breast milk or formula.

Your doctor may recommend changing your diet to treat some causes of chronic diarrhea, such as lactose intolerance or celiac disease.

What should I avoid eating if I have diarrhea?

You should avoid foods that may make your diarrhea worse, such as

  • alcoholic beverages
  • drinks and foods containing caffeine
  • dairy products such as milk, cheese, and ice cream
  • fatty and greasy foods
  • drinks and foods containing fructose
  • fruits such as apples, peaches, and pears
  • spicy foods
  • diet drinks and sugarless gum and candies containing sweeteners such as sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol

Research shows that following a restricted diet does not help treat diarrhea in most cases. Most experts do not recommend fasting or following a restricted diet when you have diarrhea.

November 2016
Share

This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings through its clearinghouses and education programs to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.