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Cabbage Soup & Diarrhea

by
author image Derek Buckner
Derek Buckner has been writing professionally since 2005, specializing in diet, nutrition and general health. He has been published in "Today's Dietitian," "Food Essentials" and "Eating Well Magazine," among others. Buckner is a registered dietitian and holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition and food science from Drexel University.
Cabbage Soup & Diarrhea
Traditional Russian cabbage soup served on a wooden table. Photo Credit Lilechka75/iStock/Getty Images

Cabbage soup can cause diarrhea, especially if you eat quite a bit of it or you are sensitive to cabbage. Cabbage contains fiber, which helps you have bowel movements. Since cabbage promotes movement within your intestinal tract, you may also experience other side effects such as gas, bloating and flatulence. If certain foods cause you to have diarrhea on a regular basis, avoid those particular foods and discuss the condition with your doctor.

Cabbage and Fiber

The fiber in cabbage causes abdominal discomfort for some people, especially those who have irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. If you’re used to eating a low-fiber diet and suddenly begin to eat any substantial amount of fiber at one given time, you can also experience abdominal pain and even diarrhea. Fibrous foods cause you to have bowel movements. When you begin to include more fibrous foods in your diet, you can experience diarrhea and mistake it as a side effect of that particular food.

Cabbage and Bacteria

Cabbage and other similar types of leafy vegetables, such as lettuce and spinach, are hard to clean. When these particular types of plants grow, soil containing bacteria can become trapped between the leaves. The bacteria that get trapped within the leaves of these plants can make you sick and cause what is known as traveler’s diarrhea. In certain regions, traveler’s diarrhea is common because not only do foods contain this bacteria, but so does the drinking water—which is sometimes used to rinse the food.

Cabbage and Diet

If you’re trying to incorporate more fibrous foods into your diet at one time, you may experience sudden bouts of diarrhea as the fiber moves through your body. Some weight loss diets, such as the Cabbage Soup Diet, require you to primarily consume cabbage soup, along with a few other types of foods. This particular diet can cause temporary weight loss, but that’s mainly due to the side effects -- namely, diarrhea and the loss of body fluids such as water.

Considerations

If you want to incorporate more fibrous foods into your diet, do so slowly. Increasing your fiber intake slowly allows your body to become accustomed to your new diet gradually, without severe side effects. Talk to your doctor about other ways to incorporate more fiber into your diet, such as fiber supplements. If certain foods, such as cabbage, cause you to have diarrhea, ask your doctor why these particular foods are causing the problem. You may have an underlying health condition that’s the culprit.

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