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Can Junk Food Cause Diarrhea?

author image Diane Marks
Diane Marks started her writing career in 2010 and has been in health care administration for more than 30 years. She holds a registered nurse license from Citizens General Hospital School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Arts in health care education from California University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in health administration from the University of Pittsburgh.
Can Junk Food Cause Diarrhea?
Pizza, fries, hamburger and other junk food items. Photo Credit: dolgachov/iStock/Getty Images

Foods that are highly processed and contain a lot of fat do not cause diarrhea but they can lead to a bout of loose stools. Diarrhea is properly defined as loose, watery stools that occur frequently, according to MedlinePlus. Eating junk food while you have diarrhea can prolong or worsen the condition. Diarrhea tends to be a symptom of another medical condition that needs to be evaluated by your doctor. If you develop loose stools after eating junk food, eliminate it from your diet to see if you experience any improvement.

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Diarrhea is a common condition that affects almost every person at least once in their lifetime. Diarrhea typically lasts for a few days but can continue for a few weeks and should be evaluated by a doctor. Common causes of diarrhea include traveling, food poisoning and viral infections. When you travel you expose your body to new bacteria and parasites that can cause diarrhea. Food poisoning is when you consume something that is contaminated with toxins, bacteria, a virus or parasite. Viral infections are commonly called the stomach flu and are accompanied by vomiting and low-grade fever.

Junk Food Consideration

Junk food refers to foods that are high processed, contain artificial ingredients are typically high in fat. Eating too much junk food can cause your digestive system to become irritated, leading to uncomfortable bowel movements. If you have diarrhea and you eat junk food, it can make your condition worse. Junk food is difficult for the digestive system to break down because of the complex sugars and proteins they contain.

Diet Avoidance

If you have diarrhea, the National Digestive Disease Information Clearinghouse recommends modifying your diet until the diarrhea subsides. Avoid foods that are greasy, high in fat, high in fiber, contain spices and contain dairy. Eliminate food and beverages that contain ingredients that could deplete the body of water, such as alcohol and caffeine. Avoid eating large meals or eating too fast to treat diarrhea.


One of the primary aspects of treating diarrhea with diet is to increase your liquid intake. Use liquids that help soothe the stomach and are not difficulty to process, such as water, sports drinks with electrolytes, broth, herbal teas and fruit juices. Apple and pear juice may increase your diarrhea and should be avoided. Eat bland foods in small quantities, such as bananas, crackers, toast, white rice, cooked carrots and boiled potatoes.

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