Diarrhea & Lunch Meat

Mixed Sliced Meat on the wooden Board
Lunch meat (Image: KampolG/iStock/Getty Images)

Diarrhea that develops after you eat lunch meat may be related to lactose intolerance, food allergies, food intolerance or food poisoning. Lunch meat is highly processed meat that contains various food additives that may cause digestive complications. Because many of these conditions cause common symptoms, you need to see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment options. Some conditions may cause identifiable symptoms. Keep a journal of your symptoms, their severity and how often they’re occurring. A food allergy may cause a severe allergic reaction that may be life threatening.

Lactose Intolerance

Lunch meat isn’t a common food that most people think of that contains lactose. According to Drugs.com, if you’ve been diagnosed with lactose intolerance, you should not eat lunch meat. Lunch meats contain lactose and can trigger symptoms, such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, stomach pain and nausea. Lactose intolerance is a common condition where your body cannot digest the sugar that’s found in milk. The symptoms occur when lactose is not absorbed by your body and makes its way into your colon.

Food Allergies

Lunch meats may contain various other highly allergic food ingredients, such as wheat, soy, egg and dairy products. Soy is a common ingredient found in lunch meat as a filler. If you’ve been diagnosed with a food allergy, disclose your food allergies to the deli worker. Most deli meats have the ingredients listed on the product’s label. If the deli meat is pre-packaged, the federal government requires that all food allergens are listed in a separate warning on the label. The most common food allergies are related to wheat, soy, milk, eggs, fish, tree nuts and peanuts.

Food Intolerance

Aside from lactose intolerance, other food intolerances may trigger bouts of diarrhea after eating lunch meat. Two food intolerances that can trigger diarrhea that may be found in lunch meat are gluten and MSG. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley and rye and is commonly found in lunch meat. If you’re gluten intolerant, you shouldn’t eat lunch meat without first talking with your doctor. MSG is a food additive that helps enhance flavor that commonly triggers adverse reactions.

Food Poisoning

Lunch meat that is old or has been contaminated with infectious organisms can cause food poisoning. Food poisoning affects your digestive system for one to 10 days with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills and stomach pain. Food poisoning needs to be evaluated by your doctor.

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