If you've got a craving for something sweet, digging into a bowl of strawberries may be just what you need. The juicy, sweet fruit can satisfy your tastebuds, but for some people, it might also lead to bowel issues — indeed, strawberries do make you poop (and sometimes the reverse).
Strawberries' benefits are numerous, including nutrients like fiber, antioxidants and vitamin C, per the USDA. (Strawberry leaves have benefits, too!) Still, they don't agree with everyone, and for some people, eating too many strawberries causes gas, diarrhea or other issues.
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Here are four potential reasons why strawberries can cause bowel troubles, plus what to do about it.
A serving size of strawberries is about 1 cup, or seven to 10 strawberries depending on their size. More than that could lead to side effects of eating too many strawberries, including gas, diarrhea, constipation or other digestive issues.
1. They're High in Fiber
Strawberries are a valuable source of dietary fiber — 1 cup of them contains 3 grams of the nutrient, per the Mayo Clinic.
In general, fiber is great for your health. Per the Mayo Clinic, eating a high-fiber diet can help:
- Normalize bowel movements
- Maintain bowel health
- Lower cholesterol levels
- Control blood sugar levels
- Reduce your risk for heart disease and certain cancers
Enjoying a single serving of strawberries — which is about 1 cup, or seven to 10 berries, depending on size — may not necessarily result in unpleasant digestive symptoms.
But it's possible for strawberries to make you poop if you eat too many due to their high fiber content. That's because overloading on the nutrient can lead to issues like bloating, gas, constipation, cramping and diarrhea, per Duke University.
Fix it: In order to reduce the risk of unpleasant side effects after eating strawberries, make sure that you are sticking to the appropriate serving size.
But don't cut out strawberries or other fibrous foods entirely — it's important to get plenty of fiber. According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults should aim to eat between 22 and 34 grams of fiber per day (about 14 grams for every 1,000 calories you eat).
If you're not currently eating enough fiber, ease your way up to the recommended daily amount. Adding too much fiber all at once can cause gas, bloating and cramping, per the Mayo Clinic.
Your body is also better able to digest fiber and other nutrients when you're drinking enough water, so remember to always stay well-hydrated, according to the Mayo Clinic.
2. They Contain Fructose
Fructose is a sugar that occurs naturally in strawberries and other fruits, fruit juices, certain vegetables and honey, per the Mayo Clinic.
But some people aren't able to adequately digest fructose. This condition is called fructose malabsorption, and occurs when the cells of your small intestine can't absorb the sugar properly, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).
It can lead to symptoms like:
- Stomach pain
Other people have a genetic condition called hereditary fructose intolerance, which is when your body can't digest the sugar, according to the NLM. It causes symptoms such as:
- Stomach pain
- Low blood sugar
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
- In extreme cases, seizures or coma
And you don't have to have one of these conditions to be sensitive to fructose — digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can also make it difficult for you to digest the sugar, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
People with IBS can have different triggers, but high-fructose foods are a common culprit and can cause symptoms like gas, bloating and bowel movement changes.
Fix it: If you regularly experience side effects after eating strawberries, talk to your doctor to see if you may have fructose malabsorption or IBS. Limiting your fructose intake may help you manage your symptoms, per the Mayo Clinic.
If you're diagnosed with hereditary fructose intolerance, you'll want to avoid fructose-containing foods entirely to prevent health complications and organ damage, according to the NLM.
3. You Have a Strawberry Intolerance
A food intolerance may be the reason why strawberries are hard to digest if the fruit regularly causes diarrhea or other bowel issues.
A food intolerance is when your body has trouble processing certain foods, per the Cleveland Clinic. It can cause symptoms like:
- Abdominal pain
- Headaches or migraines
Fix it: Limiting or avoiding trigger foods — strawberries or otherwise — may help quell your symptoms, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
4. You Have a Strawberry Allergy
A strawberry allergy isn't common, but if you have one, eating the fruit could lead to diarrhea.
Here's how to tell the difference between a food intolerance versus allergy: Intolerances primarily involve digestive distress, whereas allergic reactions occur when your immune system reacts to a food to produce the following symptoms, per the Mayo Clinic:
- Itchy or tingly mouth
- Hives, itching or eczema
- Swelling of the lips, face, tongue, throat or other body parts
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
Fix it: Talk to your doctor if you experience any of the signs of a food allergy after eating strawberries. If a strawberry allergy is to blame, avoiding the fruit can prevent symptoms, per the Mayo Clinic.
Some people can have an extreme allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, where your throat swells up and makes it hard to breathe, per the Mayo Clinic. Seek medical care immediately if this happens to you.
When to See a Doctor
If strawberries consistently cause you digestive distress, limit or avoid the fruit and talk to your doctor to get to the root of your symptoms, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
You should also seek medical care right away if you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as vomiting, difficulty breathing, a rapid heartbeat or a loss of consciousness.
1. Do Strawberries Make Your Poop Red?
Strawberries are unlikely to cause red stools. Foods that cause red poop include cranberries, beets, tomatoes and foods made with red dye, according to the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics.
If your poop is red, you could be looking at blood in your stool. Common causes of blood when wiping include hemorrhoids, anal fissures, colon polyps and inflammatory bowel disease. Call your doctor if you notice blood in your stool for more than a few days.
2. Are Strawberries Good for Constipation?
While it's possible this fibrous fruit can cause constipation if you eat too many strawberries, in moderation, they may help promote bowel movements.
Strawberries contain insoluble fibers that help food move through your GI tract more quickly. As a result, gradually increasing the amount of fiber in your diet can help get things moving and ease or prevent constipation, per the University of California San Francisco Health.
3. Why Are There Strawberries in My Poop?
If you notice strawberries in your poop, this could be due to their high fiber content, eating too fast or not chewing enough, per the Mayo Clinic.
But if undigested strawberries in your stool is accompanied by other symptoms like weight loss or chronic diarrhea, talk to your doctor to see if an underlying condition is to blame.
4. Is It OK to Eat 20 Strawberries a Day?
As we've mentioned, a serving size of strawberries is about 1 cup, or about seven to 10 strawberries, depending on their size. With that in mind, 20 strawberries would be two to three servings' worth of the fruit.
This amount isn't necessarily harmful, but some people may experience side effects of eating too many strawberries, such as gas, diarrhea, constipation or other digestive issues.
- Mayo Clinic: "Chart of high-fiber foods"
- Mayo Clinic: "Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet"
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans"
- Mayo Clinic: "Food allergy"
- NLM: "Hereditary fructose intolerance"
- Mayo Clinic: "Fructose intolerance: Which foods to avoid?"
- Mayo Clinic: "Undigested food in stool: What does it mean?"
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: "5 Foods to Avoid if You Have IBS"
- University of California San Francisco Health: "Constipation"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Food Intolerance"
- Duke University: "Fiber-How"
- University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics: "Stools With Blood"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Strawberries, raw"
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.