The much needed list of Foods To Avoid When you have an Upset Stomach

Updated on February 14th, 2020
foods to avoid with upset stomach

An upset stomach causes a lot of discomfort, turning an ordinary day into a rough one. Sometimes it is even accompanied by stomach pain, nausea, weakness, bloating, excessive gas, and might also lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and indigestion. It is generally not a cause of worry. But, if you face the problem of loose motion often, then it is time that you take this issue seriously.

Pay attention to it as your stomach is trying to tell you something about your diet and health. An upset stomach can be caused by acid reflux disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), stomach ulcers, Crohn’s disease(1), or side effects of NSAIDs. You might get temporary relief from medication.

However, for long term relief, you must figure out the foods that trigger your stomach problems. Get to know the foods to avoid with stomach upset to eliminate them from your daily diet.

Foods to Avoid with Upset Stomach

1. Dairy Products

Dairy products

Why Should You Avoid This?

Dairy products like milk, cheese, ice-cream, etc. top the list of foods to avoid with an upset stomach. These dairy products have high-fat content, which is difficult to digest. Lactose is the sugar found in dairy products, which, when not appropriately absorbed, causes indigestion. It is especially true for lactose-intolerant people.

 What Can You Have Instead?

Instead of lactose food, you could opt for food with no lactose plain low-fat yogurt, hard cheese, and lactose-free milk. Apart from being lactose-free, yogurt contains probiotics responsible for good gut health and might help relieve diarrhea.

[Read: Essential oils for upset stomach]

2. Citrus Fruits

Why Should You Avoid This?

Citrus fruits like lemon, oranges, grapes, and tomatoes are high acidic food that can result in digestive problems(2). These acidic foods to avoid with stomach flu can irritate the stomach lining.

What Can You Have Instead?

Bananas are probably the best fruit for the stomach. It is easy to digest, contains high potassium, reduces stomach pain, relieves indigestion, and prevents irritation of stomach lining.

[Read: Home Remedies for Stomach Aches ]

3. Fatty Foods

Why Should You Avoid This?

Among all the foods to avoid with an upset stomach, fatty foods are the ones that tend to lead both to constipation and diarrhea. Fatty foods like butter, cheese, red meat, etc. encourage contractions in the digestive tract based on the type of greasy food you are consuming and your tendency towards the upset stomach.

 What Can You Have Instead?

Choose to eat low-fat food that, too, in small amounts timed appropriately throughout the day. This eating style will put less pressure on your stomach, giving it time to digest.

4. Fried and Oily Foods

Fried and Oily Foods

Why Should You Avoid This?

Fried and oily foods are other categories of foods to avoid with stomach flu because of their tendency to either speed up or slow down the emptying of the stomach. These fried foods are difficult to digest, so they either move quickly undigested or stay in the tract in unprocessed form.

What Can You Have Instead?

Choose to eat healthy food like lean protein and whole grains, which can be digested easily.

5. Processed Foods

Why Should You Avoid This?

Processed food does not contain fiber that assists digestion. Instead, these processed foods to be avoided during upset stomach contain preservatives, artificial coloring, and some even lactose. These elements add up to digestive trouble, especially in people sensitive and allergic to these elements.

What Can You Have Instead?

Replace processed foods with high fiber food that helps indigestion. Chew your food properly and do not overeat, even healthy food.

[Read: How to Reduce Stomach Acid Naturally]

6. Artificial Sweetener

Why Should You Avoid This?

Artificial sweeteners like sorbitol are hard to digest and cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea when they reach the large intestines — these foods to avoid with upset stomach cause digestive problems.

What Can You Have Instead?

While buying gums, diet food, and other food, read the label to avoid sorbitol. Also, avoid food that has sorbitol naturally like apples, prunes, peaches, etc.

7. Alcohol

Why Should You Avoid This?

Alcohol affects liver metabolism and is harmful to the stomach lining. It will aggravate your stomach problem, causing indigestion.

What Can You Have Instead?

Drink alcohol in moderate amounts. It would be wise to replace alcohol with other healthy fluids.

[Read: How to Relieve Stomach Pain]

8. Caffeine

Why Should You Avoid This?

Excess caffeine can encourage gastrointestinal mobilityI(3) and cause diarrhea. Coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate are sources of high caffeine.

What Can You Have Instead?

Instead of caffeine, drink clear fluids and water.

You must understand that just like a car’s functioning gets spoiled if you don’t use the correct fuel. Similarly, if you fill your stomach with junk and other foods to avoid stomach upset, then you are hampering your own body. These trigger foods are like poison for your healthy digestive system.

So, remember these trigger foods to avoid stomach upset to stay fit and healthy. If the problem of loose motion persists, it is best to get a thorough medical checkup done by a professional practitioner.

A doctor could help you to get to know the root cause of the persistent problem of upset stomach or any other related health issue.


1. What Food Makes Your Stomach Feel Better?

You should learn how to settle your stomach with a healthy lifestyle and a healthy diet. Find out what food makes your stomach feel better. Some foods that could benefit your digestive system are white rice, bananas, toast, and semi-solid food.

2. What to Do for an Upset Stomach?

Apart from staying away from what not to eat with an upset stomach, you could try several home remedies for what to do for an upset stomach like:

  • Drink lots of water
  • Take a warm bath
  • Avoid lying down
  • BRAT diet
  • Food that makes your stomach feel better

3. How long does an upset stomach last?

Stomach upset resulting from food intolerance may last for 1-2 days. However, a person suffering from diarrhea or vomitings can make a full recovery within 2-3 days.

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