Don’t Let these Foods Sabotage Your Digestion

Certain foods screw up digestion by messing with the good bacteria that help break down our food and keep our intestines healthy. Unless you limit consumption of these 14 sneaky disrupters or skip them altogether, you may suffer the bloating and gas that accompany indigestion. Here are the culprits, and remember: If you need a healthy-gut-bacteria boost, taking over the counter probiotics can help relieve GI discomfort.

Citrus Fruit

These acidic foods can irritate the lining of your stomach and lead to heartburn or acid reflux. Load up on applesauce or bananas to help ease discomfort.


Caffeine in coffee speeds up the digestive tract and may cause diarrhea. Coffee causes the stomach to produce hydrochloric acid (HCL), which can cause heartburn and indigestion. Try to limit your coffee intake daily by drinking caffeinated teas instead and don’t drink coffee on an empty stomach.


Blame the insoluble plant fiber cellulose in corn and the fact that humans lack the enzyme needed to break it down in our bodies. If you do eat corn, chew it thoroughly before you swallow or it can pass through your system undigested and cause an upset stomach.


Booze is a common trigger of leaky gut, and alcoholic drinks cause inflammation which can lead to problems with your digestive tract.

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin altered the gut bacteria that controls metabolism. It can lead to an increased propensity to convert food into fat, according to one study. Stick to brown sugar and use in moderation.


Cruciferous veggies such as broccoli and cauliflower contain hard-to-digest plant fibers and complex sugars. The result? Gas. Consider taking a digestive supplement that contains enzymes to help break down those fibers.


The gum carrageenan is used as a stabilizer in organic and natural foods like soy milk, low-fat yogurt, salad dressing, and ice cream. Research suggests this seaweed derivative may cause inflammation and lead to ulcerations and inflammatory bowel disease.

Fried Food

Fried foods can cause problems in two ways. Either they move undigested through the body too quickly and cause diarrhea or the low-fiber foods can linger in your digestive tract too long and produce bloating and potentially constipation.


An increasing number of people are finding they can’t properly digest gluten. If you find you’re experiencing bloating, pain, gas, or diarrhea after eating foods like bread and pasta, the gluten in grains might be to blame.

Milk, soft cheese and ice cream

People who lack the digestive enzyme lactase have difficulty processing lactose, a sugar found in milk. Try hard aged cheeses that have lower amounts of lactose. Hint: Avoid eating too much dairy at one sitting. The food ends up being digested in the large intestine instead of the stomach and can cause an upset stomach, diarrhea, and gas.


Some people have a really hard time digesting nuts. The small pieces may irritate as they wash over some already-irritated or inflamed areas of the gastrointestinal system. Substitute nut butters, which are smooth and don’t have any sharp edges.

Onions and Garlic

Onions, garlic and wheat products contain a group of sugars and fibers known as fodmaps that aren’t absorbed well in the small intestine. They can cause gut issues such as gas, bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea or constipation.

Raw Food

Use appropriate precautions when handling raw animal products such as raw meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood. Cook foods to proper temperatures to destroy bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Don’t leave perishable foods unrefrigerated for more than two hours to prevent bacterial growth.

Sugar-free Foods

Sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, maltitol and xylitol are frequently added to sugar-free candies and gum. They can cause bloating and gas. When you eat too many, they can act as a laxative. Avoid foods that list a sugar alcohol in the first three ingredients.

Linda Parham

Linda Parham is a journalist and writer who enjoys creating entertaining blogs. She started out as a newspaper reporter before moving on to editing magazines and newsletters. Linda specializes in writing about beauty, health, fitness, business and politics.

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