What to Eat in Loose Motion - Do's and Dont's

By Dr. Ashok Grover in Internal Medicine

Mar 21 , 2018 | 6 min read


Diarrhoea, commonly referred to as loose motion or loose stools, is a condition in which frequent bowel movements occur. The stools are usually thin or watery and may have a strong odour. The condition may be accompanied by symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, cramps, and nausea.

Diarrhoea or loose motions is a symptom rather than a disease. In most cases, the infection or condition causing diarrhoea is mild and passes within a day or two. These cases require dietary support and rest. In other cases where the diarrhoea is chronic or accompanied by severe symptoms, it may be necessary to seek medical help.

Common Cause of Diarrhoea or Loose Motions

The most common cause of diarrhoea is stomach flu, a mild viral infection of the gastrointestinal system. Other causes may include the following:

In the case of infants or babies, introducing new foods or solids may sometimes cause diarrhoea. In some cases, nutritional supplements or strong medication can cause loose motions. Antibiotics, some mineral supplements, and chemotherapy drugs can cause diarrhoea. It is important to ask your doctor at Max Healthcare about the side effects before taking these.

How to Get Relief From Diarrhoea

Dehydration and lack of nutrients are complications that can occur with diarrhoea. To combat the fluid loss, drink lots of fluids and start with ORS and eat salty and potassium-rich foods, such as soups, bananas, fruit juices, etc.

It is important to rest well and have several small meals instead of three large meals.

What to Eat When You Have Loose Motions

Diarrhoea puts a great deal of strain on the digestive system. Therefore, it is a good idea to have a light, nourishing diet that includes foods that are easy to digest. It is also important to have foods that can help ease nausea. Here’s a list of foods to include:

  • Bland Foods: Milk, low-fat dairy products, Fruits and vegetable juices, cooked vegetables and fruits with skin, bread, crackers, hot cereals, oatmeal, etc.
  • Probiotic Foods: Bananas, custard apple, broccoli, yogurt, buttermilk, etc.
  • BRAT Diet: Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast

What to Avoid Eating When You Have Loose Motions

Eating spicy, oily, or rich foods can add to abdominal pain, cramping, and digestive distress during diarrhoea. Some foods that are best avoided during loose motions include –

  • Don’t Eat Dairy Products - Dairy products including milk, ghee, heavy cream, and high-fat cottage cheese could elevate diarrhea. Even people who are not lactose intolerant can find it difficult to process lactose while experiencing loose motions. The safest thing to do is to avoid these foods, even if you usually have no problem with them.
  • High-fiber foods - Foods that can be difficult to digest include high-fibre foods like broccoli, cauliflower, capsicums, peas, corn, and green leafy vegetables.
  • Spicy foods - Avoid using all spicy foods. Season with only salt and black pepper.
  • Foods such as pulses, chickpeas, legumes, and prunes.
  • Fried foods - Heavy, fatty and fried foods
  • Don’t Eat Products Made With Artificial Sweeteners - Some artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes can have a laxative effect. In addition to this, they can contribute to gas and bloating. Also, it is best to avoid foodstuffs like diet soda and sugar-free candy. Artificial Sweeteners can also level up your risk of loose motion, increasing the stomach ache.  So, keeping the digestive system in check is necessary.
  • Don’t Drink Caffeine - Drinking Caffeine has also been said to cause more harm than good during this time. Coffee, Coke, and some strands of green tea contain significant amounts of caffeine. Caffeine increases your heart rate and is also a diuretic (a substance that increases the frequency of urination).
    This combination makes it extremely dangerous for your body when you are suffering from loose motions. Your body will already be short on fluids as a result of the loose motions; caffeine can further dehydrate your body. Stay away from beverages like coffee and try to drink more water instead. So, only focus on consuming the best food for loose motion.

Things Should Be Do When You Have Diarrhea

  • Stay Hydrated - Proper hydration is necessary to help detoxify the body properly and rehydrate it. By keeping your body well hydrated, you can prevent your loose motions from causing any further complications. Most severe complications of loose motions are caused by dehydration. By drinking plenty of water, ORS, Juices, and coconut water, you can ensure that your body remains well-hydrated.

    Check out the 5 Important Benefits of Drinking Coconut Water

  • Wash Your Hands Often - Sources suggest that washing hands can help decrease loose motion by 30%. Germs that cling to your hands are among the chief causes of loose motions. Make sure that you wash your hands at least once every 45 minutes.

    In addition to this, wash your hands thoroughly after you use the bathroom and before you eat. When you wash your hands, make sure that you scrub your palms, the back of your hand, between your fingers, and under your nails. Cleaner hands drastically decrease the chances of loose motions.

  • Diarrhoea robs the gut of healthy bacteria. Probiotics are a great way to replenish these. Curds, probiotic supplements, and fermented foods help reintroduce good gut bacteria and replenish the imbalance.

  • ORS packets are available over-the-counter. Keep these handy or prepare a homemade ORS to rehydrate and recover the loss of fluids and electrolytes.

  • Minor infections release toxins that are naturally purged by the body during diarrhoea. Therefore, do not take strong medicines or antibiotics without consulting a doctor.

Things Should Not Be Do When You Have Diarrhea

  • Don’t Use Strong Medications - In general, the best treatment for loose motions is to take rest, drink plenty of water and other liquids like ORS, Juices, and coconut water and follow a bland diet. Taking medication like loperamide, which stops loose motions, is not a good idea. Most of the time, loose motions are just your body’s way of removing the toxins trapped in your body. It is unwise to interfere with this process.

    Let your body heal naturally if possible, and give it the support needed with ample rest and simple food. Using strong Antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription can worsen your condition.

  • Frequent diarrhoea can clear up within 2-3 days. However, in the case of some chronic conditions like IBS, IBD, or ulcerative colitis, you may suffer from recurring bouts of loose motions. In these cases, it is important that you follow the treatment plan that your doctor at Max Healthcare has recommended. Take your medicines as prescribed and avoid the foods that trigger these bouts.

  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and known allergens such as nuts, dairy, and mushrooms.

Quick Tip- Eating greasy and oily foods can increase your unhealthy bowel movement. So, watch out for what not to eat in loose action to keep your health in check. 

These dietary restrictions may sound boring, harsh, and dull, but when you are suffering from loose motions, you’ll be craving simple foods and relief. Mild cases of loose motions will go away on their own.

When to See a Doctor

Chronic or severe diarrhoea requires medical attention. If your baby or infant has loose motions for over 24 hours, it is important to consult a paediatrician at Max Healthcare. If the baby is under six months and breastfeeding, it is important to consult a doctor to prevent dehydration.

Here are some warning signs that should prompt you to seek medical attention immediately -

  • Chronic or worsening diarrhoea
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Blood or mucus in the stools
  • Excessive vomiting
  • Severe abdominal pain or cramping
  • Weight loss
  • High fever
  • Palpitations of fast heartbeats
  • Signs of dehydration
  • Disorientation of confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Diarrhoea is accompanied by other unusual symptoms such as rashes, a hard abdomen, or swelling of glands

Max Hospital has the best gastroenterology department in India. Find experienced doctors, state-of-the-art lab and imaging facilities, and excellent patient care services.


Diarrhoea is a short-lived disease that usually lasts a few days. Keeping a check on your diet can help get rid of it quickly. However, it is not a severe disease. Therefore, consulting a doctor and following a balanced routine while keeping the above points in mind can help.

However, if your loose motions last for more than two days, or if you begin to notice blood in your stool, you should contact your doctor for advice on the next stage of treatment and medication.

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