When dealing with a brief bout of diarrhea, you want to keep your diet bland. You may find it best to only have clear liquids for the first 24 hours. Then, you can slowly add bland foods to your diet. Some bland foods include bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast — otherwise known as the BRAT diet. Crackers and mashed potatoes (minus the butter) are also safe.
If your diarrhea lasts more than a few days, you might want to investigate the foods you are eating, as some can irritate your bowel and make diarrhea worse. These include foods high in fiber (bran, whole grains, brown rice) as well as greasy or excessively sweet foods. Foods that are sweetened with sorbitol may also aggravate diarrhea, Bickston says. If loose stools are a problem, then you may want to avoid these foods.
If you suspect your diarrhea is caused by a certain food, try an elimination diet. Cut the suspected food from your diet until you can determine whether or not it is a problem. If it’s not the problem, feel free to keep eating that food. “The difficulty I see in a lot of patients is that they don’t put things back into their diet even if they’re not causing a problem, and now they’ve painted themselves into a dietary corner,” Bickston says. “All they’re eating is mashed potatoes and rice.”