Ashley Koff RD gets… Detailed! Check out her latest on Prevention.com
So… Can We Talk Diarrhea?
Ashley Koff, Prevention’s RD, answers your burning questions
Reader question: If I get diarrhea, does that mean I just lost all the nutrients and calories I just consumed?
Ashley’s answer: Diarrhea, or loose stools, can happen for a variety of reasons: a cold or virus, food poisoning, laxative use, eating a food to which you’re intolerant, drinking too much coffee, or even taking too much supplemental vitamin C. No matter what causes it, the result is nutrient loss. The nutrients lost may be all or part of the ones you just consumed. However, the bigger concern is water and electrolyte loss leading to dehydration. Following a bout of diarrhea, it’s critical to rehydrate with water, if you can tolerate it, or mineral water (but avoid the kind that’s rich in magnesium), a little salt, and some potassium. Other good stomach-soothing, nutrient-restoring options are coconut water, half of a baked white potato with a sprinkle of salt and no butter, or 1/2-3/4 cup rice slow-cooked in low-sodium vegetable broth. If intense diarrhea persists longer than one full day, happens regularly, or if you are diabetic, have heart issues, or feel light-headed and dizzy upon standing, you should contact your healthcare practitioner. And not that you’re asking, but I do like to remind clients that weight loss achieved via diarrhea is not real. On resuming normal eating, your body will return to its previous weight or even bump up a little higher.
Chewing over a food quandary? Send it to AskAshley@Prevention.com
Ashley Koff is a registered dietitian, Qualitarian, nutrition expert, and co-author of Mom Energy: A Simple Plan to Live Fully Charged (Hay House; 2011) as well as Recipes for IBS (Fair Winds Press; 2007).
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