Eggs can be a helpful food for some cases of diarrhea due to their protein and nutrient content. The BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast) is often recommended for diarrhea, but eggs can be a good protein addition. However, eggs may also worsen diarrhea in some cases due to sensitivities. It’s best to reintroduce them cautiously.
What Causes Diarrhea?
Diarrhea occurs when stools become very loose, watery, and frequent. It has many potential causes including:
- Viral infections
- Bacterial infections
- Parasitic infections
- Food poisoning
- Food intolerances
- Medication side effects
- Inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis
- Malabsorption disorders like celiac disease
- Reaction to antibiotics
- Chronic conditions like IBS
Diarrhea results from excess water content in the stool. This can occur due to inflammation, infection, food reactions, or dysbiosis in the gut microbiome. Finding the root cause of the diarrhea is important for proper treatment.
Why Eggs May Help
Eggs can be a beneficial food for some types of diarrhea for a few key reasons:
Eggs are a high quality source of protein. Diarrhea can quickly lead to protein and nutrient deficiencies due to poor absorption of nutrients. Eggs are easy to digest and contain essential amino acids needed for health. The protein can help maintain energy levels and prevent muscle loss during a diarrheal illness.
Eggs contain a wide array of important vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B12
These nutrients help support the immune system, energy production, tissue healing and integrity which are important during illness.
Low Fiber, Starch and Fat
Compared to many foods, eggs are low in fiber, starchy carbohydrates and fat. High fat and high fiber foods can sometimes worsen diarrhea. The low fiber, low residue nature of eggs makes them easier to digest.
When you have diarrhea, sticking to simple familiar foods is best until it resolves. Introducing new foods can sometimes worsen diarrhea. Eggs are a familiar food for most people that are well-tolerated in normal circumstances.
Potential Benefits of Eggs
Some potential benefits of eggs for diarrhea:
Improved Protein Intake
Eggs can help increase protein intake which provides energy, preserves muscle, and supports immune function. Protein needs may increase during illness.
Supports Gut Lining Integrity
The zinc and vitamin A in eggs can help maintain the integrity of the intestinal lining and promote regeneration of gut cells. This supports proper gut barrier function.
Helps Meet Nutrient Needs
Eggs can help meet micronutrient needs to support healing and recovery. Nutrient deficiencies can occur with diarrhea due to malabsorption.
Easy to Digest
For many, eggs are relatively easy to digest due to their low fiber content. This makes them unlikely to worsen diarrhea.
Familiar, Well-Tolerated Food
Eggs are a familiar food for most people. Sticking with known tolerated foods is recommended during diarrhea episodes.
The protein, vitamins and minerals in eggs can help provide energy when diarrhea causes weakness and fatigue. The food can help maintain stamina.
How Eggs May Worsen Diarrhea
While eggs provide benefits for many with diarrhea, there are some potential downsides as well:
Allergies or Intolerances
Some people have egg allergies or intolerances like sensitivity to proteins in the whites. These conditions could potentially worsen diarrhea.
Eggs contain sulfur compounds which can lead to gas or bloating in those with sensitivities. This may worsen diarrhea in some cases.
The fat content in eggs could worsen diarrhea if a condition like pancreatic insufficiency limits fat absorption. Excess fat in stool draws water.
For those sensitive to choline, phosphates or other components in eggs, they may irritate the gut and worsen diarrhea.
High in Cholesterol
The high cholesterol content of eggs could potentially exacerbate diarrhea in those with reduced bile acid reabsorption.
|Potential Benefits of Eggs for Diarrhea||Potential Drawbacks of Eggs for Diarrhea|
|Improved protein intake||Allergies or intolerances|
|Supports gut lining integrity||Sulfur sensitivity causing gas or bloating|
|Helps meet nutrient needs||Fat malabsorption|
|Easy to digest||Irritation from other components|
|Familiar, well-tolerated food||High cholesterol exacerbating diarrhea|
Best Way to Reintroduce Eggs
When recovering from diarrhea, it’s best to reintroduce higher risk foods like eggs slowly. Follow these tips:
- Wait until diarrhea resolves to try eggs again
- Introduce cooked eggs before raw eggs
- Start with small serving sizes like 1 egg
- Avoid eggs cooked in high fat ways like fried or scrambled in oil
- Opt for boiled, poached, or baked eggs
- Don’t eat eggs on an empty stomach initially
- Wait 48 hours between introductions to check for reactions
- Stop eggs if diarrhea recurs and try again later
By reintroducing eggs slowly, you can determine if they will worsen your diarrhea or provide benefits. Each individual may react differently. Monitor symptoms closely.
Are Egg Yolks and Whites Different?
Egg yolks and whites have slightly different nutritional profiles. Some key differences:
- Higher in fat, cholesterol, and calories
- Rich source of vitamins A, D, E, and K
- Contain choline, lutein, and zeaxanthin
- Provide vitamin B12, folate and iron
- Almost completely protein
- Higher in selenium, sodium, potassium, magnesium
- Contain the majority of the egg’s protein
- Most of the egg allergens are in the whites
For diarrhea, egg whites may be tolerated better since they contain less fat. Talk to your doctor about whether the yolk or whites are preferable based on your specific condition.
What About Cooked vs Raw Eggs?
Raw eggs carry an increased risk of salmonella contamination. Cooking the eggs kills any potential bacteria present.
Cooked eggs are often easier to digest and absorb as well. Light cooking denatures some of the proteins and makes the vitamins more bioavailable.
For diarrhea recovery, cooked eggs are the safer choice. Cook them fully until the whites and yolks are firm. Avoid uncooked, raw, or undercooked eggs.
What About Scrambled, Fried, or Poached Eggs?
The cooking method impacts the fat content and texture of eggs:
- Scrambled eggs: Minimal added fat unless cooking in butter or oil. Creamy texture.
- Fried eggs: Higher in fat when cooked in oil or butter. Runny yolks.
- Poached eggs: No added fat. Firm whites, runny yolks.
- Boiled eggs: No added fat. Firm whites and yolks.
For diarrhea recovery, boiled or poached eggs may be tolerated best to reduce fat content. Avoid adding high fat ingredients like cheese or fatty meats.
Monitor your symptoms carefully with each cooking method to see if any exacerbate your diarrhea. Keeping a food symptom diary can help identify problematic foods.
Sample Meal Plans with Eggs
Here are some sample low fiber meal plans with eggs as the protein source:
- Boiled egg
- White toast with jam
- Poached chicken breast
- White rice
- Steamed carrots
- Baked white fish
- Mashed potatoes
- Cooked spinach
- Scrambled egg
- White toast
- Apple sauce
- Chicken noodle soup
- Saltine crackers
- Ground turkey patty
- White rice
- Cooked carrots
Are Eggs Good for an Upset Stomach and Nausea?
Eggs can sometimes help an upset stomach but may worsen it in some cases.
- Protein helps maintain blood sugar
- Nutrients support gut lining health
- Low fiber is easy on the stomach
- Provides energy
- Fatty for those with nausea
- Sulfur may cause gas and bloating
- Allergies or sensitivities could worsen nausea
It’s best to eat eggs in moderation for an upset stomach. Avoid fatty preparations and cook well. Stop eggs if they make nausea worse.
Are Eggs Good for Toddlers with Diarrhea?
Eggs can be a good food for toddlers over 12 months old recovering from diarrhea. Some key points:
- Wait until diarrhea resolves to reintroduce eggs
- Well-cooked scrambled or hard boiled eggs are best
- Start with 1-2 tbsp serving size mixed into other tolerated foods
- Monitor for allergies or sensitivities
- Avoid raw, undercooked eggs due to salmonella risk
- Don’t force eggs if refused. Offer again later.
Check with your pediatrician for their specific guidance on reintroducing eggs after toddler diarrhea. But eggs can provide protein for healing and growth.
What About Eggs for Diarrhea in Pregnancy?
Diarrhea during pregnancy can lead to dehydration and nutritional deficits. Eggs provide protein, vitamins and minerals. However:
- Avoid raw or undercooked eggs (salmonella risk).
- Cook thoroughly until whites and yolks are firm.
- Start with 1 egg per day and monitor symptoms.
- Avoid eating eggs every day due to cholesterol content.
- Check with your OB-GYN for their specific advice.
Pregnant women need extra protein. Cooked eggs can help meet this need if tolerated. But work closely with your prenatal care team when recovering from diarrhea while pregnant.
What About Egg Allergies?
Those with egg allergies should avoid eggs during diarrhea. Reactions could worsen diarrhea symptoms.
Signs of egg allergy may include:
- Skin reactions like hives, itching, eczema
- Face, lip or throat swelling
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Runny nose, congestion, sneezing
- Abdominal pain
If you have an egg allergy, strictly avoid eggs when recovering from diarrhea. Check labels for any egg ingredients. Inform restaurants to prevent cross contact.
If you may have an undiagnosed egg allergy, use caution when reintroducing them. Discuss allergy testing with your doctor.
Are Eggs Part of the BRAT Diet for Diarrhea?
The BRAT diet stands for:
This diet provides bland, low fiber foods to help control diarrhea.
Eggs are not officially part of the BRAT diet. However, they can be a good protein addition during the recovery process.
BRAT foods help:
- Bind stools
- Provide nutrients
- Reduce gut irritation
Eggs can supply protein without stimulating the gut. Include them in moderation as you expand your diet after diarrhea resolves.
Eggs can provide protein and nutrients that may aid diarrhea recovery. But they may also worsen diarrhea symptoms in some cases due to sensitivities, fat content, or allergy.
Reintroduce eggs slowly once diarrhea improves for several days. Start with cooked eggs in small amounts. Stop immediately if diarrhea worsens and try again later.
Eggs can be a beneficial food as part of balanced, low fiber anti-diarrheal diet for most individuals. But monitor your body’s response carefully and follow up with your healthcare provider if diarrhea is severe or persists.