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Does Sauerkraut Give You Diarrhea? The Comprehensive Guide



Raw sauerkraut is packed full of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and probiotics, which trigger a change in the gut flora - a process that is often accompanied by diarrhea. This can be quite confusing considering one of the major reasons why people consume sauerkraut is to improve stool consistency and overall digestive health. This guide takes a detailed look into sauerkraut, its interactions with the digestive system, and how to prevent diarrhea from sauerkraut.


What Is Sauerkraut?

Sauerkraut is a fermented dish that's prepared by pickling shredded cabbages in salt brine for up to 20 days. During the fermentation stage, bacteria and yeast cells, which are naturally on organically grown cabbages, will begin breaking down the carbs in the shredded cabbages releasing lactic acid.

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What Is Diarrhea?

Diarrhea refers to the excretion of watery and loose stool during a bowel movement. Diarrhea is quite common and can go away on its own after 2 to 3 days. When left uncontrolled, diarrhea can lead to loss of essential nutrients and dehydration. If you are experiencing diarrhea for more than 3 days,  you should seek medical attention immediately and keep rehydrated with plenty of water. while there are many causes of diarrhea.

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5 Reasons Sauerkraut Could Be Giving You Diarrhea

Excessive Probiotic Intake - The consumption of raw sauerkraut introduces billions of probiotics into the digestive system. These trigger a cascading change in gut bio, which affects the absorption of water in the large intestine leading to diarrhea.

Excessive Dietary Fiber Intake - Consumption of too much dietary fiber can trigger diarrhea. Dietary fiber is water-soluble and draws in fluids, consuming too much of it leads to watery stool and dehydration.

Allergic Reaction - Sauerkraut has an above-normal concentration of histamine - the compound that triggers an immune response to allergens. When the sauerkraut is consumed, the body absorbs the histamines, which can then trigger an inflammatory response in the intestines leading to diarrhea.

Contamination - The presence of harmful contaminants in fermented sauerkraut can trigger an adverse reaction in the digestive system leading to diarrhea. When your digestive system senses the presence of harmful contaminants in the digestive system, it will try to flush them out quickly via diarrhea.

Consuming Too Much Too Fast - Consuming too much sauerkraut can trigger diarrhea, especially if it's your first time trying out sauerkraut.  

Read more on the effects of sauerkraut:


Ways To Prevent Diarrhea From Sauerkraut

1.  Eat Smaller Servings

Starting off with small serving amounts will give your digestive system time to adapt to a sauerkraut diet. The daily intake can then be scaled up as needed over a couple of days to avoid any adverse effects on your digestive system.

2.  Don't Eat Raw Sauerkraut

Raw sauerkraut contains probiotics that can trigger diarrhea; this can be avoided by cooking the sauerkraut before eating it. However, it's essential to note that cooking sauerkraut exposes it to heat, which kills off live probiotics and eliminates any probiotic benefits in the food.


Alternate Fermented Foods To Sauerkraut

Kombucha - Kombucha is a fermented drink that's prepared by aerobically fermenting sweetened tea in the presence of a SCOBY. The SCOBY introduces billions of live bacteria and yeast cells in the brew, which feed on the sugar and caffeine in the tea. The resulting brew is not only rich in probiotics but also free of Lacto bacteria.

Water Kefir - Water kefir relies on kefir grains to introduce a culture of lactic and acetic acid bacteria that break down the sugar in the water giving the drink its characteristic fizziness.

Strong Belgian Beers - Strong beers, particularly Belgian ones, undergo double fermentation, which increases the flavor and probiotic content. However, it's important to remember that alcohol can be harmful to the gut bio if consumed in excessive amounts.

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Is It Good To Eat Sauerkraut When You Have Diarrhea?

Research has shown that the probiotics found in sauerkraut can alleviate diarrhea and other digestive complications arising from gut bio imbalance. However, if you start getting diarrhea after eating sauerkraut, you should stop and seek your doctor's opinion.


Sauerkraut Juice

What Is It?

Sauerkraut juice is the brine that's leftover after sauerkraut has been fermented. This liquid consists of cabbage water, salt, and probiotics from the fermentation process.

Can It Give You Diarrhea?

Yes, just like sauerkraut, its juice is also rich in probiotics, which can trigger an adverse reaction in the digestive system leading to diarrhea.


Common Questions

Why Do I Get Diarrhea When I Eat Sauerkraut?

Diarrhea after consuming sauerkraut is mostly as a result of excessive probiotic and dietary fiber intake.

Does Sauerkraut Make You Poop?

Yes, sauerkraut is rich in dietary fiber, which helps in bulking up stool and makes you poop regularly.

Does Sauerkraut Help Diarrhea?

Under the right circumstances, sauerkraut can help alleviate diarrhea due to its dietary fiber content, which, in the right amounts, will help bulk up the stool.

Can Fermented Foods Give You Diarrhea?

Yes, fermented foods are rich in probiotics, which, when consumed in large quantities, can trigger diarrhea. Fermented food is also categorized as high-risk food due to the high likelihood of contamination with harmful bacteria occurring during fermentation. These harmful cultures can also trigger diarrhea.

What Happens If You Eat Too Much Fermented Food?

Consuming too much-fermented food will lead to severe side effects such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Should You Eat Fermented Food Every Day?

It's perfectly healthy to eat fermented food every day as long as you stick to proper serving amounts. Seek your doctor's opinion on the best serving amounts for each fermented food variety.

Why Do Fermented Foods Upset My Stomach?

Fermented foods can cause stomach upsets due to their high probiotic content. Fermented foods can also cause stomach upsets if they are contaminated with harmful cultures.

Is Sauerkraut Anti-Inflammatory?

Yes, sauerkraut contains billions of live probiotics that have an anti-inflammatory effect.

How Do You Know If Fermented Food Is Bad?

Fermented food will develop a rancid smell when it goes bad and also changes color. Mold can also be seen growing on the surface of the fermented food once it goes bad.


  • I already knew I wanted to add more fermented foods to my diet and love making things from scratch, so I decided to give sauerkraut a try. Since I have never eaten it before, I wasn’t sure what it should taste like. After a week or so I tried it. Crunchy and salts, barely tart. I decided it should ferment longer, and bought some deli kraut for comparison. Another 10 days and it seemed like the taste was just right. Saltiness decreases, tartness increased, and shreds still delightfully crunchy. So I dished up a generous serving.

    Well…. After an hour or two I started feeling a little bloated. I has already sampled my homemade kraut and the store-bought a number of times with no unexpected results. So maybe something else in my diet was bothering….

    The next morning I woke up early with some intestinal discomfort and raced to the commode. What a disappointment! How could such a wonderful food do this to me?

    Thank you for your article!! I now realize that I probably overdid it since I am very new to this food. I will step back and dose with a much smaller portion until I build up my tolerance. If it wasn’t for your thorough explanation, I might have sadly given up.

    BTW, I eat other cultured products and copious amounts of fiber already. I can consume an entire bunch of kale or head of romaine for a salad with no reaction. But the combination of fresh live probiotics plus the leaf fiber must have been too much.

    Thanks again for the article.

    - Dee
  • I ate a Ruben sandwich with a portion of sour kraut at lunchtime and had severe diarrhea and cramps four several hours .i became weak and dehydrated so I rested and drank Gatorade. . I had to leave work early that day and actually had a difficult time driving myself home from work. I took a small dose of phenergan that did improve my symptoms. I was able to work the next day. I feel like I want to try sour kraut again for a good cleaning. Your article helped me to understand to eat small portions . Thank you .

    - Kim
  • Superb article!!! Simple, clear, and yet thorough enough to answer my questions. The layout and writing structure is also excellent. I really benefitted from the way you explained the issues!

    - Steve
  • This was very helpful. I keep getting diarrhea from eating raw saurkraut. I wondered if that was the culprit. Many of the questions and answers were very useful.

    - Terrenia
  • You’ve explained why sauerkraut can cause diarrhea, but nothing was said about anyway to stop the diarrhea after it starts. I’m afraid I may get dehydrated and have an electrolyte imbalance from eating too much. This wasn’t covered other than to see your doctor.

    - Amy Hancock

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