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10 Everyday Foods That Destroy Your Digestive System

As you may know, a healthy, varied diet is crucial for health. It fights against diseases, provides you with nutrients, and ensures that your digestive system is healthy.

This is important for a multitude of reasons, especially since your digestive tract is primarily responsible for nutrient absorption. Because of that, there are many foods that can keep it healthy as well as damage it.

In fact, many everyday foods come with negative effects on your digestive system, damaging it in the long run.

So, which everyday foods should you avoid to keep your digestive system healthy?

Many foods that we eat every day these days contain substances and compounds that are damaging to your digestive system.

From highly-processed foods to even some seemingly innocent foods, there are some foods you should avoid if your goal is to keep your digestive system healthy.

How can food damage your digestive tract?

While most foods provide you with a lot of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that keep you healthy, some of them contain antinutrients or harmful compounds. 

These can potentially damage your digestive system, especially if you consume them too often.

Generally, if you follow a healthy, varied diet, you shouldn’t experience any negative health effects after eating these foods. 

But remember that it all applies only if you consume an otherwise healthy diet rich in healthy nutrients.

Otherwise, you might want to avoid these foods altogether.

10 Everyday Foods That Destroy Your Digestive System

1. Diet Soda

While diet soda is supposed to be a healthier, less sugary alternative to traditional carbonated beverages filled with added sugar, it’s not so healthy for your digestive system after all.

Diet soda contains artificial sweeteners, which have been shown to cause inflammation in your digestive tract. 

This inflammation can negatively impact the stomach lining, causing indigestion, bloating, and heartburn.

Diet soda is also a known trigger for acid reflux and GERD – two of the most common digestive system issues.

2. Red Meat

Generally, red meat isn’t bad for most people, as it’s rich in nutrients like iron, protein, zinc, niacin, vitamin B12, and many more. 

But excessive consumption of this type of animal protein can be damaging to your digestive system.

According to studies, consuming too much red meat can increase your risk of an inflammatory colon condition called diverticulitis. 

The symptoms of this condition include abdominal pain, nausea, and constipation.

Red meat is also an animal protein, which is one of the most difficult nutrients for your stomach to digest. Because of that, your digestive system needs to work extra hard and produce more gastric acid.

This, in turn, can lead to digestive tract inflammation and damage.

3. Frozen Meals

Most frozen meals like noodles, pizzas, pasta dishes, and fish meals are highly processed and contain a lot of additives and fat. 

These ingredients are hard to digest and cause inflammation.

Pre-packed frozen meals are also much lower in important nutrients, which means you’re only getting a lot of calories and no real nutrition.

While most of us often buy frozen meals for how convenient and easy they are to prepare, we all might be better off avoiding them as much as possible.

4. Sugary Beverages

While they are rather delicious and incredibly common, sugar beverages are harmful to the health of your digestive system.

Sugar is a hard nutrient to digest. In excessive amounts, it’s almost impossible to digest, which means it stays in your body and ferments. This leads to inflammation, as this sugar feeds the ‘bad’ gut bacteria.

This can lead to gas buildup, cramping, and abdominal pain. As a result, it’s best to avoid high-sugar drinks.

5. Breakfast Cereals

Most commonly sold breakfast cereals aren’t as healthy as we might all think. The brands sold in grocery stores tend to be lower in fiber, an important nutrient for digestive health. They’re also deficient in important vitamins and minerals.

Breakfast cereals are often loaded with added sugars that, as mentioned above, cause inflammation in your digestive tract.

Another thing to keep in mind about breakfast cereals is that they’re often stripped off of nutrients since they are refined carbs. 

This means that you’re getting a lot of calories for minimal nutrition.

6. Junk Food

While this might seem like an obvious one, many of us don’t realize just how bad junk food is for our stomachs. 

First of all, this food contains a lot of trans fat, which harms your digestive tract, inflaming it and slowing down digestion. 

This type of food also doesn’t contain many minerals and vitamins that could potentially offset the negative effects.

Junk food provides you with mostly empty calories, simple carbs, and lots of fat. All of this together is not only harmful to your digestive system but also to your overall health.

7. Coffee

Many people might not experience negative effects after drinking coffee, but it actually contains some compounds and substances that can trigger several digestive system issues.

The caffeine found in coffee increases the production of gastric acid, which is bad for people with acid reflux or GERD. 

This excess gastric acid isn’t that easily removed from your digestive tract, which means that it might rise up, causing heartburn.

Coffee, especially when drank on an empty stomach, can lead to inflammation and irritation in some people. 

This is particularly true if you drink your coffee with sugar and milk – two ingredients that tend to trigger digestive problems.

So, while most people should be perfectly fine with drinking coffee, overdoing it might be harmful.

8. Instant Noodles

Instant noodles are incredibly common, but they are yet another food that’s really bad for your digestive system.

According to studies, eating instant noodles stresses your stomach, forces it to produce more gastric acid, and leads to indigestion in some people. 

What’s more, instant noodles contain loads of preservatives and additives that are incredibly harmful.

In addition, instant noodles are often loaded with salt, sometimes containing as much as 23% of your daily recommended intake of dietary sodium.

Too much salt causes inflammation in your digestive tract, leads to bloating, and raises your blood pressure.

So, make sure to avoid instant noodles, especially those with a high sodium content

9. French Fries

French fries are a high-fat, high-calorie food that doesn’t provide you with a lot of minerals and vitamins.

This food is also low in fiber, which is an important nutrient for the health of your digestive system.

What’s more, a lot of store-bought French fries contain trans fat, which is the worst kind of fat you can consume. Studies show that trans fat increases your levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol and raises your risk of heart disease.

So, if you absolutely can’t live without French fries, you might be better off making them yourself using the oven or using sweet potatoes to get more nutrients.

Also, avoid adding too much salt to reduce the risk of inflammation and high blood pressure.

10. Alcohol

Just like you can imagine, alcohol isn’t particularly good for the health of your digestive system. 

Alcohol isn’t treated just like other nutrients you consume. It provides you with empty calories and no nutrients whatsoever.

In fact, alcohol can lead to permanent damage to your digestive tract. Once it enters the bloodstream, it can damage the mouth, throat, esophagus, and stomach.

It also negatively impacts your kidneys and liver, which are two organs responsible for removing toxins from your body.

Consuming too much alcohol too often also causes inflammation in your body and leads to dehydration, causing many more digestive system issues. It can also lead to multi-organ failure.

So, make sure to drink alcohol in moderation.

If these foods destroy your digestive system, should you eat them?

Even though these foods contain substances or compounds that may be bad for your digestive tract, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to eliminate them from your diet completely.

Some of these foods still contain some important nutrients that contribute to good health. So, including them in your diet can be very beneficial. The key is to practice moderation.

If you don’t overdo it or consume too many of these foods, you can safely eat them from time to time,

When it comes to some foods from this list, like frozen meals, fast food, and sugary beverages, it’s best to avoid them. But it’s OK to have some every once in a while.

One burger or soda won’t destroy your digestive system – it’s only bad if you eat or drink these too often.


Unfortunately, there are many foods that we consume on a daily basis that have damaging effects on our digestive system. 

Because of that, it might be best if you limit your consumption of these, especially if you suffer from some digestive system issues.

It’s OK to consume them on occasion, but you’re better off following a diet that limits your intake of these foods to keep your digestive system in top shape.

At the end of the day, remember that it’s all about moderation.

Sources: PMC, National Library of Medicine, and Science Direct