Foods That Can Break Your Gut Health

If you’re dealing with an unhappy gut, the first place to look is the food you are putting into it every day.

Food can be like medicine, but some foods can cause imbalances that impact on health. Over the long-term, what you eat can cause disease.It’s important to remember that not everyone will react the same to every food. But if you’re experiencing gut issues, these are some of the foods you’ll want to investigate further.

Foods you’re intolerant to

This is different for every person. But foods that you react to will cause issues in the gut. They are the foods that can break your gut health. When we consume foods that we’re intolerant to, there can be side effects such as bad bacteria overgrowth that can cause even more symptoms.

Some people are even intolerant to the healthy gut foods we discussed earlier. For example, people who are sensitive to histamine-containing foods might react to fermented foods. In this case, it can cause inflammation inside of having the healing effect we’re looking for.


It is the most controversial compound in the nutrition world. But if you are experiencing issues with gut health, gluten is something to consider as a potential issue. If you have Coeliac disease, it can cause widespread damage. But even if you are only gluten intolerant, your gut can still become inflamed.


As one of the most common sensitivities out there, dairy often plays a role in an unhealthy gut. Because some people don’t experience symptoms immediately after consuming it, they may be unaware of the issue.

Dairy intolerance can be due to lactose, casein, or dairy in general. But no matter what the cause, if your body reacts to it, your gut will suffer. Try switching it for a dairy-free option such as almond or coconut.

Added sugar 

Not all sugars are bad. If they are natural whole foods such as fruit, they can be quite beneficial. But when it comes to added sugars, there can be issues. Unlike whole food sources, added sugars are not bound to anything like fibre or antioxidants. The ‘bad’ bacteria and yeasts in the gut can use them as fuel, encouraging overgrowth of these nasty bugs.

But a word of warning: you don’t want to switch sugars for artificial sweeteners. They can be just as bad for gut health, or even worse. Instead, stick to fruits as your source of sweetness.

Processed foods

As a rule of thumb, the fewer processed foods you consume, the better for your gut health. Processed foods contain additives that can have many nasty side effects for the gut.

Most additives are listed as numbers rather than names, so you may want to keep track of those that you react to. But the best way to support your gut is to limit the processed foods and focus on whole foods instead.


Technically not a food, but alcohol is another irritant for the gut. It strains the liver and can inflame the gut. Alcohol might be enjoyable, but it has little to no nutritional benefits. Plus most alcoholic drinks are also high in added sugars, so it’s a double whammy on the gut. If you can’t go without completely, stick to red wine – it has a few antioxidants to help repair the damage.

Are you looking to create a plan to rebuild your gut health and identify those foods that can break your gut health? Dr. Rebecca Farthing (osteopath & naturopath) can sit down with you and get your plan of attack right for you. 

This blog post is an educational tool only.  It is not a replacement for medical advice from a registered and qualified doctor or health professional.

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