Can you get diarrhea from eating too much pomegranate?

Pomegranates are a nutritious and delicious fruit that have become increasingly popular in recent years. However, some people report experiencing digestive issues like diarrhea after eating pomegranates. This article will examine whether eating too many pomegranates can really cause diarrhea.

What are pomegranates?

Pomegranates are a fruit that originated in the Middle East and South Asia but are now grown all over the world. They are about the size of an apple with a tough red rind surrounding hundreds of edible ruby-colored seeds called arils.

Pomegranates have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. In recent times, they have gained popularity as a “superfood” due to their impressive nutrient profile:

  • High in antioxidants like polyphenols
  • Good source of vitamins C, K, folate, and potassium
  • Contains fiber, protein, and beneficial plant compounds

The juice and seeds are used to make grenadine syrup, pomegranate molasses, teas, and extracts that are used in everything from salad dressings to cocktails.

Do pomegranates commonly cause diarrhea?

Pomegranates contain sugars, acids, and fiber that can cause digestive upset if too much is consumed, especially in people with sensitive stomachs. However, diarrhea is not commonly reported after eating pomegranates.

One study looked at the effects of drinking 8 ounces (250 ml) of pomegranate juice daily for 4 weeks. They found no significant differences in digestion between the pomegranate juice and control groups.

Anecdotal reports of diarrhea after eating large amounts of pomegranates also exist. But there are currently no scientific studies that prove pomegranates are likely to cause diarrhea.

Why might pomegranates cause diarrhea in some people?

There are a few reasons why pomegranates may cause diarrhea in sensitive individuals if too much is eaten:

Fruit sugars

Pomegranates contain the sugars glucose, sucrose, and fructose. While not usually an issue in moderation, eating a lot of pomegranate arils, juice, or extract could result in excess sugars in the digestive tract. This may draw fluid into the intestines by a process called osmosis, resulting in diarrhea.


Pomegranates also contain citric and malic acid, which give them a tangy, tart taste. Too much acidity in the gut can irritate the intestines in some people and cause diarrhea.

Fiber content

The edible seeds and juice of pomegranates also provide a source of fiber. A high intake of fiber can help prevent constipation but may also loosen stools. Consuming a very large amount of pomegranate fiber could potentially cause diarrhea.


Pomegranates contain fructans, a type of carbohydrate that some people have difficulty digesting. Those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are most susceptible to fructans. Excessive intake can result in bloating, gas, and diarrhea in these individuals.

Individual sensitivities

Some people may be extra sensitive or even allergic to compounds found in pomegranates. An allergy is rare but could cause diarrhea along with other symptoms like itching or hives.

How much pomegranate is too much?

Most healthy adults can enjoy pomegranates as part of a balanced diet without issue. The fibers, sugars, and acids are generally well tolerated in moderation.

There are currently no official recommendations for how much pomegranate is safe to eat per day. Up to about 1 cup (174 grams) of seeds or 8 ounces (250 ml) of juice is not likely to cause problems for most people.

Eating several whole pomegranates in one sitting would be excessive for many people. This equates to over 3 cups (522 grams) of seeds, which provide:

  • Over 700 calories
  • 115 grams sugar
  • 44 grams fiber
  • Nearly 3,000 mg polyphenols

Consuming this much pomegranate is linked to digestive upset and diarrhea, especially for those with sensitivities.

Tips to prevent pomegranate-related diarrhea

You can enjoy pomegranates as part of a healthy diet and avoid diarrhea by following a few simple tips:

  • Drink pomegranate juice diluted with water, not straight.
  • Start with small servings like 1⁄4 cup (43 grams) seeds or 4 ounces (125 ml) juice to assess tolerance.
  • Combine pomegranate seeds with other fruits or greens versus eating alone.
  • Avoid excess fiber from seeds by using extract supplements or juice.
  • Pair pomegranate with foods high in probiotics like yogurt.
  • Limit high-fiber fruits, veggies, and whole grains at the same meal.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.

What to do if you get diarrhea from pomegranates

Diarrhea after eating pomegranates will usually resolve on its own within 12-24 hours as the food passes through your system.

You can help manage diarrhea by:

  • Drinking plenty of water and electrolyte drinks like coconut water or diluted sports drinks.
  • Eating the BRAT diet – bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.
  • Taking over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medication like Imodium or Pepto-Bismol.
  • Avoiding dairy, caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, and other triggers.
  • Getting rest until symptoms subside.

See a doctor if symptoms last more than 2 days or are accompanied by severe pain, bloody stool, fever, or dehydration.

Who should be cautious with pomegranates?

The following groups may be more prone to adverse effects from overdoing pomegranates:

  • Individuals with IBS, IBD, or chronic digestive conditions
  • People with fructose malabsorption
  • Those with diarrhea-predominant IBS may be sensitive to the fiber
  • Children and elderly who are more susceptible to dehydration from diarrhea
  • Anyone on medications that can cause diarrhea like antibiotics

These individuals may need to be extra mindful of portions or avoid pomegranate altogether if it is a trigger food.

The bottom line

Pomegranates are considered safe for most people. But eating large amounts may provoke digestive upset and diarrhea, especially in sensitive individuals.

Sticking to moderate portions of seeds or juice diluted with water is unlikely to cause issues. Avoid overdoing it, and be cautious if you have a history of diarrhea or intestinal problems.

Monitor your personal tolerance, drink plenty of fluids, and reduce intake if diarrhea occurs to enjoy pomegranates safely.

Nutrition Facts of Pomegranates

Here is a nutrition facts table comparing 1 cup of pomegranate seeds (174g) versus 1 cup of pomegranate juice (248g) so you can see the calorie and nutrient differences:

Nutrient 1 cup pomegranate seeds 1 cup pomegranate juice
Calories 234 134
Total Fat 2g 0g
Sodium 8mg 8mg
Potassium 666mg 579mg
Total Carbs 57g 33g
Fiber 11g 0g
Sugar 44g 31g
Protein 4g 1g

As shown, the seeds are higher in calories, fat, fiber, and protein compared to the juice. Keep this in mind when considering portion sizes.

The takeaway

Pomegranates are packed with nutrients and make a healthy addition to most diets. Consuming excessive portions on a regular basis may cause diarrhea in some individuals.

Stick to recommended serving sizes, dilute juice with water, and reduce intake if you experience digestive upset. Be extra cautious if you have a sensitive stomach or condition that predisposes you to diarrhea.

Otherwise, both pomegranate seeds and juice can be enjoyed in moderation by most people without issue.

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