Food Side Effects: Possible Negative Consequences Of Eating
Interesting facts. Did you know?..
- Persons with a history of suicide attempt do not eat enough of
polyunsaturated fat and fiber
- Children often develop tolerance to cow's milk, egg, wheat by school
age, whereas allergies to nuts, fish and seafood are generally not outgrown
no matter at what age they develop
When you feel like eating something and think of food, what comes to mind first? Probably it's the taste, odor or color. Those
who have to look after their weight will think of the portion size, many
think of things like energy, fats, sugars, vitamins or other nutrients.
But do you know that the food we eat may cause side effects - something that is usually attributed to drugs and medicines? And we
are not talking about spoiled or poor quality food. Freshly harvested or
just cooked food may also cause side effects, some are serious, some are
just disturbing, and some may put you into embarrassing situation.
However, it doesn't mean that you should avoid the food represented on
this list. These foods may cause side effects. Most
effects do not occur in everyone and they occur not every time you
eat such food. And besides that, the significance of most foods (especially
fruits, vegetables and even chocolate) outweighs the possible undesirable effects
they may cause.
Here is a list of side effects that may be caused by the food.
In theory, any food can cause an allergy. But in fact just a handful
of them are to blame for 90% of allergic reactions.
Most people with food allergies are allergic to fewer than 4 foods. The
foods most commonly causing allergic reactions are:
- Shellfish (including mussels, crab and shrimps)
- Tree nuts
Other foods that may cause allergy are:
- Kiwi fruit
- Chilli peppers
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
2 Food-Drug Interactions
Many foods and beverages may change the effects of medications, leading to the loss of the therapeutic effects or increased side effects. The change is called food-drug interaction.
Some common and significant food-drug interactions are:
- Grapefruit juice contains flavinoids and compounds called furanocoumarins, which alter the metabolism of medications by blocking the activity of cytochrome P-450. A single glass of grapefruit juice can significantly affect the action of calcium channel blockers, statins, neuropsychiatric drugs, and antihistamines 
- Green leafy vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale) and other Vitamin-K rich foods interfer with the effectiveness and safety of warfarin 
- Tyramine-containing foods (e.g. aged cheeses; dried, fermented, smoked, and pickled meats and fish) when consumed during treatment with antibiotic linexolid (Zyvox) or MAO inhibitors can raise blood pressure to dangerous levels.
3 Bad Breath
There are specific foods that may cause bad breath. This is because they
contain volatile sulfur compounds - the culprit in causing bad breath. These
foods have odors which are picked up by the blood system and are exhaled
through the lungs up for several days after a meal:
- Dairy foods (in lactose intolerant persons)
4 Body Odor
According to research, red
meat and processed foods have a negative impact on body odor
Many people experience diarrhea after eating the following:
- Sorbitol containing foods - apple juice, pear juice, and some mixed
- Unripe fruits
- Raw vegetables
- Dairy products
- Fatty foods
- Sesame seed oils
The most common cause of constipation are lack of fiber and a lot of animal fat. Constipation may be caused by:
- Meat - particularly beef, pork
- Refined grains - biscuits, macaroni, cookies, pastries, bread,
pasta, pretzels, rolls
- Starchy foods - potatoes, rice, corn, beans
- Dairy products - milk, cheese, ice cream
- Prepackaged and fast foods - hamburgers, fries, hotdogs, pizza, chips
- Products heavy in sugar
7 Gas, Flatulence, Abdominal
Most foods that contain carbohydrates can cause gas. By contrast, fats
and proteins cause little gas. Foods that commonly cause gas are:
- Raffinose containing foods - beans, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli,
asparagus, whole grains
- Lactose containing foods - milk, cheese, ice cream, bread, cereal, salad
- Fructose containing foods - onions, artichokes, pears, wheat
- Sorbitol containing foods - apples, pears, peaches, prunes
- Starches - potatoes, corn, noodles (Rice is the only starch that does
not cause gas)
- Foods high in fiber - oat bran, wheat bran
8 Frequent Urination
Many foods high in vitamin C have natural diuretic properties and can lead
to frequent bathroom visits.
- Cranberry juice
- Coffee (in moderate amounts)
9 Edema, Swelling, Water Retention
Foods high in salt, sodium or sugar may cause the body to retain considerable
fluids and worsen edema. The body needs a constant concentration of salt
in its tissues. When excess salt is taken in, the body dilutes it by retaining
fluid. Foods that commonly cause water retention are:
- Salty foods - olives, pickles, soy sauce, canned soups, bacon, sausages,
ham, salted nuts, processed meats, chips, pretzels, smoked fish
- Caffeine (too much of it)
10 Heartburn & Acid Reflux
There is a relatively long list of foods that cause heartburn. Some foods
cause the lower esophageal sphincter - a muscle that helps to keep stomach
contents out of the esophagus - to become weaker, and some cause the stomach
to produce more acid than usual. Both of these problems can increase acid
reflux. Other foods can further irritate the lining of the esophagus after
it's been damaged by reflux. Most common food triggers for heartburn are:
- Citrus fruits - lemons, grapefruits and oranges
- Fried and fatty foods
- french-fries, potato chips, hash browns, fried clams, bacon, sausage,
- Carbonated beverages (such as soda)
- Spicy foods - burritos, tacos, curry, homos, Cajun foods
- Peppermint and spear mint
Interesting facts. Did you know?..
- People who aren't overweight eat more fruit and fiber than overweight
people. Obese people are more likely than normal-weight people to injure
- Fast food is high in energy and
low in essential micronutrient density. Frequent fast food consumption
may contribute to weight gain
Certain foods and drinks act as powerful stimulants to the body and hence
are a direct cause of stress. These foods are called "pseudostressors" or
- Caffeine containing foods (coffee, tea, colas and chocolates)
- Refined sugar
- Wite flour
- Saturated fats
- Processed foods, such as junk foods and fast foods,
contain synthetic additives - preservatives, emulsifiers, thickeners,
stabilizers and flavor-enhancers
There are both foods that can help you fall asleep and the ones that will
keep you awake. Sleepy foods contain a chemical - an
amino acid - called tryptophan. And foods that can interfere with sleep
- Caffeine containing - coffee, tea, cola, cocoa, chocolate
- Fatty or spicy food
- Food additives (MSG, artificial colours, flavourings)
13 Sleepiness ("Sleepy
High-carbohydrate, low-protein combination is thought to increase the availability
of tryptophan to the brain, which helps it make more melatonin and serotonin.
The following foods may produce sleep-inducing effect:
- Dairy products: cottage cheese, cheese, milk
- Soy products: soy milk, tofu, soybean nuts
- Whole grains
- Sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds
14 Gastritis, Peptic Ulcers
Tip: Green tea drinking (more than 10 cups per
day) prevents chronic atrophic gastritis (CAG)
Although diet does not directly cause gastritis or peptic ulcers, it may
increase the risk of developing them and make them worse. Certain foods
may increase the stomach acids and irritate the stomach lining. Fast food
may aggravate gastritis. These contain sodium and calcium propionate, which,
over a period of time, can damage the stomach lining.
Foods that often irritate the stomach lining are:
- Spicy foods - black and red pepper, chilies, chili powder, and hot peppers
- Very acidic foods - coffee, lemon, pineapple, orange, tomato
- Fast food such as pastries, buns, pizzas
15 High Blood Pressure
Tip: Dark chocolate may be a mild hypotensive (blood-pressure
high fruit and vegetable intakes may be associated with a lower increase
in BP with aging
Foods that may cause high blood pressure are:
- Fatty foods
16 High Cholesterol (Hyperlipidemia)
High intake of saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol increases blood cholesterol levels, which, in turn, may increase the risk
of coronary heart disease.
Saturated fats tend to raise both HDL ("good") and
LDL ("bad") cholesterol.
Trans fats are produced by heating liquid vegetable oils in the presence
of hydrogen. Trans fats are even
worse for cholesterol levels than saturated fats because they raise LDL
and lower HDL cholesterol.
Scientific studies have shown that there is a weak relationship between
the amount of cholesterol a person consumes and their blood cholesterol
levels. However, for some people, reducing the amount
of cholesterol in the diet has a small but helpful impact on blood
levels. And the American
Heart Association recommends that you limit your average daily cholesterol
intake to less than 300 milligrams. And if you have heart disease, the recommendation
is to limit your daily intake to less than 200 milligrams.
Foods high in saturated fats:
- Fatty meats (beef, pork, lamb)
- Skin and fat of poultry
- Processed meats (bologna, hotdogs, bacon, sausages)
- High-fat dairy products (whole milk, cream, ice cream, whole-milk cheeses,
- Palm oil
- Coconut oil
- Egg yolks
Foods high in trans fats:
- Hydrogenated vegetable oils, vegetable shortenings, margarines
- Bakery goods (cookies, crackers, cakes, donuts)
- Fried foods (French fries, chips)
17 Kidney Stones
In general, certain foods increase the risk for stones, but only in people
who have genetic or medical vulnerability. People whose diets are high in
animal protein and insufficient in fiber and fluids may be at higher risk for stones.
A number of foods contain oxalic acid, but there is no proof that such
foods make any major contribution to calcium oxalate stones in people without
other risk factors. However, several studies have shown that increasing
dietary calcium and restricting salt, animal protein, and foods rich in
oxalate can help prevent calcium oxalate stones from returning.
Foods associated with an increased risk of kidney stones are:
Interesting to know: A high dietary calcium intake is strongly
suspected of increasing the risk of kidney stones. However, a high dietary
calcium intake appears to decrease the risk of symptomatic kidney stones,
because calcium can reduce the urinary excretion of oxalate.
Consumption of coffee, tea, beer, and wine decreases the risk of stone
18 Migraine & Headache
Foods may trigger not only migraine but also tension type headache attacks.
Studies that linked food with the migraines date back to the 1920's when
researchers began to examine and manipulate the diets of people suffering
from migraines. Certain foods often cause headache because of their high
content of the amino acids tyramine and phenyethyamine. The tyramine increases
blood flow to the brain which can lead to a headache. Other foods cause
headache in most vulnerable people because nitrites are added.
"Headache foods" are:
- Red wine
- Aged cheese - Swiss,
Blue cheese, Cheddar, Mozzarella, Stilton, Parmesan
- Chocolate (high contaent of phenylethylamine)
- Ice cream, milk
- Citrus fruits - lemons, grapefruits, oranges
- Bananas, figs, raisins, papayas, avocados (especially if overripe)
- Chicken liver
- Vinegar and pickled food
- Fatty foods
- Nitrite-containing foods
- bacon, hot dogs, salami, sausage, bologna, lox
- Nuts (especially cashews or almonds)
- MSG (monosodium glutamate)
19 Arthritis, Gout
Gout, a type of rheumatoid arthritis, gets aggravated
when sharp crystal shards of uric acid collect between joints and cause
painful inflammation. The body breaks down foods containing purines - an
organic substance - into uric acid, usually a neutral but unnecessary chemical
that is then filtered out of the bloodstream by the kidneys. Frequent and high intake of purine-rich foods can cause or aggravate gout.
Research has shown that higher levels of meat and seafood consumption are
associated with an increased risk of gout, whereas a higher level of consumption
of low-fat dairy products is associated with a decreased risk. Moderate
intake of purine-rich vegetables or protein is not associated with an increased
risk of gout.
- Fatty red meats (beef, lamb), pork
- Organ meat (kidney, heart, and liver)
- Certain seafood (sardines, herring, mackerel, tuna, anchovy)
- High-fat dairy (whole milk, ice cream, butter, cheese)
- Fried and orocessed foods
- Synthetic sweeteners
Some foods have inflammation-inducing properties. Foods that are high in
saturated fat and trans fatty acids increase the sebum production in the
body, which in turn increases acne.
- Dairy products[11-12]
- High-glycemic index foods
- White sugar
- White flour (white bread, french bread pasta, puffed wheat)
- Jelly beans
- Waffles, wafer biscuits
- Foods with high salt content
- Pre-packaged puddings
- Sandwich meat
- Canned soups, stews or vegetables
21 Yeast Infection (Candidiasis)
Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of the normal yeast in the
body. So foods that the yeast is feeding on can promote yeast growth and
lead to an infection:
- Hydrogenated oils
- White sugar
- Brown sugar
- Dried fruits and fruit juice
- Vinegar and condiments containing vinegar (ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise,
- Refined carbohydrates
- White flour
- White rice
- White potatoes
- Yeast and yeast containing products
- Fruit skins
- Malt beverages
- MSG (often extracted from autolyzed yeast extract or from wheat)
- Yeast Extract
22 Memory & Cognition
Interesting facts. Did you know?..
- Fatty fish and marine omega-3 fatty acids consumption may reduce the risk of impaired cognitive function, whereas intake of
cholesterol and saturated fats can increase the risk
Among older adults whose diets are high in saturated and trans fats,
a high intake of foods containing copper may cause a fast decline in their
ability to think, learn, and remember, according to the study from Rush
University Medical Center in Chicago.
Other research data have linked fat intake, especially that of saturated
and trans fats, to Alzheimer's disease and other forms of cognitive difficulties.
Foods linked to memory and cognition problems are:
- Saturated and trans fats
- High cholesterol food
- Organ meats (liver, kidneys)
23 Tooth Decay (Dental Caries)
Research indicates that a higher intake of sugars increases the probability
of caries on all surfaces.
Foods high in sugar are:
- Sticky sweets (dried fruits, sugar-coated cereal, cake, cookies, caramel,
- Peanut butter
- Starchy foods (bread, rice)
- Soft drinks
24 Tooth Staining
Well-known chromogenic foods are:
- Red wine
Probably the most well-known nausea-causing "food" is alcohol,
especially if overused. Other foods that may cause nausea are:
- Dairy products (Lactose intolerance)
- Wheat products (Gluten intolerance)
Common foods that contain photosensitizing agents are:
- Citrus fruits
If you where cooking something with onions, you probably know what this
is. You slice an onion and shed tears as a result.
- Salty foods - bacon, ham, sausages, beef burgers, smoked fish, pickled
foods, salted nuts
- Fatty foods
- Spicy foods
- Sugary foods and drinks (candy, chocolate, pastry)
29 Yellow Skin Pigmentation (Carotenemia)
Eating too many foods high in beta-carotene, can cause a condition called
carotenemia. High levels of beta-carotene can cause a yellowish discoloration
of the skin, most noticeable on the palms and soles. Unlike jaundice, though,
carotenemia does not cause yellowing of the whites of the eyes. Foods containing
high amounts of beta-carotene are:
- Sweet potatoes
- Citrus fruits
30 Pink Urine
Eating beets often results in passing of pink or red urine.
31 Fertility Problems in Men
Soybeans and soy products are very rich sources of isoflavone phytoestrogens -- compounds with estrogenic activity. These soy phytoestrogens may interfere with male reproductive function resulting in a small decrease in sperm count and fertility[38-39].
32 Weight Gain
Actually, this is not a side effect, but a direct effect of eating, particularly high-energy
foods or simply consuming more calories than you burn during the day. Weight gvain probably, the most undesirable food side effect.
33 Urine Smell
After eating asparagus your urine may have strange pungent smell.
Sources & References
- 1. Peatfield RC, Glover V, Littlewood JT, Sandler
M, Clifford Rose F. The prevalence of diet-induced migraine. Cephalalgia.
- 2. Foods allergy
- 3. Choi HK, Atkinson K, Karlson EW, Willett W, Curhan
G. Purine-rich foods, dairy and protein intake, and the risk of gout in
men. N Engl J Med. 2004 Mar 11;350(11):1093-103.
- 4. Steffen LM, Kroenke CH, Yu X, Pereira MA, Slattery
ML, Van Horn L, Gross MD, Jacobs DR Jr. Associations of plant food, dairy
product, and meat intakes with 15-y incidence of elevated blood pressure
in young black and white adults: the Coronary Artery Risk Development
in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Dec;82(6):1169-77;
- 5. Ka T, Moriwaki Y, Takahashi S, Yamamoto A, Tsutsumi
Z, Inokuchi T, Yamamoto T. Effects of long-term beer ingestion on plasma
concentrations and urinary excretion of purine bases. Horm Metab Res.
- 6. Greenwood CE, Winocur G. Learning and memory impairment
in rats fed a high saturated fat diet. Behav Neural Biol. 1990 Jan;53(1):74-87.
- 7. Greenwood CE, Winocur G. Cognitive impairment
in rats fed high-fat diets: a specific effect of saturated fatty-acid
intake. Behav Neurosci. 1996 Jun;110(3):451-9.
- 8. Zhang J, Li Y, Torres ME. How does a suicide attempter
eat differently from others? Comparison of macronutrient intakes. Nutrition.
- 9. Kalmijn S, van Boxtel MP, Ocke' M, Verschuren
WM, Kromhout D, Launer LJ. Dietary intake of fatty acids and fish in relation
to cognitive performance at middle age. Neurology. 2004 Jan 27;62(2):275-80.
- 10. Bowman SA, Vinyard BT. Fast food consumption
of U.S. adults: impact on energy and nutrient intakes and overweight status.
J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Apr;23(2):163-8.
- 11. Adebamowo CA, Spiegelman D, Berkey CS, Danby
FW, Rockett HH, Colditz GA, Willett WC, Holmes MD. Milk consumption and
acne in adolescent girls. Dermatol Online J. 2006 May 30;12(4):1.
- 12. Adebamowo CA, Spiegelman D, Danby FW, Frazier
AL, Willett WC, Holmes MD. High school dietary dairy intake and teenage
acne. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2005 Feb;52(2):207-14.
- 13. Smith RN, Mann NJ, Braue A, Ma"kela"inen H,
Varigos GA. A low-glycemic-load diet improves symptoms in acne vulgaris
patients: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jul;86(1):107-15.
- 14. Sicherer SH. Manifestations of food allergy:
evaluation and management. Am Fam Physician. 1999 Jan 15;59(2):415-24,
- 15. Havlicek J, Lenochova P. The effect of meat
consumption on body odor attractiveness. Chem Senses. 2006 Oct;31(8):747-52.
- 16. Andiran F, Dayi S, Mete E. Cows milk consumption
in constipation and anal fissure in infants and young children. J Paediatr
Child Health. 2003 Jul;39(5):329-31.
- 17. Gas in the Digestive Tract. National Digestive
Diseases Information Clearinghouse.
- 18. Shibata K, Moriyama M, Fukushima T, Kaetsu A,
Miyazaki M, Une H. Green tea consumption and chronic atrophic gastritis:
a cross-sectional study in a green tea production village. J Epidemiol.
- 19. Schroder H, Fito M, Covas MI. Association of
fast food consumption with energy intake, diet quality, body mass index
and the risk of obesity in a representative Mediterranean population.
Br J Nutr. 2007 Jul 12;:1-7.
- 20. Peatfield RC. Relationships between food, wine,
and beer-precipitated migrainous headaches. Headache. 1995 Jun;35(6):355-7.
- 21. Millichap JG, Yee MM. The diet factor in pediatric
and adolescent migraine. Pediatr Neurol. 2003 Jan;28(1):9-15.
- 22. Schonfeld J, Evans DF. Fat, spices and gastro-oesophageal
reflux. Z Gastroenterol. 2007 Feb;45(2):171-5.
- 23. Taubert D, Roesen R, Lehmann C, Jung N, Schomig
E. Effects of habitual cocoa intake on blood pressure and bioactive
nitric oxide: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2007 Jul 4;298(1):49-60.
- 24. Dauchet L, Kesse-Guyot E, Czernichow S, Bertrais
S, Estaquio C, Pe'neau S, Vergnaud AC, Chat-Yung S, Castetbon K, Deschamps
V, Brindel P, Hercberg S. Dietary patterns and blood pressure change over
5-y follow-up in the SU.VI.MAX cohort. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jun;85(6):1650-6.
- 25. Massey LK, Roman-Smith H, Sutton RA.Effect of
dietary oxalate and calcium on urinary oxalate and risk of formation of
calcium oxalate kidney stones. J Am Diet Assoc. 1993 Aug;93(8):901-6.
- 26. Borghi L, Schianchi T, Meschi T, Guerra A, Allegri
F, Maggiore U, Novarini A. Comparison of two diets for the prevention
of recurrent stones in idiopathic hypercalciuria. N Engl J Med. 2002 Jan
- 27. Taylor EN, Curhan GC. Fructose consumption and
the risk of kidney stones. Kidney Int. 2007 Oct 10.
- 28. Curhan GC, Willett WC, Rimm EB, Stampfer MJ.
A prospective study of dietary calcium and other nutrients and the risk
of symptomatic kidney stones. N Engl J Med. 1993 Mar 25;328(12):833-8.
- 29. Curhan GC, Willett WC, Rimm EB, Spiegelman D,
Stampfer MJ. Prospective study of beverage use and the risk of kidney
stones. Am J Epidemiol. 1996 Feb 1;143(3):240-7.
- 30. Lagemann M, Anders D, Graef V, Boedeker RH.
Effect of cocoa on excretion of oxalate, citrate, magnesium and calcium
in the urine of children. Monatsschr Kinderheilkd. 1985 Oct;133(10):754-9.
- 31. Kok DJ, Iestra JA, Doorenbos CJ, Papapoulos
SE. The effects of dietary excesses in animal protein and in sodium on
the composition and the crystallization kinetics of calcium oxalate monohydrate
in urines of healthy men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1990 Oct;71(4):861-7.
- 32. Egan CL, Sterling G. Phytophotodermatitis:
a visit to Margaritaville. Cutis. 1993 Jan;51(1):41-2.
- 33. Szpunar SM, Eklund SA, Burt BA. Sugar consumption
and caries risk in schoolchildren with low caries experience. Community
Dent Oral Epidemiol. 1995 Jun;23(3):142-6.
- 34. Morris MC, Evans DA, Tangney CC, Bienias JL,
Schneider JA, Wilson RS, Scherr PA. Dietary copper and high saturated
and trans fat intakes associated with cognitive decline. Arch Neurol.
- 35. Weggemans RM, Zock PL, Katan MB. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 May;73(5):885-91
- All about cheese
- 37. Watts AR, Lennard MS, Mason SL, Tucker GT, Woods HF. Beeturia and the biological fate of beetroot pigments. Pharmacogenetics. 1993 Dec;3(6):302-11. PubMed
- 38. Napier ID, Simon L, Perry D, Cooke PS, Stocco DM, Sepehr E, Doerge DR, Kemppainen BW, Morrison EE, Akingbemi BT. Testicular development in male rats is sensitive to a soy-based diet in the neonatal period. Biol Reprod. 2014 Feb 27;90(2):4 PubMed
- 39. Chavarro JE, Toth TL, Sadio SM, Hauser R. Soy food and isoflavone intake in relation to semen quality parameters among men from an infertility clinic. Hum Reprod. 2008 Nov;23(11):2584-90. PubMed
- 40. Hare JT, Elliott DP. Grapefruit juice and potential drug interactions. Consult Pharm. 2003 May;18(5):466-72.
- 41. Johnson MA. Influence of vitamin K on anticoagulant therapy depends on vitamin K status and the source and chemical forms of vitamin K. Nutr Rev. 2005 Mar;63(3):91-7. PubMed
- 42. Pelchat ML, Bykowski C, Duke FF, Reed DR. Excretion and perception of a characteristic odor in urine after asparagus ingestion: a psychophysical and genetic study. Chem Senses. 2011 Jan;36(1):9-17.
Created: August 18, 2006
Last updated: February 27, 2017