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Can Raisin Bran Cause Diarrhea? – 3 Reasons Why It Can!

Raisin Bran is a popular breakfast cereal that is made from bran flakes mixed with raisins, salt, sweeteners, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. This cereal provides a combination of crunchy texture and sweet flavor from the raisins.

Raisin Bran is quite simple and convenient to eat. Most people combine this cereal with a little milk, or snack on it directly. However, consume too much of it and you may feel the urge to run to the toilet! Can Raisin Bran cause diarrhea? You’ll find out soon.

Raisin Bran: Background Info

Source: healthyfoodforliving.com

Since 1925, several companies have been producing raisin bran cereal, although the first one was U.S. Mills. However, the first to include raisins in the ingredients was Skinner’s Manufacturing Company from Omaha, Nebraska which introduced Americans to Skinner’s Raisin Bran.

A legal battle then ensued between Skinner’s who was the first to trademark the name and the other companies who were also manufacturing raisin bran cereals. However,  Skinner’s lost because the court declared that the words “raisin bran” are mere ingredients.

Raisin Bran was one of the earliest cereal creations and has remained a popular breakfast choice for over a century. November 15 has even been declared National Raisin Bran Cereal Day. But what makes this cereal so appealing?

A good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, Raisin Bran is a healthy breakfast option. Here are the nutrition facts of 1 cup (59 grams) of Kellogg’s Raisin Bran and their accompanying percentages of the daily value (DV) based on a 2000-calorie per day diet:

Calories 188

Total Fat 1.6 g (2% of DV)

Saturated Fat 0.3 g (1% of DV)

Cholesterol 0 mg (0% of DV)

Sodium 210 mg (9% of DV)

Potassium 385.3 mg (8% of DV)

Total Carbohydrates 46 g (17% of DV)

Dietary Fiber 6.7 g (24% of DV)

Sugars 18 g

Protein 4.6 g (9% of DV)

Magnesium 72 mg (18% of the DV)

Vitamin C 0 mcg (0% of DV)

Iron 7.3 mg (41% of DV)

Zinc 1.55 mg (18% of DV)

Copper 0.21 mg (33% of DV)

Vitamin B6 1.1 mg (55% of DV)

Calcium 25 mg (2% of DV)

Phosphorus 258 mg (17% of DV)

Vitamin D 2.3 mcg (12% of DV)

Cobalamin 1.22 mcg (41% of DV)

Folate 200 mcg (50% of DV)

Ingredients include: Wheat bran, raisins, whole grain wheat, sugar, brown sugar syrup, salt, contains 2% or less of malt flavor.

Although not a lot of research has been done on the health benefits of eating raisin bran, other studies have indicated that some of the nutrients contained in the cereal may have beneficial properties. Here are some of the potential health benefits of eating raisin bran:

  • Provides energy
  • Improves digestion
  • Reduces risk of cancer
  • Supports growth in children
  • Lowers cholesterol levels
  • Prevents constipation
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Protects from harmful free radicals
  • Helps avoid anemia
  • Maintains a healthy weight
  • Promotes heart health
  • Reduces risk of diabetes 2
  • Improves brain function

Can Raisin Bran Cause Diarrhea?

But what about the not-so-desirable effects of Raisin Bran? Can Raisin Bran cause diarrhea? Eating raisin bran, or any food for that matter can potentially cause diarrhea if it doesn’t agree with your digestive system. Certain ingredients in raisin bran can cause digestive upset in some people, and here are some of them.

  1. Raisin bran is high in fiber.

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate which helps regulate bowel function and promotes feelings of fullness which aids in weight management.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the recommended daily fiber intake for women is 21 to 25 grams and 30 to 38 grams for men. Raisin bran contains 6.7 grams of dietary fiber which is equivalent to 24% of the daily value.

Dietary fiber can cause diarrhea in some people because it is not broken down and absorbed in the small intestine like other nutrients. Instead, fiber travels relatively unchanged through the digestive system, adding bulk to the stool.

This increased bulk can stimulate the muscles in the intestinal wall, causing more frequent and loose bowel movements.

  1. Raisins contain sorbitol.

Dried fruits such as raisins, prunes, figs, and dates can have a laxative effect, especially when paired with other triggering foods because they contain sorbitol.

Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol that is naturally found in some fruits and berries. It is also commercially manufactured to provide texture, add sweetness, and preserve moisture to products like packaged foods, medication, and beverages.

Sorbitol is not easily metabolized by the human body and, when undigested, retains water in the colon by way of osmotic pressure. This triggers peristalsis which, in turn, speeds up bowel movement. When too many foods containing sorbitol are eaten, the over-stimulation of the intestines can lead to abdominal cramps and diarrhea.

  1. Raisin bran is high in magnesium.

Magnesium is a mineral essential to many biological processes, including the regulation of muscle and nerve function, the formation and maintenance of strong bones, and the production of energy within cells. Magnesium is naturally present in certain foods and can also be available as a supplement.

Breakfast cereals are often fortified with magnesium when the nutrient is not naturally found in the product during processing. Raisin bran is one of the breakfast cereals with the most magnesium content.

A cup (59 grams) of raisin bran contains 72 milligrams of magnesium which is about 20% of the recommended daily intake for women and 15% for men.

According to The Nutrition Source, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of magnesium for adults is 310 to 320 milligrams per day for women and 400 to 420 milligrams for men. However, excessive intake of magnesium can cause nausea, cramps, and diarrhea.

Diarrhea can be uncomfortable and cause you to become dehydrated. So if this happens regularly, it might be a good idea to eat less raisin bran or replace it with something more digestible.

The Downside Of Raisin Bran

While Raisin Bran is generally considered safe for most people, some individuals may experience side effects, including:

  • Stomach upset – Eating a lot of fiber in a short period of time can cause digestive discomforts such as abdominal pain, bloating, and gas.
  • Allergic reactions – Some people are allergic to ingredients found in Raisin Bran, such as wheat or nuts, and they may experience hives, itching, and breathing difficulties.
  • High sugar intake – Some varieties of Raisin Bran can have high sugar content which increases the risk of tooth decay, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes.
  • High sodium intake – A cup of raisin bran contains around 210 milligrams of sodium which is nearly 10% of the FDA’s recommended 2,300-milligram per day limit, and sodium can increase blood pressure.
  • Interaction with medication – Raisin contains high levels of iron and can interact with certain medications like antibiotics and iron supplements.

The side effects are rare and can usually be avoided by eating Raisin Bran in moderation and choosing a brand with limited added sugar. If you experience any digestive issues or allergic reactions after consuming raisin bran, it’s best to seek medical attention.

The Bottomline

Raisin bran is manufactured by several companies, including Kellogg’s, General Mills, Post, and Skinner’s, so the product has several brands available in the market. The nutrient content may slightly vary but will generally offer the same taste, composition, and benefits.

From the word ‘bran’, you already get the idea of what Raisin Bran can provide you — a nutritious, tasty, and high-fiber breakfast. This makes Raisin Bran a very popular cereal fare in many American households and even worldwide.

However, remember that Raisin bran is high in added sugars and refined carbohydrates, which can affect the health benefits provided by its other ingredients. More so since most people eat more than the recommended intake. But can Raisin Bran cause diarrhea? Yes, and there are 3 specific reasons why it can!

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Coreen Tan-Tambasen


A Mass Communications graduate as well as a registered nurse in the Philippines, Coreen has been a freelance writer since 2015. Most of her writing projects are in the health and medical niche, and she is committed to sharing interesting articles about digestion and gut health that can be applied to everyday life.

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