A cold glass of apple juice is so refreshing but it could make you poop? Possibly.

a picture of a tall glass of apple juice with four apples in front of it with the text above saying: why apple juice might make you poop

A cold glass of apple juice is so refreshing but it could make you poop? There could be a couple of  reasons why you may notice a bit of a laxative effect with apple juice.

Why apple juice may make you poop.

Apples are a great fiber food. They are a source of soluble fiber which helps for effortless poops because it helps to soften the stool making them easier to pass.

But it’s definitely not the fiber in apple juice that will help you poop. Apple juice, like most juices, has had most of its fiber removed so there are other reasons why apple juice could make you poop.

The sugars: fructose and sorbitol.

Apples are high in two types of sugars which could be part of the reason you make poop after drinking apple juice. 

Fructose is one type of sugar found in apples and it’s also the sugar that makes fruit sweet. If someone were to not absorb fructose properly that could result in diarrhea (1). 

Sorbitol is the other type of sugar that can also make you poop. When this sugar reaches the large intestine it attracts water into the gut which can have a laxative effect (2).

Both fructose and sorbitol are types of carbohydrates (FODMAPs)  that are known to contribute to digestive discomfort, particularly for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

It’s not 100% apple juice.

One very popular ingredient that is being added to a lot of drinks is inulin. Inulin is a type of prebiotic fiber that can also help with pooping and is often added to sodas and drinks for the gut health benefits.

While I haven’t seen an apple juice with inulin added in, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. In fact, there was a research study that added inulin to apple juice to study its effects on constipation. The researchers found that participants did have an increase in bowel movements (3).

Inulin can sometimes cause gassiness and if you’re also sensitive to the sugar in apple juice this could be problematic for you.

Apple juice may influence bile acid absorption.

In a domino-type effect, there could be other components in the apple juice that could be making you poop.

A study looked at constipation in mice and it was found that apple juice helped relieve the constipation (2).  The researchers hypothesized that it could be related to how apple juice may be influencing bile acid absorption.

Generally, the job of bile acids is to help with fat digestion and absorption and afterward, they return to the liver. If bile acids stay in the gut they can attract water into the gut. This is similar to how fiber helps with easy pooping, it attracts water into the gut.

The researchers found that the apple juice impacted bile acids in such a way that some of the bile acids stayed in the gut rather than going back to the liver (2). More bile acids in the gut means attracting more water and therefore a pooping effect.

It’s hydrating.

While apple juice doesn’t have much fiber it takes two to tango to poop. Your gut also needs water so you poop regularly and apple juice is hydrating.

Apple juice is almost 90% water so you can count apple juice as part of your daily fluid intake.

a pitcher of apple juice with a glass of juice and the text "some things to think about" written on the left hand side

How much apple juice would you have to drink?

If you have IBS you may be more likely to notice a pooping effect with just a half serving. A half serving of apple juice, ½ cup, is considered high in fructose and sorbitol.

It’s pretty easy to drink a lot of juice in one sitting because it can be so refreshing so even if you don’t have IBS you may notice you will have to poop after drinking a couple of glasses.

How long after drinking apple juice will you poop?

There’s no set time frame for how quickly apple juice will make you poop but you may notice quicker effects if you’re more sensitive to the sugars.

If you find yourself pooping very soon after drinking apple juice after drinking a ½ or a 1 cup serving of apple juice you may want to discuss this with your healthcare provider. Having to poop so soon after drinking juice can be very disruptive to your daily life.

Should you drink apple juice to help you poop?

Apple juice could make you poop so you’re not alone if you find that it’s happening to you.

If you have mild constipation you could try drinking a cup of apple juice for a few days to see if it helps get things moving. On the other hand, if you struggle with chronic constipation it’s best to see your doctor to get to the root of the matter.

It’s not uncommon for some foods to impact your pooping habits. Watermelon is another fruit that has sugar which could make you poop.

A food journal can be a nice place to start if you suspect certain foods are making you poop but you’re not sure which. You can use this free food journal template to help guide you. You can also use this information with your healthcare provider for individualized guidance.

References

  1. DiNicolantonio JJ, Lucan SC. Is fructose malabsorption a cause of irritable bowel syndrome? Med Hypotheses. 2015 Sep;85(3):295-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2015.05.019. Epub 2015 Jun 2. PMID: 26059250; PMCID: PMC4729202.
  2. Zhu Q, Iwai R, Okaguchi T, Shirasaka Y, Tamai I. Apple juice relieves loperamide-induced constipation in rats by downregulating the intestinal apical sodium-dependent bile acid transporter ASBT. Food Funct. 2023 May 22;14(10):4836-4846. doi: 10.1039/d3fo00510k. PMID: 37129213.
  3. Glibowski P , Skrzypek M , Ćwiklińska M , Drozd M , Kowalska A . Chemical stability of fructans in apple beverages and their influence on chronic constipation. Food Funct. 2020 May 1;11(5):3860-3866. doi: 10.1039/c9fo02596k. Epub 2020 Apr 22. PMID: 32319465.