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Posted by: OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers

A case of common food poisoning can last anywhere from 12 to 48 hours, but it may feel like an eternity. Even if eating is the last thing on your mind, you should consider how to replenish the energy you’ve lost. One of the biggest dangers of food poisoning is dehydration. Knowing what to eat during a bout of food poisoning can help you recover.

Learn more about food poisoning, what is best to eat, and what to avoid. And remember, while this advice is helpful, you should seek professional medical attention if you feel your symptoms are severe.

Trust your doctor.

Recognizing Food Poisoning Symptoms

Food poisoning shares symptoms with other illnesses. Typical symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, headaches, severe abdominal pain, vomiting, hot and cold flashes, or fever. Someone suffering from extreme food poisoning could experience bloody diarrhea, high fevers, and be unable to keep down liquids.

What Causes Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning happens when you ingest contaminated food. Bacteria or viruses, like campylobacter or salmonella, are common contaminants. You can experience food poisoning if it isn’t properly prepared. For instance, undercooked chicken could contain germs. Unwashed vegetables could carry E. coli.

Why is Food Poisoning Dangerous?

Food poisoning can have long-term effects and cause further health problems. One of the most immediate problems during a case of food poisoning is dehydration. When you’re dehydrated, you could experience more afflictions like urinary or kidney problems, seizures, or “hypovolemic shock,” or low blood volume.

Some people are more at risk for dehydration, like young children, older adults, people with chronic illnesses, or people working in extreme conditions. Knowing what to eat can help replenish foods instead of worsening your condition.

Safe Foods to Eat During Food Poisoning

Although everyone will have different reactions throughout their bout of food poisoning, these methods are generally accepted for anyone experiencing food poisoning symptoms. At the onset of your illness, you may quickly lose fluids because of excessive vomiting or diarrhea.

You may not be able to keep down other fluids, so try eating ice chips or ice pops. You may have difficulty chewing or swallowing, so ice is an excellent way to replenish your lost fluids.

After about six or so hours if everything is “staying down,” you may be feeling ready for a little more sustenance. Water, fruit juice, broth-based soups, or other flat, clear liquids are acceptable.

The BRAT Diet: What to Eat 24 Hours into Food Poisoning Cases

After about 24 hours, you may be ready for more substantial food. Consider following the BRAT diet: bananas, rice, apples, and toast. The idea is to eat bland foods that won’t shock or upset your stomach. You don’t have to stick to the BRAT foods. You can eat crackers, plain oatmeal, or plain grits.

What to Eat as You Recover From Food Poisoning

After you’re over the worst of your symptoms, you can begin progressing toward your normal diet. Watch how you feel: everyone will progress differently. Some people may be able to eat sooner than others. Other simple foods to digest include pasta, potatoes, and cereals.

You can talk to your doctor about what to eat and when. If you feel you can’t manage your symptoms on your own, consider going to a hospital for emergency treatment.

Foods to Avoid Eating During Food Poisoning

If you’re suffering from food poisoning, there are foods and drinks you should avoid because they can make your situation worse.

  • Drinks with high levels of caffeine. Caffeine increases urine production, and when you’re already losing fluids, that can be dangerous. Avoid drinking dark sodas or coffee until you fully recover.
  • Alcoholic drinks. Do not drink alcohol during your food poisoning bout. Wait about a week after your symptoms have fully subsided to drink.
  • Drinks with artificial sweeteners. Drinks like diet drinks may have difficult-to-digest ingredients. You should use caution as you recover. Your stomach may be more sensitive than usual until you’re fully healed.
  • Spicy or fatty foods. Your stomach is still adjusting after a case of food poisoning. Do not eat anything considered “rich” until you feel fully recovered.

Food Poisoning FAQs

Is Lactose Safe to Ingest?

During a case of food poisoning, people have reported issues with lactose, even if they aren’t typically intolerant. During the early stages of your food poisoning, avoid dairy. It may be best to wait about a week before having lactose.

Is Chicken Broth a Safe Food?

For the most part, clear, plain chicken broth is safe to ingest during a case of food poisoning. Check to make sure it’s low in fat and sodium. Avoid broths with added spices or vegetables until you’ve recovered enough to keep them down.

How Do You Treat Food Poisoning?

It’s critical to replace lost fluids during a food poisoning case, so prioritizing drinking water or other clear liquids is key. A doctor may prescribe antibiotics or probiotics. But in many cases, it could be dangerous to treat food poisoning with over-the-counter medications. Consult a doctor before taking any medicine.

Can I Sue for Food Poisoning?

After a bout of food poisoning, you might have a case to sue for your illness. For instance, if you ate at a restaurant and got food poisoning because of their negligence, you may be able to recover compensation for your illness.

How Do I Prove Negligence Caused My Food Poisoning?

Restaurants and other food providers have a duty to serve fresh, safe food to customers. If they breached that duty of care and contributed to your illness, you could sue for compensation. You will need to prove their practices led to your illness. Say one of the staff didn’t properly cook your meal and you suffered. You should call a food safety attorney to help investigate your case and find proof of negligent or reckless actions.

Get Help with Your Food Poisoning Case Now

Food poisoning cases can be complex, especially if you are not sure of the source of your illness. A food safety lawyer can help you identify possible liable parties and assist you as you pursue a case for compensation. Food poisoning can cause you to miss work or lead to other complications. You deserve compensation for your lost wages or damages.

Our Minnesota food poisoning lawyers can help you build a solid case. Contact OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers at (888) 828-7087 for your free consultation.

Notable Recoveries

$10 million

Seven infants were sickened after consuming a contaminated food product marketed to infants

$6.5 million

Verdict on behalf of a little boy who contracted a severe Salmonella infection from chicken

$7.55 million

Verdict on behalf of a little girl who contracted E. coli at a petting zoo

$2.25 million

E. coli infections contracted from a major fast food chain

$45 million

An over-the-counter medication caused severe kidney damage to multiple users

$3.4 million

A pregnant woman contracted a Listeria infection from contaminated fruit and passed the infection to her child

$3 million

Multistate Cyclospora outbreaks


A couple contracted Salmonella from a restaurant


A pedestrian was struck by a left-turning car, fracturing her tibia


A semi-truck rear-ended a motorcyclist causing a collapsed lung, rib fractures and road rash