Does Apple Juice Make You Poop? (Yes, and Here’s Why)

Apple juice is a popular beverage enjoyed by many for its sweet and refreshing taste. 

Interestingly, apple juice is high in natural sugars and other compounds that stimulate the digestive tract and have a laxative effect (1). In other words, it can make you poop.

In this article, we’ll delve into the science behind why apple juice makes you poop and discuss dosing, potential side effects, and alternatives to apple juice.

Does Apple Juice Make You Poop?

How does apple juice make you poop?

There are two main ways that apple juice makes you poop: fluid and sugars.

1. Fluid

Apple juice is mostly made up of water, which is important for keeping your digestive system running smoothly (2).

When you are dehydrated, the body pulls water from the colon, causing stool to become hard, lumpy, and more difficult to pass. Water helps soften stool, reducing the risk of constipation (3).

2. Sugars

Apple juice is also a source of fructose and sorbitol, which act as laxatives in many people (4, 5).

Fructose is a simple sugar found naturally in fruits, while sorbitol is a sugar alcohol that is found in fruits and is often used as a low-calorie sweetener in candies and desserts.

Both of these sugars are poorly absorbed, causing them to pull water into the intestines. This helps soften stool, making it easier to pass and sometimes even causing diarrhea (6).

However, some people have a harder time absorbing sorbitol and fructose than others (7, 8). Not everyone will respond the same way.

How much apple juice should you drink for constipation?

Drinking about 1 cup of apple juice daily can increase bowel movements and reduce symptoms of constipation (9). 

It’s possible that lower amounts of apple juice could have similar effects, but more research is needed to confirm this.

For people with more severe constipation, apple juice may not be enough to alleviate symptoms on its own. You may need to pair apple juice with medications or other constipation remedies.

We don’t recommend drinking more than 10 ounces of apple juice per day for constipation. Larger doses could result in abdominal pain and diarrhea.

How long does it take for apple juice to make you poop?

Many people find that apple juice causes them to poop within just a few hours. This is often the case for people who are more sensitive to the sorbitol and fructose found in apple juice.

However, some people may not respond as quickly, or at all. If you don’t notice any improvements after several weeks of drinking apple juice daily, consider trying other ways to alleviate your constipation.

Do whole apples and applesauce make you poop?

While there haven’t been any studies, it’s likely that whole apples and applesauce can help alleviate constipation similar to apple juice.

Many of the components in apple juice that promote bowel movements, such as sorbitol and fructose, are also found in apples and applesauce (4, 5, 10, 11). 

In fact, a medium-sized apple (200 grams) contains twice as much sorbitol as a 1-cup serving of apple juice (5).

Whole apples are also high in fiber, which is lacking in apple juice (2, 12, 13). A large portion of this fiber is found in the apple peel.

Pectin, the main type of fiber in apples, speeds up transit time — the amount of time it takes for food to move through the digestive tract — and improves symptoms of constipation (14).

To use apples for constipation, try adding 1 apple or 1 cup of applesauce to your diet for at least a few weeks. You can also consider adding apple fiber to baked goods, oatmeal, or smoothies.

Potential side effects of drinking apple juice

While apple juice can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet, it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects. 

Gastrointestinal upset

Although apple juice can help with constipation, it can also cause stomach upset and diarrhea in some people.

In particular, people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may want to avoid apple juice because it is very high in sorbitol and fructose, which are both considered FODMAPs (15). 

FODMAPs are a group of carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed and rapidly fermented by gut bacteria. In people with IBS, they can trigger bloating, gas, and diarrhea (16).

If you have IBS, ask your doctor or dietitian about other ways to get rid of constipation.

High blood sugar

It is thought that apple juice may cause blood sugar levels to spike because it is high in natural sugars and low in fiber.

However, apple juice has a glycemic index of 46, which is considered low. The glycemic index measures how quickly a food raises blood sugar compared to glucose (17).

Also, studies have shown that 100% fruit juices do not impact fasting blood sugar or hemoglobin A1c in healthy people (18, 19).

People with diabetes, on the other hand, may still need to be cautious with juice and other high-carbohydrate foods.

If you want to minimize apple juice’s impact on blood sugar, reduce your portion size to ½ cup (4 ounces) and pair it with a high-protein meal or snack (20).

Alternatives to apple juice for constipation

If you’re looking for an alternative to apple juice for constipation relief, there are a couple of other juices to consider.

1. Prune juice

Prune juice, made from prunes (dried plums) blended with water, is a great alternative to apple juice for constipation. In fact, prune juice might be even better at making you poop.

Like apple juice, prune juice is high in sorbitol and fructose, but it also contains 5 times more fiber, with 2.5 grams (9% DV) per 1 cup serving (21).

Studies have shown that drinking as little as a ¼ cup (60 mL) of prune juice every day can soften stool and improve symptoms of constipation (22, 23).

2. Pear juice

Pear juice is another good alternative to apple juice for constipation.

Compared to apple juice, it contains 4 times more sorbitol, the sugar alcohol partially responsible for the juice’s laxative effect (24). 

However, we couldn’t find any studies that specifically used pear juice for constipation. More research is needed, but pear juice could still be worth a try if you’re not a fan of apple or prune juice.

Final thoughts

Drinking about one cup of apple juice every day may make you poop and help relieve constipation. This is due to the fluid and natural sugars (fructose and sorbitol) found in apple juice.

However, not everyone will respond to apple juice in the same way, and it can also cause side effects like stomach upset, weight gain, and high blood sugar.

Alternatives like prune juice and pear juice can also make you poop but may have many of the same side effects as apple juice.

Overall, apple juice is a good option for people with mild constipation, but it may need to be combined with other strategies for the best results.

Amy Richter is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in Missouri. She is an experienced nutrition writer and medical advisor for Healthline and Medical News Today.  Amy is passionate about all things food-related and enjoys translating complex science into easy-to-understand articles.

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