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Can Fried Chicken Make You Nauseous?

Fried chicken is a beloved comfort food for many. However, it’s also a dish that can easily lead to an upset stomach or nausea if you’re sensitive to some of its ingredients or preparation methods. Here’s a closer look at why fried chicken may make you feel sick.

Can fried chicken make you nauseous?

Fried chicken is definitely a food that can leave you feeling queasy and nauseous. There are several reasons why this popular comfort food commonly causes upset stomachs:

    • The oil used to fry chicken is extremely high in saturated fat and difficult to digest. Eating fried foods with so much grease can overwork your stomach and lead to nausea, cramps, and diarrhea as the fat rapidly moves through your system.
    • Spices and seasonings like black pepper, cayenne, garlic powder, paprika, etc. are often heavily layered onto fried chicken. These strong seasonings are gut irritants that can inflame your stomach lining and cause discomfort.
    • Ingredients like eggs, milk, and wheat used in batter and breading recipes can trigger food intolerances or allergies in those sensitive, resulting in digestive issues.
    • Fried chicken is prone to harboring dangerous bacteria like salmonella and E. coli if not thoroughly cooked and handled properly. Consuming undercooked or spoiled chicken introduces these pathogens into your GI tract.
    • The high sodium content of fried chicken can lead to dehydration, especially if you don’t drink enough fluids. This exacerbates nausea and stomach cramps.
      So in summary, the combination of high fat, spice levels, potential allergens, and foodborne illness risks make fried chicken a common culprit behind queasy stomachs and nausea.


Moderating portion sizes and spices may help, but some people are better off avoiding it altogether.

What Causes the Nausea?

There are a few potential culprits when it comes to fried chicken and nausea:

    • Oil – Fried chicken is cooked in large amounts of oil, usually unhealthy fats like vegetable or canola oil. The high fat content can irritate the stomach and cause nausea, especially if you’re not used to eating fatty foods.
    • Spices – Fried chicken is traditionally seasoned with lots of spices and seasonings. Black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and other strong seasonings can aggravate the stomach lining.
    • Coating – The breading or batter coating on fried chicken contains ingredients like eggs, flour, and milk. An allergy or intolerance to any of these could make you feel nauseous after eating fried chicken.
    • Food Poisoning – If fried chicken is not cooked, stored, or transported properly, it can harbor harmful bacteria that lead to food poisoning symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
    • Dehydration – Fried foods have high sodium content. Eating a lot of salty fried chicken may cause you to become dehydrated, further exacerbating an upset stomach.


How to Prevent Nausea from Fried Chicken

If you want to enjoy fried chicken without the nauseous after-effects, here are some tips:

    • Opt for grilled or baked chicken instead of fried – You’ll avoid the excess oil, sodium, and heavy batter.
    • Use smaller amounts of milder seasonings if coating your own fried chicken.
    • Avoid chicken that smells bad or is not freshly cooked. Check the internal temperature with a food thermometer to ensure it reaches 165°F.
    • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after eating salty fried foods to avoid dehydration.
    • Take an over-the-counter antacid like Tums if you feel nauseous after eating fried chicken. The calcium carbonate can help settle your stomach.
    • Eat smaller portion sizes of fried chicken to see if that helps minimize symptoms.

 Related post: Can fried chicken make you fat?  

When to See a Doctor

Occasional and mild nausea after eating fried chicken is common. But if you experience severe, persistent nausea, vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea after eating fried chicken, see your doctor. You may have a food allergy or intolerance, gastroenteritis from food poisoning, or another medical condition that needs treatment.

Why does fried chicken make me sick?

There are a few reasons why fried chicken may make you feel sick:

    • The high fat and oil content can be difficult to digest, especially in large quantities. This can lead to an upset stomach, nausea, and diarrhea. The fat may also stimulate more stomach acid production, leading to indigestion.
    • Spices like black pepper, cayenne, garlic powder, etc. can irritate the stomach lining. People with sensitive stomachs may experience nausea, cramping, or diarrhea after eating heavily seasoned fried chicken.
    • Ingredients in the batter or breading like eggs, milk, and flour could trigger food intolerances or allergies that manifest as gastrointestinal symptoms.
    • Fried chicken is prone to harboring dangerous bacteria if not thoroughly cooked, stored, and handled properly. Consuming undercooked or spoiled chicken can lead to food poisoning which causes vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.


Why does fried chicken upset my stomach but not grilled chicken?

The high fat and oil content of fried chicken is harder to digest than grilled chicken for many people. Frying also allows more absorption of irritating spices. Grilling uses less oil and seasoning, making it gentler on the stomach.

Why do I feel sick after eating fried chicken?

You may feel unwell after eating fried chicken for these reasons:

    • It’s very high in fat and oil, which can upset your stomach, especially if you’re not used to digesting fatty foods. The grease can stimulate stomach acid and cause indigestion.
    • Spices and seasonings like pepper, garlic, and chili powder can irritate the digestive tract. Some individuals are more sensitive to these strong seasonings.
    • The batter or breading contain ingredients like eggs, milk, and wheat that could trigger allergic reactions or intolerances, causing gastrointestinal distress.
    • Fried chicken is a common culprit of foodborne illnesses if it’s improperly cooked or stored. Sickness is caused by consuming bacteria like salmonella or E. coli.


Why do I feel sick hours after eating fried chicken?

It can take time for your stomach to process all the fat, oil, and spices in fried chicken. Nausea several hours after eating points to one of those factors upsetting your digestive system. Food poisoning symptoms also typically appear 1-3 days after contaminated food is consumed.

Why does fried chicken make me nauseous?

Fried chicken might make you feel nauseous for these reasons:

    • All the oil and grease used to fry chicken can be difficult to digest, especially in large amounts. This can lead to nausea, cramping, and diarrhea.
    • Irritating spices and seasonings found in fried chicken recipes can inflame the stomach lining, triggering nausea.
    • You may have an undiagnosed food allergy or intolerance to ingredients like eggs, milk or wheat used in fried chicken batter and breading.
    • Spoiled, undercooked fried chicken harbors dangerous bacteria that cause foodborne illness with nausea and vomiting when ingested.


Is it ok to eat fried chicken when you are nauseous?

It is not recommended to eat fried or fatty foods when already feeling nauseous. The high fat content and strong spices can further aggravate nausea. Stick to broth, plain chicken, rice, toast, applesauce and other bland foods until nausea subsides.

Can you get sick from fried chicken?

Yes, it’s possible to get sick from eating fried chicken in these cases:

  • If the chicken contains harmful bacteria like salmonella or campylobacter due to improper cooking, storage or handling. This can lead to food poisoning.
  • If you have a food allergy or intolerance to ingredients in the chicken batter or breading, you may have an allergic reaction when eating it.
  • Overeating greasy fried chicken can cause indigestion, nausea and diarrhea due to its high fat content which is difficult to digest.
  • Some people are sensitive to spices and seasonings used to flavor chicken. This can irritate the digestive system.
  • Fried chicken that has gone bad can harbor toxic bacteria that quickly multiply and lead to violent illness when consumed.

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