Even when you’re following a weight loss plan faithfully, you might wake up some days and feel puffy and uncomfortable. Those new jeans you bought to celebrate a milestone feel a bit tight, and you’re understandably discouraged. Luckily, it’s unlikely that you’ve regained any weight, as long as you’ve been following your program. You’re probably just experiencing a bit of bloating, and while it’s uncomfortable (and maybe even a bit visible) you can definitely take steps to get rid of it relatively quickly.
What causes bloat? Sometimes it’s simply swallowed air, from eating too quickly or drinking carbonated beverages. But in about half of cases, bloat is due to gas building up in your intestines. This happens when your digestive tract is unable to process a nutrient in your foods or beverages. Sometimes, bloat (and the gas and indigestion that often accompany it) are due to bacteria in your food.
Different foods can trigger bloat for different people, but these are six of the most common culprits.
Dairy. Many people are lactose intolerant, or have issues with a protein in dairy called A1. Try switching to cashew milk, almond milk, or other substitutes. You might find that yogurt and kefir are still acceptable to your digestive system, because they are lower in lactose.
Cruciferous veggies. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower cause bloating in many people, due to a non-digestible sugar called raffinose. But because these veggies are so healthy otherwise, we don’t suggest cutting them out of your diet. If you’re sensitive, cook or ferment them for a better digestive experience.
Wheat. Wheat causes bloating in some people, due to lectins which can disrupt digestion. Try sprouted grains, which are lower in lectin, or switch to other whole grains such as oats, quinoa, or brown rice.
Fructose. Fruits high in fructose can sometimes trigger bloating and digestive discomfort. Often this is the case with fruit juices, smoothies, dried fruits and anything containing coconut sugar. And of course, there is the Big Bad of them all: High fructose corn syrup. Avoid that like the plague! Fresh fruits like berries, apricots, grapefruit, and avocado are gentler on your stomach.
Beans. Yes, that silly children’s song, about beans and gas, is based in truth. However, beans mainly cause bloating in people who aren’t accustomed to a high-fiber diet. So you might notice bloating when you first increase your fiber intake, but do it gradually and your body should adjust soon. In most cases you shouldn’t cut beans out of your diet entirely.
Sugar substitutes. You were trying to do a good thing, by replacing the sugar in your diet with a lower-calorie substitute, but now you have bloating and gas. These are not only difficult to digest; some studies suggest that sugar substitutes disrupt our gut biomes and lead to overgrowth of the types of bacteria that contribute to excess bloating and gas. Cut these out of your diet and see if your symptoms improve.
As always, please call us if you’re having problems with your weight loss plan. We can help you identify the source of any unexpected symptoms of side effects, and adjust your diet accordingly.