- 5 ‘Healthy’ Foods That Make You Bloat
- In search of a milk alternative
- Lactose-free milk
- Soy milk
- Nut milk
- Grain and seed milks
- Could You Have an Almond Intolerance?
- What is almond intolerance?
- What are the symptoms of almond intolerance?
- What should I do if I think I’m intolerant to almonds?
- Does Soy Do A Body Good?
- Health Claims About Soy
- Health Concerns About Soy
- Use Soy Sparingly, If At All…
- 1. Instead of diet breads, eat regular whole-grain bread.
- 2. Instead of deli meats and salads, eat a whole cutlet.
- 3. Instead of soft cheese, eat hard cheese.
- 4. Instead of regular chips, eat popped chips.
- 5. Instead of pistachios and cashews, eat almonds.
- 6. Instead of healthy-sounding snack bars and cereals, choose ones made with the fewest, least-processed ingredients.
- 7. Instead of soy milk, drink unsweetened almond milk.
- 8. Instead of low-calorie yogurt, eat plain Greek yogurt with fruit.
- 9. Instead of broccoli and cauliflower, eat bell peppers, carrots, and cucumbers.
- 10. Instead of hummus or sugar-free dressing, choose basic dips and condiments.
- 11. Instead of watermelon, eat cantaloupe.
- 12. Instead of onion and garlic, season with ginger.
- Processing Soy
- Soy Sensitivity
- Soy and Hormones: Friends or Foes?
- Which Fruits Cause Bloating?
- Can fruit cause bloating?
- Do fruits cause bloating?
- What fruits are the worst for bloating?
- Are there any fruits you can eat?
- How can I relieve bloating?
- 1. Avoid eating fruit near meals
- 2. Chew your food!
- 3. Invest in a pre and probiotic
- 4. Get some exercise
- 5. Try stewing your fruit
- 6. Incorporate more bitters into your meals
- Cruciferous Vegetables
- 5 Sneaky Causes of Bloat and How to Avoid Them
- Taking the wind out of soy milk drinkers
- THE BOTTOM LINE
- THE TWO STOOGES: RAF AND STACH
- RUNNING OUT OF GAS
- FULL OF BEANO
- FLATUS WITH STATUS
- 5 Seemingly-Harmless Foods That Cause Belly Bloat
5 ‘Healthy’ Foods That Make You Bloat
You thought you were doing so well! You eat right and exercise like you know you should. Then, why are you still experiencing bloating, gas, and troublesome tummy issues? Though it’s easy to figure out what went wrong when you try to start a car without gas, it’s not always so apparent when it comes to problems with your diet. These five foods masquerade as healthy, but can be the silent cause of your stress-inducing belly bloat. Beat the bloat today with these simple swaps for “healthy” foods that make you bloat. They’ll surprise you.
1. Chewing Gum
Chewing gum may seem like a harmless habit, but one too many sticks can give whole new meaning to the phrase “bubble butt.” Sugarless gums typically contain sorbitol, a sugar alcohol known for causing bloating and other gastrointestinal distress. Sorbitol takes a relatively long time to digest, and undigested sorbitol in your small intestine acts as hothouse for the fermentation of bacteria, causing boating and flatulence.
Chew This: PÜR Gum
Not That!: Trident Gum
2. Nutrition Bars
Culprit: Soy Protein
You probably don’t think “beans” when you unwrap a protein bar, but a lot of them include protein isolate derived from soybeans—something many people find just as gas-inducing as the musical fruit. Like other beans, soy contains oligosaccharides, sugar molecules that the body can’t break down entirely. With nowhere to go, these oligosaccharides hang out in the where they ferment, causing gas and bloating of the stomach.
Eat This: KIND Nut Delight Bar
Not That!: Atkins Granola Bar
3. Dried Fruit
Nature’s candy, dried fruit can be a great source of nutrients and fiber. But it can also be a musical fruit for those who suffer from fructose malabsorption, which occurs when the body has difficulty absorbing the natural sugar. Dried fruits are particularly high in fructose; stone and citrus fruits, and berries are safer options for those with sensitivity.
If you’re still a dedicated dried fruit fan, make sure to read the label before you buy. Many dried fruits have added sugar that makes them pack even more grams than a donut. Check out our list of the 5 “Health” Foods Worse Than a Donut to expose the other sneaky diet saboteurs.
Eat This: Fresh Plum (1.8 g Fructose per 100 g)
Not That!: Raisins (33.8 g Fructose per 100 g)
4. Almond Milk
Mooove over, cow’s milk! Almond milk is a better option for those with lactose sensitivity, but you may be undermining your goals if you’re buying a brand with the thickening agent carrageenan. Derived from seaweed, carrageenan has been linked to ulcers, inflammation, and other gastrointestinal problems.
Still don’t know which milk is right for you? Don’t let the dairy aisle confuse you. We break down the basics in this indispensable guide.
Drink This: Silk Unsweetened Almondmilk
Not That!: Almond Breeze Almondmilk
5. Canned Soup
Good for the soul, but potentially bad for the stomach, soup can hide sky-high sodium counts that may lead to water retention and temporary weight gain. When you overload your system with salt, your kidneys can’t keep up; salt that would otherwise be flushed away has to sit in your bloodstream, where it attracts water, causing increased blood pressure and bloating.
Eat This: Amy’s Light Sodium Butternut Squash Soup (340 mg sodium)
Not That!: Campbell’s Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup (940 mg sodium)
Get the New Book!
Want to lose 10, 20, even 30 pounds—all without dieting?! Get your copy of Eat This, Not That: The Best (& Worst) Foods in America!, and learn how to indulge smarter and lose weight fast!
In search of a milk alternative
Milk alternatives differ in nutritional value. Read the labels to make sure you’re getting a product that is low in sugar and fat, and high in protein and calcium.
Published: March, 2015
Soy, nut, and grain milks are available. But are they right for you?
Low-fat milk is a great source of calcium, protein, and other essential nutrients, and it tastes great on a breakfast cereal. But not everyone wants to drink cow’s milk, and some people have trouble digesting a natural sugar in milk called lactose. “People complain that it causes gastrointestinal distress. They may be lactose-intolerant, or just lactose-sensitive,” says Linda Antinoro, a registered dietitian with Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “Milk doesn’t settle well with them, so they’re looking for alternatives that don’t cause diarrhea or bloating or gas.”
The good news is that there are milk alternatives. Some are better for you than others, however, and you’ll need to pay attention to their ingredient lists. Remember, too, that you should avoid milks with added sweeteners, such as most chocolate- or vanilla-flavored milk alternatives. Consider the following options to keep milk in your diet.
“Most people who want an alternative try this first,” says Antinoro. Lactose-free milk has an enzyme added to it (lactase) that helps break down lactose into more easily digested sugars. You’ll still need to buy low-fat lactose-free milk. Full-fat milk, with or without lactose, is rich in saturated fats, which increase LDL or “bad” cholesterol. One caveat: if you’re allergic to milk, lactose-free milk may not be an option for you.
Soy milk is the fluid strained from a mixture of ground soybeans and water. Its nutritional content is similar to dairy milk, including moderate amounts of fat that make it comparable to 1% cow’s milk. It’s also high in protein like real milk, with about 8 grams in one cup of soy milk. But soy also contains oligosaccharides, another type of sugar that some people have trouble digesting. Soy also is a weak estrogen. Since estrogen is linked to hormonally sensitive cancers, some women wonder if they can drink soy milk. “The verdict is still out on that, but it may be prudent for high-risk women to limit soy milk to one serving per day and consult with their doctors,” says Antinoro.
Nut milks—the fluids from a mixture of water and ground almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts—are free of lactose, soy, and even gluten (a protein some people have trouble digesting). They are low in calories and fat, and the types of fat they do contain are unsaturated, which are good for you. For example, one cup of almond milk has 2.5 grams of unsaturated fat. But nut milks are very low in calcium and protein, so you’ll have to look for fortified versions. “But even then a cup of almond milk might only have 5 grams of protein compared to 8 grams in soy or cow’s milk,” says Antinoro. Most nut milks also contain carrageenan, a seaweed extract that’s used as a thickening agent. “Carrageenan is FDA-approved, but there is a suggestion that it can aggravate intestinal problems, so you may want to avoid this if it upsets your stomach,” says Antinoro.
Grain and seed milks
Grain and seed milks—the fluids from a mixture of water and ground rice, oats, quinoa, or hemp—are about twice as high in carbohydrates and sugar than other milk alternatives. For example, one cup of rice milk contains 23 grams of carbohydrates and 10 grams of sugar, as opposed to 9 grams of carbohydrates and 6 grams of sugar in one cup of soy milk. Too many carbs and sugars can spike your blood sugar, which over time can lead to damaging inflammation. Grain and seed milks are also very low in protein and calcium, so you must look for fortified versions of them.
Nutritional content in a one-cup serving of milk or milk alternative
Total fat (grams)
Saturated fat (grams)
Silk Plain Soymilk
Almond Breeze Original (fortified)
Rice Dream Enriched
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Could You Have an Almond Intolerance?
Whether chopped, crushed, sliced or slivered, raw, roasted, milked or toasted, almonds are a wonder food. A practical Swiss army knife of an ingredient, almonds are filling, versatile and also a great food intolerance friendly substitute (gluten free almond cake, anyone?)
As well as this, as almonds are high in fibre, unsaturated fats, protein, calcium, and vitamin E, they can be a valuable and healthy part of a balanced diet. Studies have found that regularly eating almonds can work to reduce cholesterol and also the risk of heart disease, partly due to their antioxidant and “good fat” content.
However, whilst it’s true that almonds can be a positive addition to most diets, for many people it might not feel this way. If you’ve been trying to reap the benefits of almonds, but are only feeling ill in return, then it might be the case that you have an almond intolerance.
What is almond intolerance?
An almond intolerance is a set of specific symptoms brought on after eating almonds. Whilst most people can eat almonds in moderation with no negative health effects, people with an intolerance to almonds are likely to feel ill – although not immediately – after ingesting the nuts.
Whilst individual factors apply, one reason for feeling ill after eating almonds is the body mistakenly identifying the proteins in the nut as foreign. This can happen if, during digestion, tiny particles of food leak out of the gut wall into the blood stream, activating an immune response. The immune response can cause inflammation, which in turn triggers the symptoms of almond intolerance.
Our gut health can be impaired by many different causes, including, stress, food additives, use of antibiotics and environmental pollutants. However, gut health can improve if steps are taken to manage intolerance triggers and almond intolerance can become one of them.
What are the symptoms of almond intolerance?
As with all food intolerances, the severity, range, and type of almond intolerance symptoms can vary widely from person to person (we refer to this as our unique ‘food fingerprint’). Although not everyone might experience the full range, common symptoms of almond intolerance can include:
• Stomach pain
• Stomach cramps
• Itchy skin
• Runny nose and sinusitis
As with all food intolerances, almond intolerance symptoms might take up to 72 hours to appear. This means that pinpointing almonds as the exact trigger can be difficult, and when experiencing symptoms it can be easy to assume that something eaten more recently is the cause*.
If you suspect that almonds could be making you feel ill but can’t be certain, then taking a food intolerance test is a good idea. This way you can eliminate any guesswork, and find out whether it really is almonds, or something else, that’s triggering your food intolerance symptoms. Finding out your own personal dietary intolerances and the effects they have on your health and wellbeing is important to ensure you make the best possible food choices to balance your diet.
What should I do if I think I’m intolerant to almonds?
If you regularly experience any of the symptoms detailed above, and think that almonds might be the cause, it’s important to look towards getting to the root of the problem. First, it’s worthwhile booking an appointment to see a doctor to find out if another underlying problem might be the cause, and to rule out more serious problems like almond allergy.
Once you’ve ruled out any other potential triggers for your symptoms, then taking a food intolerance test is a good next step. This way, you can find out exactly which foods might be responsible for your symptoms, and receive help from a qualified Nutritional Therapist, to tailor your diet in a way that works for you. Plus, with the right approach, food intolerances aren’t always permanent, meaning that you might not have to cut almonds out of your diet forever.
Do you feel that almonds may not be agreeing with you? It could be time to take a deeper look at your diet. Take a YorkTest Food&DrinkScan food intolerance test, to find out which foods are not agreeing with you and receive a personalised consultation to enable you to eliminate your trigger foods.
*YorkTest find that our customers with symptoms on average react to between 2 and 8 foods, meaning that simply cutting out one food might not have a desired benefit.
Does Soy Do A Body Good?
By Kate Crosby, BS, CNP
July 18, 2016
Have you ever wondered whether the current craze for soy is healthy? Once a client declared, as she raised her ubiquitous white and green paper cup, “This is decaf coffee with soy milk. I just wanted you to know.” She was assuming I thought that was a good way to drink coffee. And yes, it was great that she left behind the flavored syrups with high fructose corn syrup and the fake creamers with trans-fats, but what about that soy milk?
Let’s take a look at soy. Originally, soy was used in Asia as a cover crop to enrich soil. It was much later that Asians used it to season and enrich their meals. In the West, soy was used first by industries to make paper coatings, glues and even as fire-fighting foam. Around the 1950s, food companies started producing soy isolate and soy lecithin. Currently, you can find soy in many foods including soups, imitation meats, non-dairy creamers, infant formulas, cereals and protein powders. If you are allergic to soy, you know just how difficult it is to find foods that do not contain soy. It is everywhere.
Health Claims About Soy
Some sources have suggested that soy is a good source of protein that can reduce cholesterol and diminish hot flashes. Let’s examine at these claims more closely.
- Soy has been advertised as an inexpensive protein alternative, especially for vegetarians, because it is high in protein and it contains all the amino acids, making it appear to be a complete protein. However, the body cannot use soy to make muscles, bones or hair as well as it can utilize meat, eggs or fish.
- In 1999, the FDA approved soy as a food to reduce cholesterol and heart disease; however, to get these results the FDA recommends eating a pound of tofu daily (a serving size is 3 ounces)! In 2005, the American Heart Association officially disagreed with that claim after reviewing many studies claiming soy’s benefits. This panel also found that soy was not effective at reducing hot flashes or reducing cancers of the breast, uterus or prostate.
- It was believed that soy could reduce hot flashes, but Reuters (Reuters, May 17, 2010) reports that after an analysis of nineteen studies using soy to reduce hot flashes in post-menopausal women, the evidence is inconclusive.
- Soy is also used in formulas for infants who are sensitive to cow’s milk and are not being breastfed. There are concerns that soy infant formula may be contributing to the early puberty in girls and the late puberty in some boys. Studies also show that using soy formula may stress the immune system later in life. In light of these findings, in 2005, Israel joined France, New Zealand, and Australia in recommending limited use of soy in young children and if possible, avoiding it all together.
Health Concerns About Soy
At Nutritional Weight & Wellness, we recommend that our clients are cautious in using soy for several reasons.
- Soy is difficult to digest, which can cause gas, bloating and general discomfort. Fermented forms of soy, such as miso, tempeh or soy sauce are more easily digested than non-fermented soy foods.
- Ninety-three percent of the soy in the U.S. has been genetically modified—a process whereby a crop is altered by a virus or bacteria with a desired trait, such as resistance to a weed killer. Genetically modified (GM) foods have only been used for the past decade so we do not know the long term effects of these foods on our health. One concern is an increase in allergies.
- Soy can interfere with thyroid function, which may affect your metabolism.
- Soy contains phytoestrogens. These are the chemicals that can mimic estrogen in your body. I mentioned the concerns about soy’s effects on puberty and on the immune system that parents of newborns have. However, adults have other reasons to be wary of the phystoestrogens in soy:
- The phystoestrogens in unfermented soy can block the absorption of minerals like calcium, magnesium and zinc. That soy milk, those protein bars and protein powders that you may use to improve your health may in fact be preventing you from building strong bones (calcium), relaxing (magnesium) or preventing the flu (zinc).
- According to Cancer Research, phytoestrogens may be carcinogenic—raising questions about the safety of consuming soy.
- Soy decreases sperm counts and testosterone levels. In 2010, Dr. Chavarro, M.D. from Harvard University, reported in the Journal of Human Reproduction that there was a strong association between men’s consumption of soy and decreased sperm counts. Others have noted that testosterone levels decrease with soy consumption.
Let’s summarize these findings. Soy can interfere with thyroid function. It is difficult to digest and does not allow you to fully absorb minerals. Soy has an estrogenic effect—reducing fertility in men, it does not conclusively reduce hot flashes or protect you from reproductive cancers. And as an infant formula, soy may cause early puberty in girls or late puberty in boys or stress our immune system. It really is not a complete protein that works in your body. So, soy milk in your coffee may be doing nothing beneficial for you and may have some serious unwanted effects.
Use Soy Sparingly, If At All…
Traditionally soy was used as a condiment in its fermented forms—as soy sauce, or miso in soups or small amounts of tempeh with rice and vegetables. Asian cultures use soy sparingly and traditionally. Soy milk, soy powders or protein bars do not exist in their diet. Research reveals that soy’s benefits are inconclusive and may in fact prove to be harmful. If you like soy, use it sparingly, as a condiment or according to the recommendations of your nutritionist.
For more information about soy, listen to our radio show: The Dark Side of Soy.
There’s no shame in showing off your midriff in a bikini or crop top — ever. But it doesn’t feel good to bare your belly when you’re uncomfortably bloated.
Common culprits are constipation, fluid retention, and gas from swallowed air and the byproducts of digestion, all of which are easy enough to sort out.
For starters: Look out for foods that are likely to cause tummy trouble and reach for belly-flattening foods instead. And as always, listen to your body. Everyone reacts differently to different foods.
1. Instead of diet breads, eat regular whole-grain bread.
Breads, buns, and wraps that are labeled “light,” “low-calorie,” or “low-carb,” might appear to be smart options for calorie-counters. But the truth is that these foods are only low in calories because they’re made up of fiber that the body can’t digest and any calories they contribute aren’t accounted for on nutrition labels. Diet breads won’t help you slim down — it will fill your gut with gas and actually promote bloating.
If you’re watching your carbs or calories, opt for 100 percent whole-wheat bread — The fewer ingredients, the better! — and stick to the recommended serving size. To hedge your bets, you can even reach for gluten-free breads made with ingredients like oats, corn, rice, potato flour, and quinoa, which are generally gentler on the digestive system than wheat (particularly if you have a gluten allergy or intolerance). Or even better: Skip whole-grain breads and go with actual whole grains such as quinoa or rice.
2. Instead of deli meats and salads, eat a whole cutlet.
Deli meats (and mayo-drenched tuna or chicken salads) can be loaded with sodium, ingredients that make your body retain water, and promote bloating and puffiness, warns Felice Schnoll-Sussman, M.D., a gastroenterologist and the director of the Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. When given the option, choose a grilled chicken breast or fish fillet instead of processed deli meats and tuna salad. And don’t eat all the meats — the body can only digest so much protein (think 4 to 6 ounces) at one time, and nothing can save you from the bloat triggered by overeating. (Sorry!)
3. Instead of soft cheese, eat hard cheese.
In the dairy department, soft cheeses (including cream cheese, cottage, ricotta, and sour cream, which isn’t really a cheese, but still) tend to contain the most tummy-troubling lactose, a milk sugar that isn’t specifically called out on nutrition labels. (You can estimate the amount of lactose in a food by looking at the grams of sugar, which should be listed.)
Sub any cheese you’d typically spread or spoon for solid, aged cheese like cheddar, parmesan, and Swiss. They tend to contain less lactose. And if you’re craving something creamy, William Chey, M.D., a professor at the University of Michigan and advisor to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, recommends plain or Greek yogurt or Greek yogurt-based spread.
4. Instead of regular chips, eat popped chips.
Eating a lot of greasy foods can delay stomach emptying, which can trigger acid reflux and bloating that makes you feel feel excessively full and uncomfortable, Dr. Chey says. Because your body digests fat more slowly than other nutrients, you’ll be stuck with this sensation. Baked and popped chips go down much easier, as do fats that come from plants as opposed to animals. (It’s one reason why you digest a salad dressed in olive oil more quickly than, say, a bacon-cheeseburger.) If constipation plagues you, you can also try unsalted popcorn, which contains fiber that can help get things moving. Just wash it down with plenty of water and limit yourself to a couple of cups — adding too much fiber to your diet too quickly will make you feel bloated every time.
5. Instead of pistachios and cashews, eat almonds.
Almonds (and peanuts!) contain carbs that are easier to digest than the ones in some other nuts like pistachios and cashews. (If you suffer from excessive bloating or gas, a diet that’s low in these carbs can help.) Make sure the almonds and peanuts are unsalted to avoid water retention.
6. Instead of healthy-sounding snack bars and cereals, choose ones made with the fewest, least-processed ingredients.
Even healthy-sounding cereals can contain natural sweeteners such as chicory root or inulin, ingredients that can trigger gas and residual bloating. Here are some other offenders:
It’s best to find cereals that are free of the ingredients above and contain the fewest possible ingredients. (Oatmeal, muesli, or puffed varieties qualify.) When whole foods aren’t available, opt for bars made mostly of whole ingredients (like nuts instead of processed grains). It’s a good sign when the naked eye can see actual nuts or cereal grains intact, and when products contain mostly soluble fiber as opposed to insoluble fiber. (Fiber content is often broken down into these categories on nutrition labels.)
Even if you grab “the right” bar on the go, you’ll benefit from taking your time with it, chewing until the food reaches the consistency of applesauce or pudding. Digestion begins in the mouth, and proper chewing can help your body do its thing so you experience less gas and bloating, Dr. Schnoll-Sussman says.
7. Instead of soy milk, drink unsweetened almond milk.
If you’re sensitive to lactose, you might think that any alternative would beat cow’s milk. But soy milk is made from soybeans. The body absorbs these bad boys poorly and they can end up fermenting in your colon, creating gas that makes your belly balloon.
Because soy milk contains more liquid than straight-up beans, a splash of it in your coffee won’t do the average person any harm. However, a few of bowls of cereal with soy milk — particularly sweetened varieties — can lead to problems in people with particularly sensitive stomachs. So opt for nut milks when you can, and make sure they’re unsweetened.
8. Instead of low-calorie yogurt, eat plain Greek yogurt with fruit.
Low-calorie yogurts (and dairy-based frozen desserts) tend to contain artificial or natural sweeteners like chicory root and maltitol that lead to gas — on top of the lactose that already bothers some people. A telltale sign that any dairy product is likely to irritate your gut: The nutrition label lists fiber or sugar alcohols, which don’t naturally occur in dairy foods. Plain Greek yogurt contains fewer ingredients, even when you add fruit to the mix. In terms of frozen desserts, sorbet, and sherbet are your best bets for naturally low calorie options.
9. Instead of broccoli and cauliflower, eat bell peppers, carrots, and cucumbers.
Generally speaking, veggies are the perfect flat-belly foods. They contain fiber that comes naturally packaged with water — a combo that can fend off constipation when eaten in moderation, explains Katherine Zeratsky, a registered dietitian nutritionist and instructor at Mayo Clinic. That said, some produce creates more gas than others, so choose your crudités wisely. Experts agree that broccoli and cauliflower are the worst offenders, but peppers and carrots tend to be less bloating.
10. Instead of hummus or sugar-free dressing, choose basic dips and condiments.
Bean dips like hummus, which is made of gas-causing garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas), can bloat you up — and the same goes for lentils, black beans, and peas, Dr. Schnoll-Sussman says. Meanwhile, sugar-free dressings and dips often contain stomach-irritating artificial sweeteners. Processed spreads can also contain lots of salt, while simple condiments made with mustard, tahini, pesto, oil and vinegar, relish, salsa, or unsalted nut butter tend to make better choices.
11. Instead of watermelon, eat cantaloupe.
Like veggies, fruits contain fiber and water that aid in digestion. But fruits that get their natural sweetness from fructose alone are more likely to bother your stomach than fruits naturally sweetened by fructose and glucose, Dr. Chey says.
One example is watermelon, but don’t let its high water content trick you: It’s all fructose. The safest fruits to snack on include bananas, most berries, grapes, lemons, limes, and pineapples, while stone fruits, apples, blackberries, and canned fruits are more problematic. Listen to your body. If the fruit doesn’t bother you, by all means, keep chomping on it.
12. Instead of onion and garlic, season with ginger.
Many people are unknowingly sensitive to the fructans (sugars) found in onions and garlic, which can seriously upset your stomach, according to Dr. Chey. Meanwhile, an alternative such as ginger can actually combat inflammation — and tastes delicious in teas, stir fries, salad dressings, and smoothies, according to Dr. Schnoll-Sussman. Turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon can also have anti-inflammatory effects, Zeratsky says.
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Elizabeth Narins Senior fitness and health editor Elizabeth Narins is a Brooklyn, NY-based writer and a former senior editor at Cosmopolitan.com, where she wrote about fitness, health, and more.
As someone who is conscious of her health, I spent years cultivating a vegetarian diet that included enough protein to fuel my busy lifestyle. I knew products made from soybeans were high in protein and a good source of B vitamins, so I strove to eat soy daily — soymilk, soy yogurt, tofu, soy hot dogs, you name it. I usually avoided products with ingredients I could not pronounce, but if they were attached to soy, I let it slide. Soy protein isolate? Great, I thought to myself. They’ve isolated the protein from the soybean to make it more concentrated. Hydrolyzed soy protein? Sure.
Now, admittedly, I didn’t find good rationalizations for all the soy-based products I consumed, but I wasn’t too worried. After all, in 1999 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved labeling that designated soy products as “heart healthy.” Soy ingredients weren’t only safe — they were beneficial.
After more than a decade of consuming various forms of soy, I felt reasonably fit, but in 2005, I stopped menstruating. I was just 29 years old. I couldn’t figure out why my stomach was so upset after I ate edamame or why I was often moody and bloated. It didn’t occur to me at the time to question soy, the sanctioned heart protector and miracle food.
I’ve had a lifelong interest in how food affects health, and so, in my early 30s, I decided to become a certified nutrition consultant specializing in holistic health. In my classes, I kept running across studies that talked about the wide range of risks associated with eating soy: endocrine disruption, digestive problems, infertility, decreased sex drive — and even the potential to contribute to certain cancers. As I began to learn about these potential dangers, I began wondering why no one was talking about the subject in the popular press or health media.
According to Kaayla Daniel, PhD, a certified clinical nutritionist and author of The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food (New Trends, 2005), the FDA pushed the health benefits of soy despite massive evidence to the contrary — and against the protests of its top scientists. The motive: pure profit.
To prove the point, Daniel points to the marketing patterns of certain agribusinesses, such as Dean Foods, which produces Silk soymilk. “Soy is a multibillion-dollar U.S. industry that’s taken these health claims to the bank,” she says. Once considered a small-scale poverty food in the United States, soy sales have exploded, increasing from $1 billion to $5.2 billion in sales from 1996 to 2011. “The soy industry has come a long way from when hippies were boiling up the beans,” says Daniel.
That’s an understatement. These days, soy is everywhere in our food supply. Even if you don’t drink soymilk or eat tofu, chances are you are still consuming soy routinely — in many cases, daily. Soybean oil has become the base for most vegetable oils; soy lecithin, the waste product left over after the soybean is processed, is used as an emulsifier; soy flour appears in baked and packaged goods; different forms of processed soy protein are added to everything from veggie burgers to muscle-building protein powders to animal feed. And let’s not forget the “milk,” promoted as the perfect dairy alternative for vegans or the lactose intolerant. Soy’s ubiquity — along with the conventional mindset that if a little is good, more must be better — has led to overconsumption, and as with many foods, too much can cause problems.
The debate over soy continues. In 2006, the FDA announced it was reevaluating the evidence in support of its 1999 claim. But it stated that its decision to do so was not because the data no longer supports its earlier claim, but rather because so many studies on soy have been published since the claim was initially approved.
Many epidemiological studies have shown that Asians, particularly in Japan and China, have a lower incidence of breast and prostate cancer than people in the United States, and several of these studies credit a traditional diet that includes soy. So, what gives?
As it turns out, Asian diets include only small amounts — on average, about 7 grams a day (picture a small serving of tofu) — of primarily fermented soy products, such as miso, natto (a strong-smelling sticky substance popular in Japan), tempeh and some types of tofu. Fermenting soy makes it easier to digest and creates health-promoting probiotics, the good bacteria our bodies need to maintain digestive and overall wellness.
By contrast, most of the soy consumed in the United States is both unfermented and processed. For example, soy-based snacks or shakes can contain more than 20 grams of soy protein in one serving, and folks who are lactose intolerant or vegan may chug many glasses of soymilk daily.
Up until about 10 years ago, soymilk was the main alternative to cow’s milk, says Elson Haas, MD, medical director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin. Haas would like to see people choose “better options like milks made from almonds, rice, hemp, oats or hazelnuts.” (For more info about milk alternatives, see “The New Moo.”)
For the most part, says clinical nutritionist Ed Bauman, MEd, PhD, founder and president of Bauman College, eating foods in their most pure and unadulterated state is a good thing. Soybeans in and of themselves are not all bad, he says, but the processing of soybeans is another issue. “Once there was a bean,” says Bauman, “but then it got cooked and squeezed and the pulp was separated out, and it was heated and processed for better shelf life and mouth feel.”
Haas stresses that most people fare best when they consume fermented forms of soy. If it’s not fermented, the bean must be processed with solvents or chemicals to make it palatable, although the extent does vary. Soymilk and tofu are no longer considered whole foods, for example, since they have been separated from the bean. And these products are less processed than soybean oil or those ubiquitous soy proteins, such as soy protein isolate, hydrolyzed soy protein and textured vegetable protein (TVP), which are found in many processed and packaged foods.
Consider what it takes to produce soy protein isolate. The soybeans are heated and exposed to a solvent-extraction process (which often uses the chemical hexane, a known neurotoxin) to remove the oils. This defatted meal is mixed with another solution to remove the fiber, and then it is subject to an acid wash. The resulting curds are neutralized in an alkaline solution and spray-dried at high temperatures to produce a protein powder.
Again, says Bauman, this highly processed product is a far cry from whole soybeans or naturally fermented soy. “We’re looking at this whole processed-food convenience market and we’re making generalizations about a plant,” he says. “Is soy the problem, or is it the handling and packaging and processing of the plant that’s the problem?”
Haas says that soy is one of the foods most likely to cause allergic and other reactions, including digestive upset. And while most people equate food allergies with anaphylaxis or another severe immune response, it is possible to have a subclinical reaction, which can morph into a host of health problems over time.
For reasons scientists cannot fully explain, in fact, food allergies are on the rise, especially in children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that food allergies in children increased 18 percent from 1997 to 2007. The top eight food allergens — milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat — account for more than 90 percent of those food allergies and sensitivities.
One theory for the rise is referred to as the hygiene hypothesis, which posits that our zealous use of disinfectants and antibiotics is interfering with the natural development of our immune systems. Deprived of more opportunities to fight germs, bacteria and infections, the theory goes, our immune systems get confused and attack allergens in the environment or proteins in foods.
Overconsumption is also an issue. It’s a complex process, but basically the more we consume certain foods, the more our immune systems are put on alert and the more we become sensitive to them. And, says Bauman, genetically modified (GM) foods can be even more problematic. “People can develop sensitivity to a food that has antigens or bacteria not originally in the food chain, as is the case with GM foods.” Up to a staggering 91 percent of soybeans are genetically modified in the United States, according to the Center for Food Safety.
On occasion, negative reactions to the bean start in infancy when babies are fed soy-based infant formula. Symptoms can be as subtle as hives or colic or as severe as an anaphylactic response. In fact, when the FDA declared soy “heart healthy” in 1999, its analysis ignored the emerging risks of soy-based infant formula. In particular, the FDA failed to recognize a 1997 study in the journal The Lancet that showed that daily exposure to plant-based estrogens for infants consuming soy formula was six to 11 times higher than the dose that has hormonal effects in adults consuming soy foods. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has since linked soy’s estrogenic effects with early onset of puberty in females and alterations in development of breast tissue.
As a general rule of thumb, Haas counsels people to eliminate soy from their diets if it is a concern. The most common symptoms Haas sees in people who don’t tolerate soy are gas and bloating, but they can be as wide ranging as eczema, runny nose and moodiness. “As with any potential allergen,” says Haas, “take a break from it and see if you feel better; then try it again and see if it produces any ill effects.” (For more on how to eliminate potential allergens from your diet, see “The UltraSimple Slimdown.”)
Soy and Hormones: Friends or Foes?
Even if you are not allergic to soy, Daniel cautions, you might do well to minimize consumption of highly processed soy-based foods. “The bottom line is that soybeans naturally contain plant estrogens, toxins and antinutrients, and you can’t completely remove those.”
Naturally occurring components found in soybeans, such as saponins, soyatoxin, phytates, protease inhibitors, oxalates and goitrogens, are called “antinutrients” because they basically block absorption of minerals and inhibit enzyme production needed for digestion. That’s one reason why they can cause stomach pain and bloating in some people. Goitrogens, in particular, interfere with iodine metabolism and, as a result, inhibit thyroid function.
“I have a lot of thyroid patients,” says Haas, “and I have them take their thyroid meds first thing in the morning. I tell them to avoid soy at breakfast, because soy may interfere with the way your body absorbs and utilizes the thyroid hormone. It’s not well documented, but it’s something many doctors see.”
Soy also contains plant-based estrogens called isoflavones. Studies on the effects of isoflavones on human estrogen levels are conflicting, and experts say it’s possible that they affect people differently. Some studies show that isoflavones can mimic the body’s own estrogens, which can cause symptoms such as weight gain and headaches in women. Conversely, other studies show that these same isoflavones can offer relief from perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms and may also block the body’s estrogens, which can help reduce high estrogen levels, therefore reducing risk for breast cancer or uterine cancer before menopause. Yet, still more studies show that soy’s isoflavones may also have the potential to promote hormone-sensitive cancers in some people.
Soy’s effects, says Haas, “are so individualized that you can’t take these widespread ideas and apply them to everyone.” In men, soy has been shown to lower testosterone levels and sex drive, according to both Haas and Daniel.
The highest risk of adverse exposure is for infants who drink soy-based formula. “It’s the only thing they’re eating, they’re very small, and they’re at a key stage developmentally,” says Daniel. “The estrogens in soy can affect the hormonal development of these children, adversely affecting their growing brains, reproductive systems and thyroids.”
Soy formula also contains large amounts of manganese, which has been linked to attention deficit disorder and neurotoxicity in infants. In 2005 the Israeli health ministry issued an advisory stating that infants should avoid soy formula altogether. Shortly after, the French Food Agency, German Institute of Risk Assessment and British Dietetic Association all followed suit, warning their citizens of the dangers associated with soy-based infant formula.
Despite the growing evidence that consuming soy can be risky — especially if it’s highly processed or genetically modified — most of our experts agree that small amounts of soy are just fine. Bauman, for example, suggests eating a variety of natural and seasonal unprocessed whole foods, including soy in moderation, tailored to individual biochemistry and sensitivities. (It is possible to obtain similar plant estrogens to a lesser extent from other foods, such as lima beans or flaxseed.)
And Daniel, Bauman and Haas all agree on the benefits of variety.
“My experience as a clinical nutritionist,” Daniel says, “is that people who have a varied diet tend not to get into trouble.”
Mary Vance is a certified holistic nutrition consultant practicing in San Francisco.
Which Fruits Cause Bloating?
Apples, Pears, new,
Did you ever feel bloated after eating certain fruits? Well, that is not at all unusual, because healthy as they may be, some fruits can make you balloon up. Let us see which fruits cause bloating and quick-fix tips.
Nothing is more appealing than a colorful fruit salad bringing together all your favorite fruits and loading you with essential nutrients. However, you’re missing one thing – FRUCTOSE! Fructose and sorbitol (sugar alcohol) are the sugary compounds found in every fruit, which some people have trouble digesting and experience bloating. If you too feel bloated after eating your fruit, that’s why! Before you start striking fruits off your menu, remember that they are also packed with dietary fiber that helps digestion and vitamins and minerals to enhance immune system response. Here are some fruits that cause bloating and what to do to avoid puffiness while sticking to a balanced diet plan.For more insights, visit lumitea.com.
Apples are packed with antioxidants that promote digestion and slow down the aging process. Actually, a green apple has a higher content of antioxidants than berries, dietitians say. Despite the numerous health benefits associated with it, however, this delicious sweet-sour fruit is also high in fructose, which can cause gas and make it hard enough for you to button up your pants after eating one. What to do? The answer comes easy – chew it slowly, savor it and try to eat half the fruit instead of the whole thing. Plus, taking your time to chew your snack more allows your body to properly digest the fruit and absorb the vitamins and antioxidants contained in it.
Just like apples, pears are top of the list for a healthy dessert. They are rich in pectin, a type of soluble fiber that lowers blood cholesterol levels (LDL) and helps keep you full longer. Unfortunately though, pears also contain sorbitol, which is a no-go if you’re suffering from belly bloat. While a small amount of this sugar alcohol can keep your digestive system moving, because it takes longer to absorb some people may experience serious bloating and gas even from ingesting a small amount of it. Once it reaches the colon it ferments and… your stomach balloons up. The only way to beat the effects of sorbitol is to exercise. Physical exercise helps move the gas through the body and reduce the bloating.
Apricots and Peaches
Other fruits rich in fiber and also delicious that make it to the eat-not-if-you-bloat list areapricots and peaches. In general, orangey fruits count among the culprits for gas and associated puffiness particularly because they’re often canned or dried. Both of these varieties are high in sugar, and hence may cause bloating. How to beat it? Opt for a fresh fruit over its dried or canned version and… work out to de-bloat!
While dried fruits like raisins or prunesstimulate bowel movement and regulate stool, they can also make you feel puffy. That’s because they are rich in fiber and sugar, which the bad bacteria in your colon feed on. The bacteria work by fermenting the sugar and fiber that were not digested by the stomach and produce gas and give you the pregnancy-like feeling. To beat the bloat, whenever you snack on dried fruit, make sure you drink plenty of water to set your bowels in motion and get rid of the abdominal lump.
If you constantly feel like your pants are exploding after eating any kind of dried fruit, consider taking a probiotic-based supplement to boost the levels of good bacteria in your gut.
We all love cherries, mango, pineapple, grapes, dates and bananas, but unfortunately in addition to tickling your taste buds, eating these fruits may bring about, you guessed it, bloating. This happens because they are high in sugar and some of the sugar you ingest is not broken down and absorbed by the small intestine and gets trapped in the large intestine. To prevent this from happening, chew every bite properly. In this way you will ensure proper digestion of sugar. As an extra precaution, reduce your intake of these fruits to one-cup serving and limit the amount of carbohydrates and sugars you consume the rest of the day.
Although dietary fiber has a good reputation for promoting digestion and supporting weight loss, it can also cause bloating. Do you experience bloating after eating fiber-rich foods? If yes, here’s why. The bacteria in the digestive tract break down the fiber and gas is released during this process.
Fruits like berries, pomegranates, kumquats, guava, kiwi, nectarines, and papaya (apart from apples and pears as well as dried fruits already mentioned) are rich in fiber. A trick to avoid becoming gassy after eating these fruits is to gradually increase your fiber intake if you normally don’t follow a fiber-rich diet. For instance, if you have cereals for breakfast, don’t snack on berries or apples during the day.
For those of you who still experience bloating after following these guidelines, here are a few quick fixes:
- Hydrate well – make sure you drink between 6 and 8 8-ounce glasses of water daily;
- Chew your food well to avoid swallowing air;
- Increase your fiber intake gradually;
- Don’t exceed a full cup per serving;
- Try mix fruits with low or no-fat yogurt (yogurt contains bacteria that help eliminate gas);
- Work out regularly;
- If your bloating doesn’t go away so easily, try a de-bloating teatox!
1 teaspoon of green tea leaves (or 1 green tea bag)
1 teaspoon of chamomile flowers (or 1 chamomile tea bag)
1 teaspoon of rosehip flowers
1 teaspoon of hibiscus flowers (dried)
Boil 2 cups of water and pour in all the ingredients. Allow 4-5 minutes to steep. Sip up once or twice daily. Flavor it up with a teaspoon of organic honey and a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Note: This tea will help eliminate stomach bloating and jump-start your lazy metabolism. You can enjoy it either hot or cold with ice.
Can fruit cause bloating?
Do fruits cause bloating?
Fruits make up an important part of our diet, offering us plenty in terms of nutrition: they’re rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Why then, does fruit sometimes play havoc with digestive symptoms like bloating or trapped wind? Well, the answer could lie in fructose, a type of sugar that plenty of fruits contain in abundance.
You see fruit, rather than chocolate or cake, was originally designed to be our primary source of sugar. Back in our scavenger days, sugar, instead of being associated with health problems like diabetes and high blood glucose levels, was a valuable form of energy that our body needed to survive and thrive. These days though, sugar is far too readily available and is often highly processed, hence why it’s so inherently linked with poor diet and health.
The fructose derived from fruit is usually absorbed into your bloodstream in the small intestine thanks to the help of transporter proteins like GLUT2 and GLUT5. Problems only really occur with fructose when it enters your large intestine, where it can feed the unhealthy bacteria in your gut and ferment, causing those tell-tale bloating symptoms.
However, fructose isn’t the only cause for concern when it comes to fruit. In addition to containing fructose, fruit also contains other forms of sugar, such as fructans. Fructans are made up of fructose molecules but remain a separate class of sugars. Unlike fructose, only 5-15% of fructans actually make it to your small intestine so here, the problem is less with your transporter proteins and more with the digestive enzymes responsible for breaking down fructan.
Finally, in addition to containing fructan and fructose, fruit also contains plenty of fibre, as I’ve mentioned. Now fibre is definitely a good thing – it supports your digestive system and prevents constipation – however, it can be difficult to break down. Soluble fibre in particular is the main problem here as, in excess, or alongside too little water, it can back up the digestive system which does slow down digestion and can cause fermentation in the gut – hello bloating!
What fruits are the worst for bloating?
Now, here at A.Vogel Talks Food I’m always encouraging my readers to do all they can to get their ‘5 a day’ (or even 10!), so obviously boycotting fruit completely from your diet isn’t the answer. In the long-term, you should be looking at the best ways of supporting your digestive tract so it’s better able to tolerate and process fructose but, in the meantime at least, you could try looking at a low FODMAP diet.
What exactly are FODMAPs? This acronym stands for ‘Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols’, referring to a specific class of short-chain carbohydrates. Fructose and fructan both fall into the FODMAP category and foods that contain these components are deemed high FODMAP. This doesn’t mean that these foods are bad or unhealthy, but if you suffer from a digestive disorder like IBS, it might be worth treating high FODMAP foods with some caution.
Below, I’ve listed a few fruits that are on the high FODMAP spectrum:
- Dried fruit
Are there any fruits you can eat?
Just as there are foods that are quite high in FODMAPs, consequently there are groups of foods that are considered to be ‘low FODMAP’ options. Fortunately, there are quite a few different types of fruit on this list so, if you are conscious of bloating, you might want to swap some of your usual choices for a few of these:
How can I relieve bloating?
It’s definitely worth bearing in mind that some fruits might be more capable of affecting you than others but, as I mentioned earlier, what really matters is improving your overall digestion. This can be pivotal not only for relieving the symptoms of bloating, but also for preventing their return in the future. That’s why below I’ve listed some of my favourite top tips when it comes to easing bloating!
1. Avoid eating fruit near meals
One of the real problems with fruit, and why it can cause bloating, is that very often we’re not eating it at the right time. The issue is that for many of us, we tend to view fruit as either the sequel or prequel to a good meal.
This can be troublesome as, if this fruit then starts to ferment in your stomach, you will need some good, strong stomach acid to break down all those fats, proteins you’ve just eaten too! Since some fruits are also incredibly rich in fibre, this means that your digestive system will become slower, which is going to inhibit how the other foods you’ve just eaten are broken down and processed. The end result is can be a whole lot of discomfort, bloating, nausea or even cramps!
My top tip: If you are going to eat fruit, try to eat it separately from other meals. Ideally you want to wait at least an hour or 30 minutes before tucking into lunch or dinner in order to avoid any nasty bloating symptoms.
2. Chew your food!
Yes, I know this is one I regularly recommend, but it’s for good reason! One of the really big problems with how we eat these days is that most of us will either eat on-the-go or slumped over a computer. We don’t really take the time to appreciate our food anymore which is a real shame as, if you’re not taking the time to chew your food properly, it means your stomach has to work that bit harder to break it down. This not only increases your chances of experiencing bloating symptoms, it also means you won’t be absorbing all those lovely nutrients as efficiently either!
My top tip: If you really want to give your digestive system the best possible chance of being able to process what you’re eating properly then you need to set aside a decent amount of time to eat your food. Don’t rush; instead savour each mouthful and try to chew your food at least 20 times – not only will this help to break down your food, it can also prevent you from over-eating! Remember to sit up straight too as, if you’re slouched over, that’s going to restrict your digestive juices, minimising their efficiency.
3. Invest in a pre and probiotic
When it comes to your digestive system, more and more research is shouting about how important your gut bacteria are, not only for maintaining a healthy digestive tract, but also for your wider health too! As I mentioned earlier, one of the real problems with fructose is that can act as a food source for your unfriendly bacteria and, if these start to overwhelm your friendly bacteria, this can cause what is known as ‘gut dysbiosis’, which in turn can give birth to a whole plethora of problems, including bloating and other issues like constipation or diarrhoea.
Thankfully, one way you can help to support your friendly gut bacteria is by investing in a good, high quality pre and probiotic. Now, you’ve probably heard of probiotics before – they’re the friendly bacteria that help to regulate your gut environment. Optibac are one brand that I’m particularly fond of but, one of the real problems with taking any probiotic is that, if your gut environment isn’t optimal all those friendly strains of bacteria will die off very quickly.
This is where a good, high quality prebiotic can help. Prebiotics help to feed your friendly gut bacteria and create a better overall gut environment for them to thrive in. Molkosan is our gut-friendly prebiotic here at A.Vogel and this contains plenty of L+ lactic acid, a food source your friendly bacteria are especially fond of!
My Top Tip:
Rich in L+ lactic acid, all you have to do is add a teaspoon of this gut-friendly prebitoic to a glass of water or fruit juice in order to reap the benefits..
“Works a treat, tastes lovely. Fantastic quality, perfection.”
Read what other people are saying about Molkosan.
4. Get some exercise
If you are feeling bloated, don’t use it as an excuse to lie down and remain sedentary. Gentle forms of exercise such as yoga, or even just a brisk walk, can actually help to relieve bloating symptoms such as trapped wind by gradually compressing and releasing your digestive tract. That’s why the next time bloating strikes, it can be really worthwhile to try some simple stretches or move through a low-impact yoga flow!
My top tip: One of my favourite stretches to do is the apanasana pose. You start this pose by lying vertically on your back and then, slowly, draw your knees in to your chest. If you like, rock gently back and forward or repeat several times for relief from your symptoms.
5. Try stewing your fruit
If you really can’t abide cutting out some of your favourite fruits, you could try stewing them instead of eating them raw. Cooked foods in general are a bit gentler on your digestive tract and stewing your fruit may actually help to lower their fibre content, which won’t slow your digestive system down as much. I quite like stewing pears, for example, with a little bit of cinnamon as this provides some sweetness without any excess sugar!
My top tip: If you’re looking for suggestions when it comes to food choices and easing bloating, you could try our Easy De-Bloat Smoothie, which contains anti-inflammatory ginger as well as mint and coconut water.
6. Incorporate more bitters into your meals
In the Mediterranean, it’s quite normal to start a meal with a light, bitter salad and this could have all sorts of benefits for our digestive system. Bitter foods can actually help to kick-start your digestive processes, encouraging the secretion of gastric juices which ultimately helps to break down your foods a lot more efficiently.
When it comes to bloating specifically, this actually helps to prevent bloating from occurring in the first place and can even provide relief if you’re in the midst of experiencing the symptoms. Here are a few of my favourite bitter foods you could try incorporating into meals:
If these foods don’t really appeal to you, then you could try a bitter tincture like our Digestisan. This contains a combination of artichoke, dandelion, peppermint and boldo which can help to promote healthy digestive secretions, easing bloating symptoms such as trapped wind or feelings of fullness.
Just mix 15-10 drops in a little water, 5-10 minutes before meals in order to enhance your gastric secretions and ward off the symptoms of indigestion.
“Excellent works straight away”
Read what other people are saying about Digestisan.
Many of us will try to load up on fruits and vegetables while on a health kick. These colorful foods can do our body good, but they can wreak havoc on our digestive system. It’s not a coincidence that we develop stomach bloating and smelly gas after eating these healthy foods in excess.
It’s not uncommon to experience digestive discomfort when we go through a diet change. Specifically, fruits and vegetables contain a number of nutrients, including oligosaccharides, soluble fiber and natural sugars, like fructose, that can cause excessive gas in the intestines. It’s the breakdown of foods during the digestive process that can lead to passing gas, burping, and gas pains or cramping.
Read More: Fruits And Vegetables Are Just As Important For Your Legs As They Are For Your Heart
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend most adults consume two and a half to three cups of vegetables per day, along with two cups of fruit. Yet, close to 90 percent do not meet vegetable intake recommendations, and over 75 percent do not meet the fruit intake recommendations. However, adding more than the recommended amount to our diet isn’t always healthier.
A 2014 study published in The BMJ found for every portion of fruit and vegetables consumed, there’s a lower risk of premature death; the average risk of death fell about 5 percent for every extra serving, up to five servings per day— after five there’s no further impact. In the U.S. and China, eating more fruits and vegetables was linked with a lower risk of dying from any cause, especially heart disease.
When it comes to fruit and vegetable intake, moderation is key.
Below are six foods that cause bloating and gas, from carrots to mangoes.
This gas culprit contains a natural sugar, known as oligosaccharide, which the human body cannot completely break down. These large molecules are not digested in the same way as other sugars because the human body does not make the enzyme that breaks them down. Instead, they make their way through the digestive tract to the large intestine intact and not digested, waiting to be broken down by bacteria in the intestine. It is this process that produces smelly gas.
Carrots are one of the healthiest foods that provide us with essential vitamins and minerals. However, eating too many carrots can leave us with uncomfortable side effects, like veggie bloat. A cup of raw carrots contains about 12 grams of carbohydrates with 4 of these grams being fiber. High-fiber vegetables, like carrots, cause gas because bacteria within the colon produces it as a by-product of its digestion of fiber.
Vegetables like kale, cabbage, and broccoli are excellent sources of vitamin C and fiber, but they can also make us feel bloated and gassy. Cruciferous vegetables contain the complex sugar known as “raffinose,” which makes it difficult to digest for people with a sensitive stomach, according to the Cleveland Clinic. These vegetables not only cause flatulence, they also produce an odiferous smell.
Pectin is a gel-like substance rich in fiber and carbohydrates. It is found in apples, oranges, pears, guavas and plums, and a few other citrus fruits. Photo courtesy of Pexels, Public Domain
This popular fruit is filled with antioxidants, especially green apples. However, apples are loaded with fructose, or fruit sugar, which can be tough on a sensitive stomach. Fructose requires no digesting; they are already broken down into the simplest form the body can absorb. However, when fructose doesn’t get absorbed into the bloodstream through the intestinal wall, it is sent down the bowels and consumed by bad bacteria that make by-products, like methane and hydrogen gas, causing bloating, cramping, gas, diarrhea, and bad breath.
Read More: Eating More Fruits And Vegetables Improves Well-Being Fast
The antioxidant-rich fruit is packed with polyols, the main component in sugar substitutes, also known as sugar alcohols. Polyols linger around the digestive system, and are only partly absorbed by the small intestine. The remaining polyols pull water into the small and large bowel and are then fermented by intestinal bacteria, leading to excessive gas.
This sweet fruit contains more fructose than glucose, which makes it difficult for fructose to be absorbed by the body. This imbalance can lead to bloating and flatulence. Moreover, fructose is sweeter than glucose, which can make it more difficult to digest for those with gut issues.
Remember, eating these healthy foods in excess will make your stomach hurt.
Which Fruits, Vegetables Have Highest Pesticide Levels?
Fruits And Veggies May Be The Key To Happiness
5 Sneaky Causes of Bloat and How to Avoid Them
You know that eating too much—or too fast—can lead to the dreaded bloat. But what if you haven’t done either, and you’re still feeling puffy? In her new book, The Bloat Cure ($20; amazon.com), gastroenterologist Robynne Chutkan, MD, describes an A-to-Z list of possible triggers for a ballooning mid-section. Here, five sneaky culprits that could be behind your discomfort.
1. Artificial Sweeteners
As if you needed another reason to avoid artificial sweeteners, they may be causing your belly to bulge. These chemicals don’t get absorbed in the small intestine and end up in your colon, where they’re fermented by bacteria. The result: “lots of smelly gas,” as Dr. Chutkan puts it in her book. But when it comes to keeping gassiness at bay, regular sugar isn’t much better. “Too much sugar sends bad bacteria and other undesirables like yeast into a feeding frenzy, and can create an imbalance in the microbiome,” Dr. Chutkan says. She advises sticking to foods that have less than 5 grams of sugar per serving.
2. Cruciferous vegetables
Veggies like cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and broccoli contain potent cancer-fighting compounds. But they also have a starch called raffinose that’s tough for your body to digest; in your colon, it becomes methane gas. If you’re not used to eating cruciferous vegetables, Dr. Chutkan suggests starting with small servings, and gradually increasing your portions. Adding lemon juice can also help stimulate digestive enzymes.
Health.com: Bloated? 14 Yoga Poses for Better Digestion
While nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help ease joint pain, they do a number on your intestinal lining, and also cause fluid retention. “So in addition to feeling bloated, they can make you look puffy all over,” Dr. Chutkan writes in the book. As an alternative, you could try a pain reliever that doesn’t contain ibuprofen or aspirin. You might also consider mind-body techniques (like acupuncture and meditation), and adopting an anti-inflammatory diet, she suggests.
Health.com: 6 Iron-Rich Food Combos—No Meat Required
For those with lactose intolerance, soy milk may seem like a good swap. But be forewarned: Processed soy (which includes tofu) can cause serious puff. It has estrogen-like effects in the body, which contribute to bloating. Dr. Chutkan’s advice: Choose coconut milk, rice milk, hemp milk, or unsweetened almond milk instead of soy milk. And try to stay away from packaged foods that contain the common filler soy protein isolate.
Health.com: Which Non-Dairy Milk Is Right for You?
5. Sports drinks
Your favorite way to rehydrate after a workout could be making your belly swell, thanks to all the sugar and sweeteners in sports drinks. The best way to rehydrate and restore electrolytes: water and a banana, says Dr. Chutkan. Or drink unflavored coconut water. Craving something week? “Try sparkling water with a splash of pomegranate juice or lemonade,” she says.
This article originally appeared on Health.com
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Taking the wind out of soy milk drinkers
GETTING TO THE BOTTOM OF IT: Waikato University Masters student Anila Rajan, pictured, with senior lecturer Dr Giridhar Raghavan Nair uses a continuous reactor to add peanut enzymes to soy milk.
Research to reduce farting has begun at Waikato University in an effort to stamp out the embarrassing side-effect from soy milk.
Abdominal bloating, rumbling and flatulence are often experienced by lactose-intolerant people who turn to soy milk as an alternative to drinking dairy products. Vegetarians also consume a lot of soy milk.
Biochemical engineering Masters student Anila Rajan believes peanuts may hold the key to reducing the embarrassing social side-effect.
Miss Rajan said humans didn’t have the enzyme needed to digest some of the complex sugars in soy milk.
While the flatulence problem was well known, the current methods to remove those flatulence-inducing sugars during the production process were expensive.
So Miss Rajan is examining the practicalities of using a peanut extract to manufacture soy milk in place of expensive enzymes.
Alpha-galactosidase is a naturally occurring enzyme found in peanuts.
“Peanuts cost about $6 a kilo, while pure enzymes that would remove the sugars cost around $1000 per milligram,” she said.
Therefore, peanuts were a very cheap source of the enzyme required.
Miss Rajan’s research was still in its early stages, but she said her results so far were encouraging.
Her supervisor, Department of Engineering senior lecturer Dr Giridhar Raghavan Nair, said the research had the potential to substantially increase the consumption of soy milk.
Soy milk had many health benefits. It was high in protein and also contained more fibre than cow’s milk.
Dr Nair said there was already a gradual move toward soy milk.
“The only reason it hasn’t really picked up is because of this flatulence problem.”
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THE BOTTOM LINE
Excerpt from Kaayla Daniel’s book: The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food (New Trends, Spring 2004).
Soy is an incomparable gas producer–the King of Musical Fruits.
Abdominal bloating, rumbling and flatus experienced by vegetarians and other heavy soyfood eaters make soy the butt of a great deal of bathroom humor. Unfortunately it is no laughing matter for the many people struggling with health problems who have been advised to eat more soy but cannot abide the consequences to their marriages, relationships, jobs and self image. Such people often ask Dr. Andrew Weil and other soy proponents to help them choose the types and brands of soy that will give them the supposed health benefits of soy minus the killer gas.1
In fact, neither Dr. Weil nor anyone else has completely solved this problem. The obvious solution is to steer clear of soy. Since the average American prefers to do just that, the soy industry has acknowledged that the “flatulence factor” must be overcome if soyfoods are ever to become a major part of the American diet.2,3
Accordingly, research dollars have poured into studies with titles such as “Flavor and flatulence factors in soybean protein products,” “Effects of various soybean products on flatulence in the adult man,” “Development of a technique for the in vivo assessment of flatulence in dogs” and so forth. Studies comparing types of soyfoods (tempeh, tofu, soy protein isolate, etc.) and/or different strains of soybeans (hybrid or genetically engineered) in terms of their flatulence potential are commonplace. Test subjects have included rats, college students and other animals. “Containment devices” have included gas-tight pantaloons sealed to the skin at the waist and thighs using duct tape and equipped with two ports. Qualified scientists have measured numbers of incidences per hour and day: the quantities of gas ejected per incident, the proportions of hydrogen, methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, methanethiol and other gases; and even propulsion force and noise levels. In addition, researchers have called on professional “odor judges” to make subjective measurements of bodily emissions.
Despite these fine efforts, scientists have not completely identified the “flatulence factor” in soybeans and can propose only partial solutions.
THE TWO STOOGES: RAF AND STACH
The chief culprit, as with all beans, is the oligosaccharides in the carbohydrate portion. The word oligosaccharides comes from oligo (few) and saccharides (sugars). The best known oligosaccharides in beans are raffinose and stachyose. They require the enzyme alpha-galactosidase to be digested properly. Unfortunately, humans and other mammals do not come so equipped.
The result is that the pair–whom we’ll call Raf and Stach–pass through the small intestine unscathed to arrive in the large intestine, where they are attacked by armies of hungry bacteria. The digestive fermentation that takes place always results in gas and sometimes in odor. The precise amount and specific smell varies widely from person to person and also depends upon gender, age and the demographics of each individual’s gut population.4 Several reports indicate that the increased availability of flatulent foods causes anaerobic bacteria to reproduce. Eating more such foods results in a “rapid rate of gas production,” with the possibility of faster, more explosive results every time additional foods of this ilk appear in the intestine.5-7
Although a few people seem able to eat soy without gassing up, studies on soybean digestion often refer to “excessive volume” and “noxious odor.” Malodorous methane (CH4) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gases are produced in greater amounts by infants fed soy formula.8 The highly volatile and toxic H2S has been linked to many intestinal disorders, particularly ulcerative colitis.9
Over the years scientists have done their darndest to find a way to either reduce the presence of Raf and Stach in soybean products or to cut out the entire carbohydrate load. Carbohydrates in soy generally constitute 30 percent of the bean and break down into soluble sugars of sucrose (5 percent), stachyose (4 percent), raffinose (1 percent) and insoluble fiber (20 percent). The insoluble fiber consists of cellulose and pectins, which are not digested by the enzymes of the GI tract, and which absorb water and swell considerably. Unlike other beans, soybean carbohydrate contains very little starch (which humans can digest)–less than 1 percent.10,11
Neither home cooking nor high-temperature industrial heating processes dispatch Raf and Stach. They are stubbornly heat stable. However, germination, which occurs during the fermentation process, will dramatically reduce the amount of these sugars, with a complete disappearance of the oligosaccharides on the third day. Incubation with microrganisms or enzymes derived from microorganisms also has this good effect.12 Thus, old-fashioned soy products such as miso, tempeh and natto rarely cause gas but modern, heat-processed products that still contain the carbohydrate portion of the bean (soy flour, for example) create copious amounts. Among the modern processed products, soy protein concentrate is said to produce the least gas because its carbohydrate portion has been extracted by alcohol. Soy protein isolate (SPI) is almost pure protein and thus considered practically free of “flatulence factors.” 13-17
In theory, tofu should be a low gas producer because oligosaccharides concentrate in the whey (the soaking liquid) and not the curds (the part sold as tofu).18 Some Raf and Stach remain, however, and tofu is a gas producer for many consumers. The probable reason is that the product is eaten in such large quantities that even the small proportion of Raf and Stach that remain in the curd are enough to set off a feeding frenzy among colon bacteria.
In fact, science confirms the anecdotes of many soy consumers–that eating a little soy produces minimal gas, but eating just a bit more can result in discomfort or embarrassment. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed no significant increase in flatus frequency after ingestion of 34 grams (about two tablespoons) of soymilk, but a major increase after 80 grams (about one-third cup). The researchers found that as the rate of gas production in the colon increased, smaller proportions were absorbed by the body and larger amounts expelled through the rectum.19 Thus, it is no wonder that soy consumption can so easily become a social problem. To make matters worse, soy inhibits a zinc-containing enzyme known as carbonic anhydrase, which helps transport gases across the intestinal wall. If carbonic anhydrase is neutralized, gas builds up in the colon. Hydrogen sulfide in the cecum has been reduced fivefold by supplementing with zinc, a mineral blocked by the phytates in soy and in short supply anyway in many soy-eaters’ diets.20
The question remains why certain individuals experience stupendous amounts of gas even when they consume soyfoods that are virtually devoid of Raf and Stach. Imbalances in gut flora caused by trypsin inhibitors (which inhibit protein digestion) may be part of the problem, though undigested protein itself is not. Circulating levels of insulin, gastrin, gastric inhibitory polypeptide, pancreatic polypeptide and neurotensin are affected by trypsin inhibitors, but do not seem involved in flatulent dyspepsia.21
Soy-food eaters who suffer from truly excessive amounts of gas may be victims of undiagnosed soy allergies or sensitivities, and/or celiac disease. Obvious allergic symptoms to soy include sneezing, runny nose, hives, diarrhea, facial swelling, swollen tongue, shortness of breath and anaphylactic shock. Delayed allergic responses are less dramatic but even more common, and may manifest as gastrointestinal disturbances, including excess gas. Diarrhea, bloating and flatulence in celiac sufferers result not only from the consumption of wheat gluten and dairy products, but from even tiny amounts of soy.22 Soy saponins and lectins, which damage the mucosal lining of the intestine, may also be contributing to these gas and bloating problems.
RUNNING OUT OF GAS
One solution proposed by the soy industry is genetically modified strains of soybeans that are low in the two stooges Raf and Stach. Plant scientists have already developed a strain known as “High Sucrose Soybeans” that contains more sucrose and less indigestible carbohydrates than ordinary beans. It also lacks the lipoxygenase-2 enyzme that gives soy its infamous “beany” taste. The industry hopes that the modified bean, with taste improved and flatulence eliminated, will be popular with makers of soy milk and tofu.23,24
Another possibility–not seriously proposed for humans–is antibiotics. Animal studies have shown that antibiotics destroy anaerobic bacteria in the intestinal tract that eat Raf and Stach and cause gas, thus improving the smell of chicken coops and barnyards.25
FULL OF BEANO
Until such “low gas” beans come on the market, soy proponents recommend that afflicted parties take Beano™ with their soy. This was the solution proposed by soy industry spokeswoman Clare Hasler, PhD, to a consumer who said he enjoyed eating tofu and drinking soymilk but wondered what to do about levels of gas that were “almost too embarrassing to discuss” and which made him unable to “stand the smell of myself.”26 Beano™ is an over-the-counter supplement containing alpha galactosidase, the enzyme required to break down the raffish oligosaccharides into simple digestible sugars. Sometimes this works, but many times it doesn’t. Beano™ will not reduce gas caused by soy allergies or intolerances, or by celiac disease.
The best solution for people who wish to eat soy is to choose old-fashioned fermented soy products like miso, tempeh and natto. With soaking and fermenting, the content of the oligosaccharides decreases while the levels of alpha-galactosidase increase.27 Proper preparation helps reduce trypsin inhibitors, saponins and other contributors to indigestion and to bowel disturbances, along with the gas-producing duo Raf and Stach.
For gas-afflicted folks who are addicted to the taste of tofu or to modern soy products, there is one other solution–a seat cushion packed with a charcoal filter. The medical journal Gut recently reviewed this product favorably, concluding that it “effectively limits the escape of these sulfur-containing gases into the environment.”28 Current Treatment Options in Gastroenterology further recommended the cushion as a viable solution for “the noxious odor associated with flatus,” saying that “the charcoal cushion may improve patients’ symptoms.”29 Taking charcoal internally will not do the trick. 30
FLATUS WITH STATUS
Meanwhile, the soy industry has begun singing its version of the popular childhood song “The more you toot, the better you feel. Let’s eat soy with every meal.” Gas–we are being told–could be a good thing, and consumers might wish to reconsider their long-standing request for a new and improved “low gas” soy.
As Mark Messina,.PhD, puts it, “there may be some beneficial effects associated with oligosaccharide consumption. Because of their growth-promoting effect on bifidobacteria, the oligosaccharides might promote the health of the colon, increase longevity and decrease colon cancer risk.”31 This observation totally ignores research showing that the trypsin inhibitors present in soybeans adversely affect gut flora and allow more pathogenic strains to establish in the intestine32 and confuses the nasty oligosaccharides in soy with another type of oligosaccharides known as the fructooligo-saccharides consumers have used effectively to feed friendly bacteria and promote gastrointestinal health. Despite considerable evidence to the contrary, Dr. Messina would prefer to believe that since soy is a good thing, then the soy constituents Raf and Stach help feed good (never bad) bacteria and produce only the finest, healthiest gas.
Should consumers remain unconvinced, the industry still proposes to benefit. Japanese researchers have come up with a new miracle supplement– soybean oligosaccharides in powder form to be used as a substitute for table sugar and sprinkled directly on foods.33
Do hold your breath.
- Question sent on November 2, 1998 by Lynn Willeford, Associate Editor of Dr. Andrew Weil’s Self Healing newsletter, to Clare Hasler at the “Ask an Expert” StratSoy website, which is sponsored by the United Soybean Board and developed at the University of Illinois at Champaign.
- Suarez FL, Springfield J, et al. Gas production in humans ingesting a soybean flour derived from beans naturally low in oligosaccharides, Am J Clin Nutr, 1999, 69,1, 135-139.
- Visser A, Thomas A. Review: soya protein products, their processing, functionality and application aspects. Food Rev Inter, 1987, 3 (1&2), 1-32.
- Liener IE. Implications of antinutritional components in soybean foods, Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 1994, 34, 1, 49.
- Suarez F et al. Insights into human colonic physiology obtained from the study of flatus composition. Am J Physiol, 1997, 272, 5, pt 1, G1028-1033.
- Smith Allan K and Circle, Sidney J. Soybeans; Chemistry and Technology, Volume 1 Proteins (Westport, CT, Avi Publishing, 1972), p. 181.
- Jiang T et al. Gas production by feces of infants, J Pediatric Gastroenterol Nutr, 2001, 32, 5, 534-541.
- Levine J et al. Fecal hydrogen sulfide production in ulcerative colitis, Am J Gastroenterol, 1998, 93, 1, 83-87.
- Suarez F et al. Production and elimination of sulfur-containing gases in the rat colon, Am J Physiol, 1998, 274, (4, pt1) G727-733.
- Liu, KeShun. Soybeans: Chemistry, Technology and Utilization (Aspen, 1999) 72,76
- Berk, Zeki. Technology of production of edible flours and protein products from soybeans, Food and Agric Organ of the United Nations, Rome, 1993 FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin, 97, 15.
- Jimenez MJ et al. Biochemical and nutritional studies of germinated soybean seeds (article in Spanish), Arch Lationoam Nutr, 1985, 35, 3, 480-490.
- Rackis JJ. Flatulence caused by soya and its control through processing, J Amer Oil Chem Soc, 1981, 58, 503.
- Rackis JJ. Flavor and flatulence factors in soybean protein products. J Agric Food Chem, 1970, 18, 977.
- Calloway DH, Hickey CA, Murphy EL. Reduction of intestinal gas-forming properties of legumes by traditional and experimental food processing methods, J Food Sci, 1971, 36, 251.
- Jood S et al. Effect of flatus producing factors in legumes, J Agri Food Chem, 1985, 33, 268.
- Liu, 74
- Olson AC et al. Flatus-causing factors in legumes in Ory RI, ed. Antinutrients and Natural Toxicants in Foods (Westport CT, Food and Nutrition Press, 1981, p. 275.
- Suarez FL et al. Gas production in humans ingesting a soybean flour derived from beans naturally low in oligosaccharides, Am J Clin Nutr, 1999, 69, 1, 135-139.
- Smith and Circle, p. 182.
- Watson RG et al. Circulating gastrointestinal hormones in patients with flatulent dyspepsis, with and without gallbladder disease, Digestion, 1986, 35,4, 211-216.
- Faulkner-Hogg KB, Selby WS, Loblay RH. Dietary analysis in symptomatic patients with coeliac disease on a gluten-free diet: the role of trace amounts of gluten and non-gluten food intolerances. Scand J Gastroentrol, 1999, 34, 8, 784-789.
- Parsons CM, Zhang Y, Araba M. Nutritional evaluation of soybean meals varying in oligosaccharide content. Poultry Sci, 2000, 79,8, 1127-1131.
- Kane, Janice Roma. Chemical companies fortify with soy: soy receives heavy investment in functional foods from DuPont, ADM and Henkel. Chemical Market Reporter, November 8, 1999, 256, 19, FR14.
- Smith and Circle, p. 181.
- Response by Clare Hasler on January 18, 1999 to a question sent to the “Ask and Expert” part of the StratSoy website funded by the United Soybean Board and developed by the University of Illinois.
- Guimaraes VM, de Rezende ST et al. Characterization of alpha-galactosidases from germinating soybean seed and their use for hydrolysis of oligosaccharides, Phytochem, 2001, 58, 1, 67-73.
- Suarez, FL, Springfield J, Levitt MD. Identification of gases responsible for the odour of human flatus and evaluation of a device purported to reduce this odor. Gut, 1998, 43, 100-104.
- Fink RN, Lembo AJ. Intestinal gas. Curr Treat Options Gastroenterol, 2001, 4, 4, 333-337.
- Suarez et al. Failure of activated charcoal to reduce the release of gases produced by colonic flora. Am J Gastroenterol, 1999, 94, 1, 208-212.
- Messina, Mark. Legumes and soybeans: overview of their nutritional profiles and health effects. Amer J Clin Nutr, 1999, 70, 3, 439S-450S.
- Grant, 319.
- Hata Y, Yamamoto M, Nakajima K. Effects of soybean oligosaccharides on human digestive organs: estimate of fifty percent effective dose and maximum non-effective dose based on diarrhea. J Clin Biochem Nutr, 1991, 10, 135-144.
Copyright: From The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food by Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN. NewTrends Publishing, (877) 707-1776, Newtrendspublishing.com, Spring 2004.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Fall 2003.
5 Seemingly-Harmless Foods That Cause Belly Bloat
“Ugh, I have a food baby!”
My friend Sheryl had overeaten a bit at a cocktail party, and now she was feeling like a python that had just swallowed a pig. “This happens a lot. At least I know it’ll go away. No harm, no foul.”
But Sheryl shouldn’t be taking her temporary pregnancy so lightly. Bloating isn’t just a short-term discomfort that you can forget about once the “food baby” passes. Chronic bloating is a sign of inflammation and an unhealthy gut. That’s why Zero Belly Diet, my new weight-loss program, puts such an emphasis on reducing belly bloat; test panelists lost up to three inches from their waists in the first 10 days, and up to seven inches after six weeks. And that rapidly shrinking waistline translates into long-term weight loss and better overall health.
If you’re feeling suddenly gassy and bloated, here are some possible perpetrators of your prodigious protrusion. Cut them out of your daily routine, and discover more about the Zero Belly foods. (And keep losing weight with the essential 10 Daily Habits That Blast Belly Fat.)
Chewing gum may seem like a harmless habit, but one too many sticks can give whole new meaning to the phrase “bubble butt.” Sugarless gums typically contain sorbitol, a sugar alcohol known for causing bloating and other gastrointestinal distress. Sorbitol takes a relatively long time to digest, and undigested sorbitol in your small intestine acts as a hothouse for the fermentation of bacteria, causing bloating and flatulence. Additionally, each chomp sends a signal to your brain, triggering hunger hormones. Stick to just a few pieces a day, or try a product like Simply Gum, which is made with only six ingredients, none of them artificial. (Or cut out gum entirely, along with these 13 Foods to Remove from the Fridge Forever.)
You probably don’t think of beans when you unwrap a protein bar, but a lot of them include protein isolate derived from soybeans-something many people find just as gas-inducing as the musical fruit. Like other beans, soy contains oligosaccharides, sugar molecules that the body can’t break down entirely. With nowhere to go, these oligosaccharides hang out in the digestive tract, where they ferment, causing gas and bloating. Consider a soy-free brand like Larabar or KIND instead, or try one of these 50 Best Snacks For Weight Loss.
Nature’s candy, dried fruit can be a great source of nutrients and fiber. But it can also be a source of gas for those who suffer from fructose malabsorption, which occurs when the body has difficulty absorbing the natural sugar. Dried fruits are particularly high in fructose; fresh stone fruits, citrus fruits, and berries are safer options for those with sensitivity.
The Wrong Almond Milk
Almond milk is a better option than cow’s milk for those with lactose sensitivity, which is why I recommend it as a great base for Zero Belly drinks. But you may be undermining your goals if you’re buying a brand with the thickening agent carrageenan. Derived from seaweed, carrageenan has been linked to ulcers, inflammation, and other gastrointestinal problems. If you notice bloating after drinking almond milk, consider switching brands. Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods 365, and Westsoy make versions without carrageenan. Plus, check out The Best Natural Bloat-Busters.
Good for the soul but potentially bad for the stomach, soup can hide sky-high sodium counts that may lead to water retention and temporary weight gain. (Canned chilis in particular can have more than 800 mg of sodium per serving.) When you overload your system with salt, your kidneys can’t keep up; salt that would otherwise be flushed away has to sit in your bloodstream, where it attracts water, causing increased blood pressure and bloating. Look to stay under 500 mg if possible; Campbell’s Healthy Request, Progresso Light, and V8 all make reasonable options.
Strip away belly fat and lose up to 16 pounds in just 14 days-while eating the foods you love-with Zero Belly Diet-order it now for a post-holiday detox!
- By Eat This, Not That!