Ugh, the dreaded belly bloat.
I know personally it has been my never-ending quest to de-bloat my belly. And it wasn’t until this past summer that I discovered one of the main reasons why I often looked 6 months preggers was because I had IBS. I also discovered I am lactose and gluten-intolerant.
But what if none of those conditions apply to you. Could it still be what you are eating is making your belly bloat up like a balloon? That’s what we’re talking about today, foods that increase our belly bloat.
Let’s dive in.
Offender #1: Soda
Pop, soft drinks, nectar of the gods…whatever you choose to call it, soda is B-A-D for belly bloat! This is because of the carbonation (the fizz you get when you pour a drink of soda or open a can). Carbonation draws gas into your belly and intestines, causing instant distention aka belly bloat.
Another reason is sugar. Forget that this is truly the #1 reason why you should be avoiding soda at all costs in the first place (same with diet soda–it’s actually a lot worse due to the fake sugar in it aka chemicals). The high sugar content of soda instantly spikes your blood sugar levels, which in turn spikes your insulin. This then causes your body to begin storing excess sugar as fat in the most convenient location possible…that’s right, your belly.
Alternatives: plain, filtered water, fruit/veg/herb infused water, seltzer water (if you really dig the fizz).
Offender #2: Chewing Gum
Specifically, sugar-free chewing gum. I know, this is technically not a food, but it does contribute to that dreaded belly bloat due to the sugar-free aspect. Sugar-free gum contains sugar alcohols and this distends our bellies. Sugar alcohols are partially digested sugars and are well known to increase intestinal gas and bloating, which in turn expands our mid-sections.
Another reason sugar-free chewing gum can causes belly bloat is because when you chew gum, you swallow air. Now even though swallowing air won’t hurt you, the more air you swallow, the more it piles up in your digestive system which can lead to pressure and belly bloat.
Alternatives: licorice root, seeds/nuts, parsley or chopped veggies.
Offender #3: Certain Veggies
Cabbage is a huge cause of belly bloat as are various other cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and even brussel sprouts (remember when Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory so delicately suffered from this “affliction”?).
During digestion these veggies create a large amount of gas in our gastrointestinal tracts. The bloat is temporary and is mostly relieved the same way Sheldon did (aka passing gas).
Alternatives: gas producing veggies are much easier to digest when they are cooked, as opposed to eating them raw. You can also try different veggies, or know that the days you do eat higher-than-normal gas producing veggies, you may want to be wearing your stretchy pants.
Offender #4: White Pasta
Who doesn’t love a plate of spaghetti, espesh on a chilly Saturday night! Talk about comfort food!! Although pasta can seem pretty innocent in terms of belly bloat, it’s actually a recipe for disaster.
That’s because white pasta is made from white flour which is refined and has the nutrients stripped from the grain. This processing causes white pasta to be digested extremely quickly causing a huge spike in your insulin, which in turn gets stored as fat, which leads a bigger waistlines.
Plus, because the digestion process of white pasta is so quick, consuming it (even once and awhile) can acutally lead you to eating even more calories because you are hungry again soon after and eating more food.
And lastly, most peeps eat way too much at one sitting. Did you know that one serving of pasta is only 1/2 cup. Yup, and that’s not all that much when you think about it. (This is another reason why you should be measuring your food at meals, to avoid overeating.)
Alternatives: whole wheat pastas or if you are IBS or gluten-intolerant (like me!) opt for rice or corn pasta, which are very common in grocery stores these days (even my small town of 16,500 pop. has gluten-free options in our tiny grocery stores).
Keep in mind you don’t need to bid adieu to all these belly bloat foods all at once. Baby steps are the key to sustained and lasting weight loss. Pick 1-2 foods from this list and make the switches slowly over a 1-4 week period. This isn’t a race. This is your health and as long as you are making consistent efforts to improve it, you are on your way.
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