15 Foods That Cause Bloating And What You Can Do About It

Young man suffering from severe belly pain,

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We’ve all had those days when you finish eating and although you didn’t eat all that much, you need to unbutton the top button of your pants because your belly is so bloated!

For most people, bloat is nothing more than an uncomfortable feeling that will pass (either one way or the other) in just a few hours. Although bloat can be caused by a serious medical condition, for most people it is caused by something in their diet.

The main cause of bloat is due to a certain type of carb called fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides, and polyols, or FODMAPS for short. For some people, FODMAPS are nothing more than short chain carbs that provide beneficial digestive bacteria. For other people, however, these carbs escape the digestion process and become fermented in the colon. This leads to gas and bloating.

If you suffer from IBS, another type of gas is formed during fermentation and this can cause pain, extreme bloating, gas, painful cramping, and diarrhea.

Some FODMAPS can be changed through various methods, such as soaking, but others will simply need to be avoided.

Wondering which foods cause serious bloat and gas? Keep reading, we will tell you the top 13 guilty pleasures and what you can do about them to avoid that unbuttoning thing you are doing at the office.


1.  Dairy

If you are lactose intolerant then you know that dairy products will bring out the worst in you. Even those who don’t appear to be lactose intolerant find that some types of cheese or full fat milk gives them gas and bloating.  You can avoid the products that bother you by drinking lactose free milk or simply taking Lactaid pills that will temporarily provide your body with the enzymes it needs to digest dairy products.


2. Beans

Oh yes, everyone’s favorite magical fruit!  Beans are an important part of many peoples diets since they are rich in protein and have healthy carbs, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Unfortunately, beans also contain a type of sugar called alpha-galactosides, which are FODMAPS.  Many people find that if they soak the beans overnight, rinse, and then cook them than the beans lose a great deal of their ability to cause bloat. Refrying beans, which involves cooking, then mashing and frying the beans, also helps to reduce bloat. Also, some beans are easier on the digestive system than others. Try black beans or pinto beans and see if that helps with bloating problems. You could also try substituting quinoa for beans.


3. Salty Foods

Although salt itself does not cause bloating, eating too much of it will certainly cause you to retain water, which can make you feel bloated all over!  Read food labels and be sure that you are not exceeding the recommended 2,300 mgs each day. You can also consume more potassium rich foods, like bananas, to help remove salt from the body.

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4. Beer

There is a good reason people use the term “beer belly” to describe those with protruding tummies. Beer does contain empty calories, but it also causes some serious bloat. Beer is made from fermentable carbohydrates such as wheat, barely, rice, or maize, along with yeast. This makes beer a double whammy of bloat as it has both fermentable carbs and carbon dioxide gas from the carbonated water used to process this beverage. Choose wine over beer to avoid bloat.


5. Lentils

Like beans, lentils are also a healthy food that has large amounts of protein, fiber, and important minerals such as iron and manganese, but due to their high fiber, they can cause some serious bloat for some. Lentils also contain FODMAPS. The sugar in lentils can cause an overproduction of gas and cause bloating. Soaking lentils before you eat them can make them much easier to digest. Another tip is to choose light colored lentils as these are lower in carbs then dark colored lentils, therefore, causing less gas.


6. Sugar Alcohols

Sugar alcohols are a type of sweetener that is used to replace sugar in many types of sugar free foods and chewing gums. Common names of sugar alcohols that you might be familiar with are mannitol, xylitol, and sorbitol. Unfortunately, these types of sugar alcohols are also FODMAPS.  They cause digestive upset in many people since they go directly to the large intestine completely unchanged. The bacteria in the gut feeds on them causing gas, bloating, and diarrhea. If you are interested in a sugar alcohol that is easy on the digestive system, look for foods with erythritol or stevia. Both are natural alternatives to sugar that won’t cause bloat.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

7. Carbonated Drinks

As you might already know, carbonated drinks are made from carbon dioxide, which is a gas. So it should be no surprise that gas filled beverages fill you with….gas. Although most people simply burp up this gas, for others, it gets trapped in the digestive system, causing some really painful bloating and even cramps as the body tries to remove it.  If you have bloating after drinking carbonated beverages, stick to water, tea, or fruit flavored waters.


8. Garlic

Garlic is an incredibly popular herb for both its taste as well as for its medicinal properties, However, this herb contains fructans, which are FODMAPS, and, for some people, cause bloating.  Other people find that they have a sensitivity or intolerance to garlic which causes gas, bloating, and frequent belching. Cooking garlic reduces most symptoms but if you find that you simply cannot consume garlic without becoming bloated, try other herbs and spices instead such as basil, chives, parsley, or lemon pepper.


9. Wheat

This simple grain has become a highly controversial issue in the past few years but despite the controversy, wheat is still consumed all over the world. Wheat is found in most baked goods, breads, pastas, and tortillas. For those with a sensitivity to gluten or those who suffer from celiac disease, wheat can cause severe stomach pain, cramps, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Even for those who don’t have any known intolerance, wheat is still a source of FODMAPS, which can cause bloating and gas. If wheat gives you symptoms like these, use many of the gluten free alternatives that are now available including almond flour, coconut flour, or buckwheat.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

10. Apples

Apples are one of the most popular and healthy fruits on the planet. They are high in vitamin C, pectin, antioxidants, and fiber. Numerous studies show that apples have a wide range of health benefits. Unfortunately, for some people, apples also cause bloating and other digestive problems. This is because apples contain fructose, which is a FODMAP. Their high fiber content can also cause problems for those not accustomed to large amounts of fiber. Mixed together in the large intestine, fiber and fructose can become a major source of bloating and gas. Cooking apples, rather than eating them raw, can make them easier to digest. You could also choose other fruits that don’t contain as much fiber such as bananas, citrus fruits, strawberries, or blueberries.


11.  Cruciferous Veggies

Vegetables in the cruciferous family include foods like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Although all of these vegetables are very healthy and consuming them has been linked in numerous studies to a lower rate of cancer, all cruciferous vegetables contain FODMAPS, which can cause bloating. Cooking these veggies can make them easier on your digestive system, but there are also plenty of alternatives including lettuce, sweet potatoes, zucchini, spinach, and cucumbers.


SEE ALSO: How to Naturally Relieve Gas: 5 Trusted Ways


12. Rye

Rye is a grain that is related to wheat, so it’s no surprise that this grain can cause bloating. Rye is actually very nutritious and is an excellent source of copper, B-vitamins, fiber, and manganese. Since it does contain gluten and fiber, however, it is a source of bloating and gas for many. Try other types of grain that do not contain gluten including oats, quinoa, or brown rice.

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Assorted Farm Fresh Onions On A Rustic Table

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13. Onions

These are super tasty vegetables that many people enjoy on their sandwiches, salads, and soups. Although rarely eaten whole and raw, they are added to many different types of food. Even in small quantities, many people find that onions cause serious bloating and gas. This is because onions contain fructans, which are soluble fibers that cause bloat. Many people find that cooking onions lessens their intensity, but even then, they can cause abdominal discomfort. You can always use other herbs and spices to flavor your food instead of using onions if cooking them does not relieve your discomfort.


14. Barley

This is a type of cereal grain that is quite nutritious. Barley is full of selenium, manganese, as well as other vitamins and minerals. It is also is a good source of fiber, which is where the problem lies. For those unaccustomed to high amounts of fiber, barley can cause bloating. This grain also contains gluten, so it can cause digestive upset for those with intolerances to gluten. Refined barely, such as scotch or pearl barley, is often more easily tolerated.


15. Fatty Foods

Eating high fat foods, such as hamburgers, or foods fried in fat, such as french fries, slow down the digestion process. Once digestion slows down, food has time to ferment in the large intestine, causing gas and bloating. This is why many people feel so “full” after eating a fast food meal; their digestion has slowed dramatically. Avoid fatty foods and fast foods since these are not healthy for you anyway, so why suffer from bloat for foods that are only doing you harm?

If you suffer from on-going digestive issues, you might want to try a low FODMAP diet for 30 days to see if this gives you relief from your symptoms.

If you discover that a certain type of food consistently makes you feel bloated or gives you gas, simply avoid it. Food is meant to be enjoyed, not suffered through.