Sigh. Yes, we’re not delighted about this anymore than you are.
With 1 in 20 Brits estimated to have IBS, many of us are affected by the condition, whether we realise it or not. Out of all the symptoms associated with digestive disorders, 41% of GPs struggle to manage bloating - the highest of any symptom.
In honour of IBS Awareness Month, experts at UkTherapyRooms.co.uk collaborated with Gastroenterology Dietician Cristian Costas to reveal the foods you should be avoiding and how to combat bloating.
And as you can tell from the title of this article – we’ve got some bad news about some of your favourite food and drinks.
1. Which foods can commonly cause bloating?
According to Costas, “Fried foods, highly processed foods or high fat foods can all contribute to bloating. Some people may also feel bloated after eating foods like chickpeas, lentils and beans as they can be more gas-producing. Some may be surprised to hear that chewing gum can contribute to bloating due to some of the sweeteners it contains.”
Meanwhile, you may also feel bloated after eating foods like onions, garlic, apples amongst other fruits and vegetables because they have some highly fermentable carbohydrates that can contribute to bloating.
Some of these highly fermentable carbohydrates can also be found in wheat and dairy products.
However, it’s key to remember that people can react to different foods, and it is important to rule out medical causes for symptoms and get advice from a dietitian before cutting foods out of the diet.
2. Which drinks can commonly cause bloating?
Dietitian Costas asserts that “alcohol, caffeinated drinks and fizzy or sugary drinks can all contribute to bloating” which... is not the best news for our weekends out.
Drinking with a straw can also at times contribute to bloating too, as more air is swallowed when this is done. Fruit juices may also contribute to bloating due to having a high proportion of fruit sugars that can enter our digestive system at one time.
3. Are there any foods which can aid with bloating, or prevent it?
“I would advise people to take their time with chewing food, as eating quickly can result in swallowing more air. I would also encourage people to not overdo it with portions of food, as filling the stomach up too much can contribute to feeling bloated,” Costas advises.
Increasing foods with higher amounts of fibre gradually can also help to reduce bloating, mainly by improving gut transit. You can try gradually adding more seeds into your diet (like linseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc) as well as nuts, whole grain sources of fibre and more fruits and vegetables with skin on them. Oats can also be beneficial.
4. Are there any drinks which can aid with bloating, or prevent it?
Surprise, surprise, drinking plenty of water helps.
“I would say that keeping well hydrated can really help too as this can help prevent constipation and help fibre work better within our gut once it is increased in the diet. People can also make some smoothies with some sources of fibre mentioned above to help gut transit,” adds Costas.