If you suffer from belly bloat, we feel your pain. Put simply: It sucks.
But that gassy, uncomfortable full feeling doesn’t have to be a lifelong problem. Use our 3-step elimination plan to identify what’s causing your bloat, and eliminate it—once and for all.
Step 1: Put Down the Fizzy Drinks
It’s not terribly surprising, but carbon dioxide—the gas used to make sodas bubbly—can leave you feeling bloated because it can accumulate in your bellies and intestines. So first step 1, the simple strategy is to cut out carbonated drinks. These include soda, beer, seltzer water, and anything else that’s “fizzy.” Try this strategy for a week, and if you don’t feel relief, then move on to Step 2.
Drink this instead: Infused water or a refreshing detox tea, which you can drink hot or cold.
Step 2: Eliminate Dairy
If you’re part of the 65 percent of the population who have trouble digesting lactose, then dairy products will give you digestive problems. If you’re lactose intolerant, even small traces of lactose in foods like cakes and cookies can cause bloating. Stick with this step for two weeks, and if you don’t experience relief, continue to step 3.
Step 3: Cut Out FODMAPs
FODMAPs stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. These are carbohydrates that can’t be fully digested, so they’re fermented in your colon instead. While this is good for your gut microflora, it produces gases like methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen, which trigger bloating and belly distention.
So which foods are a problem? Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. They’re high in a type of FODMAP called fructans. While excellent for your overall health, they can cause bloating if your gut is sensitive to FODMAPs.
But that’s just for starters. The list is pretty extensive—and it includes dairy. But if belly bloat is still making you uncomfortable, it’s worth cutting out high FODMAPs foods to see if they could be the root cause of your belly bloat.
Below is a list taken from a recent scientific study—published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology—that details the beneficial effects of a Low FODMAPs diet on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). For 4 weeks, eliminate the high FODMAPs foods, and enjoy the low FODMAPs foods, and monitor your results.
Keep in mind, if a food isn’t on either list, it’s acceptable to eat—that includes meat, poultry, and fish, as well as tofu and eggs. (Read: All non-carbohydrate foods.)
You can also drink water (including lemon water) wine, unsweetened coffee, and tea. In fact, our 28-Day Organic TeaTox is the ideal complement to an elimination diet, as it provides a bevvy of healthful antioxidants, but has zero calories or artificial ingredients.
Don’t Eat These: High FODMAPs Foods
Fruit: apples, apricots, cherries, dried fruit, mango, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, prunes, watermelon
Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, avocado, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, fennel, garlic, leeks, mushrooms, okra, onion, peas, shallots, snow peas
Dairy: Ice cream, milk, yogurt
Legumes: Baked beans, chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans
Sweeteners: High-fructose corn syrup, honey. Also, any alternative sweeteners that end in “-ol.” These are typically known as sugar alcohols—maltitol, sorbitol, xylitol—and are often found in sugarless gum.
Grains: Bread, pasta, and crackers that are made with wheat
Do Eat These: Low FODMAPs Foods
Fruit: Bananas, blueberries, grapefruit, grapes, honeydew, kiwi, lemon, lime, oranges, raspberries, strawberries
Vegetables: Bell pepper, bok choy, carrots, chives, cucumber, eggplant, green beans, lettuce, parsnip, potato, pumpkin, spinach, tomato, zucchini
Dairy (and Dairy Substitutes): Almond milk, butter, hard cheeses, rice milk
Sweeteners: Maple syrup, stevia, real sugar
Grains: Oats, corn, rice quinoa, wheat-free grains and flours (i.e. rice flour)