Harvard Gut Doctor: These 8 Foods Will Make You Feel Bloated

Approximately 10% of individuals encounter post-meal bloating, which commonly manifests as sensations of fullness and gassiness in the abdominal region, according to Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, MD, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a gastroenterologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

As a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, she frequently receive inquiries about the causes of bloating and how to alleviate it.


Comprehending bloating can be challenging due to the multitude of potential factors involved. However, one prevalent cause is closely linked to our dietary choices, particularly foods that are inadequately absorbed by the gastrointestinal system.

To alleviate stomach pain caused by frequent post-meal bloating, it is advisable to steer clear of the following foods:



1. Sweetened foods


Approximately 50% of the population experiences fructose malabsorption, a condition characterized by the difficulty of intestinal cells to absorb fructose.

While consuming a small amount of fructose is generally acceptable, it is advisable to avoid foods sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, including: candy, packaged bread and baked goods, packaged fruit, sweetened dairy products such as yogurt, sauces like ketchup, soft drinks and juice.


Instead, opt for whole foods and beverages with lower sugar content. Carbonated beverages can contribute to bloating, so it is recommended to choose still water or vegetable juices.



2. Fructose-rich fruits


If you have fructose sensitivity, it is recommended to limit or avoid consuming sweet fruits such as apples, watermelon, grapes, grapefruit, nectarine, plums, peaches, ripe bananas, prunes, and raisins. Instead, you can satisfy your fruit cravings by opting for blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, pineapples, mandarin oranges, lemons, or slightly underripe, firm bananas.


3. Vegetables with fructans and galactans


Bloating can occur even with the consumption of vegetables, particularly those that contain high amounts of fructans and galactans. These carbohydrates are broken down by gut bacteria and can contribute to gassiness. The following vegetables are more likely to cause bloating: asparagus, zucchini, onions, shallots, leeks, artichokes, beets, brussels sprouts, savoy cabbage, fennel, snow peas.


Instead, consider choosing less sugary options such as carrots, eggplant, avocados, green beans, bean sprouts, celery, cauliflower, and lettuce to minimize the risk of bloating.




4. Milk and other dairy products


As we age, lactose intolerance becomes increasingly prevalent, affecting approximately 68% of the population.


To alleviate bloating caused by lactose intolerance, dairy products such as milk or ice cream can be replaced with lactose-free alternatives. However, you don’t have to give up all your favorite dairy products completely.


Unsweetened yogurt is generally well-tolerated by most individuals since the majority of lactose is broken down during the fermentation process. Additionally, hard or aged cheeses such as parmesan, brie, mozzarella, Swiss, and goat cheese are more likely to be tolerated compared to soft cheeses.


5. Beans


Lentils, peas, and numerous types of beans contain raffinose, a form of sugar that the body struggles to digest effectively. Furthermore, beans are notably high in fiber, which can contribute to increased gassiness when consumed in large quantities.


Among the various types of beans, black beans, navy beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, and soybeans are more likely to cause gas. It is advisable to opt for alternatives like green beans, black-eyed peas, and mung beans instead.



6. Sugar substitutes


To prevent gas and bloating, it is recommended to steer clear of sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, and erythritol. These substances are difficult for our bodies to break down, leading to digestive discomfort.


For a healthier alternative that is less likely to cause gas or bloating, consider using stevia or monk fruit extract instead.



7. Grains


Individuals with gluten intolerance may experience bloating when consuming foods that contain gluten. If you fall into this category, it is advisable to steer clear of wheat, barley, and rye.


Instead, opt for foods that are easier on the digestive system, such as rice, quinoa, oats, and other gluten-free products.



8. Some fermented foods


Consuming fermented foods can promote a healthy gut microbiome, but it’s worth noting that certain types may cause temporary bloating and gas. To ensure a more comfortable stomach, I suggest moderating your consumption of kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut.


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This article was originally published here.

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