Here’s a surprising story we often hear as our patients pursue a weight loss plan: Even though they’re eating more healthfully than ever, sometimes a patient is surprised to experience puffiness and discomfort. Weight loss is always gradual, of course, but you might be surprised to wake up and discover that your clothes feel a bit tighter around the waist, rather than looser. What’s going on? Have you regained some of your lost weight?
Actually, probably not. As long as you’re following your eating plan and exercising regularly, the sudden onset of these symptoms would not indicate weight regain. Most likely, the dietary changes you’ve been making have triggered a bit of bloating. Your system is adjusting to new foods, and perhaps a few other factors are to blame.
What causes bloating? Sometimes bloating is caused by carbonated beverages, or swallowing air when you eat. But most often, bloating happens when your digestive system can’t quite process something you’ve eaten, and gas has built up in your intestinal tract. The following foods are the most common culprits.
Beans. When we mention gas and dietary triggers, beans are probably the first thing you imagine. The stereotype is indeed true, and beans can trigger some bloating. However, this is mostly true in people who aren’t yet accustomed to a high-fiber diet. Once your system adjusts to your new eating plan, the gas and bloating should subside. So, there’s probably no need to cut beans out of your diet, except perhaps the day before a big date!
Dairy. Lactose in dairy products is a common trigger for bloating. Try switching to non-dairy alternatives, like cashew or almond milk. Some types of dairy, like yogurt and kefir, might still be okay because they don’t contain as much lactose.
Cruciferous vegetables. Due to a sugar called raffinose, vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts can cause bloating for some people. But we don’t recommend cutting these nutritious veggies from your diet; try fermented varieties instead, or cook them if you’ve been eating them raw.
Fructose. Foods high in fructose, like smoothies, fruit juices, and dried fruits, can often trigger bloating. Fresh fruits such as berries, grapefruit, avocado, and apricots are better choices.
Wheat. Wheat might also be the cause of your discomfort, due to lectins. Try low-lectin alternatives, such as sprouted grains, oats, quinoa, and brown rice.
Sugar substitutes. These can seem like a good idea, because they help you kick your sugar habit. But many sugar substitutes are difficult to digest, and can lead to the overgrowth of certain gut bacteria that lead to bloating and gas. It’s always a good idea to ditch the sugar substitutes once you’ve worked on ways to manage your sweet tooth.
If you’re experiencing gas and bloating due to your new eating plan, or have any other questions about weight loss, please give us a call. We can review your current regimen and make recommendations for changes that might lead to better results for you.