Does Bread Cause Bloating?
If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, celiac disease and fructose malabsorption, you likely experience abdominal bloating. Consult your doctor, especially if your bloating is accompanied by abdominal pain, cramping, flatulence, diarrhea or constipation. Bread contains both fructans and gluten, two elements that could be responsible for your bloating.
Breads made from wheat or rye are rich in fructans, a molecule made from a chain of fructose. If you have fructose malabsorption, your body does not effectively digest and absorb fructan-containing foods, which also include onions, garlic, Brussels sprouts and watermelon. As a result, bacteria in your colon ferment the fructans, creating gas. Extra water and gas present in your intestines induce bloating in addition to abdominal discomfort, pain, cramping and changes in the regularity or consistency of your bowel movements.
Gluten is a protein found in breads containing wheat flour, rye flour and barley flour. Foods made from gluten-containing grains can be especially problematic for people with celiac disease, which affects 3 million Americans, or gluten intolerance, which affects 18 million Americans, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Bloating is a common symptom of gluten-intolerance.
Testing for Intolerance
If eating bread makes you feel bloated, consult your doctor and mention your observations. Ask to be tested for celiac disease, gluten intolerance and fructose malabsorption to help you determine whether gluten or fructans are responsible for your bloating and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Some people may be intolerant to both fructans and gluten. Whether your problem is due to fructans or gluten, eliminating certain foods may help prevent bloating.
Eliminating Problematic Foods
Once you and your doctor have pinpointed the cause of your bloating, consult with a registered dietitian to help you eliminate problematic foods from your diet. She will ask you to keep track of everything you eat and help you determine which foods contain ingredients that you don't tolerate.
- Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology: Evidence-Based Dietary Management of Functional Gastrointestinal Symptoms: The FODMAP Approach
- Celiac Sprue Association: Treatment of Celiac Disease
- University of Maryland Medical Center: School of Medicine Researchers Identify Key Pathogenic Differences Between Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity
- ThitareeSarmkasat/iStock/Getty Images