Even the slimmest people can look like they've instantly gained belly weight when they eat or drink foods that cause abdominal bloating. Gas, water retention and constipation are common causes of uncomfortable stomach bloating. Trigger foods that can wreak havoc on your flat midsection can vary from person to person, but there are some common offenders that affect most. Avoid these foods and review some helpful tips to keep belly bloat at bay.
Sugar alcohols are often used in foods as bulking agents and sweeteners. Most people don't cook with them, but they're common in packaged foods. Sugar alcohols contain fewer calories than sugar, so they're often found in diet foods. Check food labels for common sugar alcohols, including mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, isomalt, maltitol and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates. In addition to causing gas, these sweetening agents can also have laxative effects. Test your sensitivity to sugar alcohols to determine how much they affect you and avoid consuming large quantities, which may send you bolting to the restroom.
Carbonated beverages are another common cause of stomach bloat. They cause you to ingest air which gets trapped in your digestive tract and produce the release of carbon dioxide gas, leading to belching and flatulence. Fizzy beverages aren't the only way gas can get trapped in your belly though; drinking through straws, eating too quickly and chewing gum can cause abdominal bloating for the same reason.
Vegetables are a rich source of nutrients and antioxidants, but some of them can also cause gas. Broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and lettuce are common offenders, so consume with caution.
Short-term, excessive carbohydrate consumption may make your jeans a little tight from water retention -- eat too many carbs over time though, and you'll be dealing with fat gain, too. Carbohydrates are the body's preferred source of energy and are stored as glycogen. However, most people don't need huge stockpiles of glycogen reserves, and each gram of stored carbohydrate holds about 3 grams of water. Shed the excess carbs and you may reduce water retention in your midsection.
You already know that eating too many fried or greasy foods can cause health problems, but these nutritional no-nos can also slow digestion and lead to constipation. If food is sitting in your digestive tract, it can cause your belly to look distended. Avoid this common cause of belly bloat by keeping your consumption of fatty foods to a minimum.
While there are many culprits of belly bloat, there are also some foods you can eat to combat it. According to nutritionist, Sara Sullivan, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, ginger, quinoa and oatmeal can help flatten out a puffy belly. Probiotics and digestive enzymes can help by keeping your digestive flora healthy, which will reduce the chances of other foods causing stomach bloat and discomfort.