Ten Foods That Bloat Your Belly
Belly-bloating foods work in different ways. Some things you eat can increase gas in your stomach, making your abdomen look and feel distended. Even though this bloating is only temporary, it can still be uncomfortable and make your pants feel quite snug around your waistline. Other foods can lead to long-term belly bloat from increased visceral fat storage.
If you go to the bagel store or a deli, you almost always get a huge bagel made with 100 percent refined flour. That refined flour sets off the cascading events of elevated blood sugar, elevated insulin levels, and increased belly fat storage.
If you’re a bagel lover, don’t worry. Healthier options exist. Aim for a small bagel (the size of the palm of your hand), and make sure it’s made with 100 percent whole grains.
Cabbage is a vegetable known for increasing gas production in the gastrointestinal tract during digestion. Gas-producing vegetables are often easier to digest and break down when cooked well. So, choose cooked over raw. And don’t eat large quantities of cabbage on a day you want your waistline to look slim.
Bloat from carbonated water
For one to three hours after drinking carbonated water, you may feel as though your belly has expanded. The carbonation can make your stomach look distended and cause clothing to fit more snuggly around your midsection.
If you really love carbonated beverages, aim to drink just one glass per day. Also, avoid carbonated beverages a few days before an event or outing where you want your belly to look as flat as possible.
Cola (including diet cola) for a too-full feeling
A cola may contain sugar, corn syrup, or another liquid sweetener. All of these sweeteners increase fat storage right in your abdominal area. High sugar content, especially in liquid form, immediately raises blood sugar, which in turn spikes insulin levels. This elevated insulin level signals your body to begin storing the excess sugar as fat.
Diet soda doesn’t contain sugar, but it still has carbonation. Diet sodas are also packed full of artificial sweeteners. These sweeteners are foreign chemicals to your body, so when they’re consumed in excessive amounts, they may increase inflammation, which in the long run can increase health risks and belly fat. Your best solution is to try a naturally flavored seltzer or a glass of water with a splash of lemon or lime juice for added flavor.
Waist-expanding risk of fried foods
Deep-fried foods can cause you to feel heavy and sluggish because the high levels of fat in these foods slow digestion. Commercially fried foods often contain the most dangerous of all fats: trans fats. These fats in even small amounts have been linked to many negative health effects (such as heart disease). They can also significantly elevate inflammation in your body.
If you love fried foods, try breading the foods in whole-grain flour and pan-frying them in a small amount of olive oil (or baking them instead). The foods will come out crispy and delicious without all the dangerous fat.
Downside of ice cream
Ice cream contains a large amount of sugar, and foods high in sugar cause both blood sugar and insulin levels to rise, resulting in the storage of more belly fat. Because ice cream is a milk product, it also contains high levels of lactose, the sugar found in milk. Many individuals have lactose intolerance, which causes them to have trouble breaking down lactose and leads to increased gas production, bloat, and even diarrhea.
Extreme temperatures in foods, such as very cold (like ice cream), can also stress the gastrointestinal tract and lead to cramping and bloating.
Sausage stored as fat
Sausage is a fatty meat that’s loaded with unhealthy saturated fat. This fat clogs arteries and may also increase inflammation, which has a direct link to belly fat storage. Sausage is almost always high in sodium as well. And food high in sodium causes your body to retain water, giving your belly a bloated look and feel.
Sausage made with leaner meats like turkey, chicken, or venison contains less saturated fat and fewer calories. Even leaner options can be high in sodium, so save them for occasional treats rather than meal staples.
Sugar alcohols as sweet substitutes
Sugar alcohols are sugar substitutes that can only be partially digested by the body. Many times you see these in foods like sugar-free candy, gum, and snacks. They’re often listed as xylitol, sorbitol, and maltitol. Because they’re only partially digested in your body, they provide fewer calories per gram than actual sugar, but they also can cause gastrointestinal side effects, such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
Gum containing sugar alcohols can have some health benefits, such as helping to prevent dental cavities. It also has no impact on blood sugar and insulin levels due to the low glycemic index of sugar alcohols.
Aired-up with sugar-free gum
Chewing gum, in general, while fine to do, can lead to the swallowing of air. The more air that you swallow, the more this air accumulates in your gastrointestinal tract, which can cause bloating, pressure, and belly expansion.
White rice for a bigger belly
White rice has been refined and stripped of the outermost and innermost layers of grain, removing most of the fiber, nutrients, and proteins. White rice digests rapidly in your body, creating that cascading effect of increased insulin levels, increased fat storage, and an increased waistline over time. Also, as a refined grain, white rice offers a low level of satiety. So you’ll eat it, won’t feel very full, and then eat more.
If rice is a staple in your diet, you can keep it that way. Simply choose a less-processed option instead. Brown rice and wild rice can be substituted for white rice in almost any recipe and are much friendlier to your waistline!