Hidden Ways to Beat Bloating are Not Actually That Hidden

Bloating is not normal. Yes, you might experience it, and your sister might and so might your mother but common does not mean normal or acceptable. And it also doesn’t mean it’s something you’re stuck with. It’s an uncomfortable subject to discuss, but a more uncomfortable thing to experience. This in and of itself inherently creates higher likelihood of having less exposure to natural ways to address this issue: as in, what are you eating that is making you constipated and bloated in the first place! The number of clients I work with who share during our first meeting that this has been something they’ve been dealing with regularly (pun intended) for months to years is shocking. Turns out constipation is the most common digestive complaint in the U.S. population, can make life miserable. Not only does constipation make you feel bloated, headachy, and irritable, but relieving constipation especially long-term or chronic constipation is time consuming and expensive. Each year in the U.S., chronic constipation leads to around 2.5 million doctor visits and medication costs of many hundreds of millions of dollars. Another way of phrasing this might be that constipation and related bloating earns the pharmaceutical companies hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s not in their best interest to suggest to patients that perhaps by addressing ‘surprising’ things in their diet to keep them regular in the first place might be the first place to start. What’s worse, some of the common remedies doled out to address bloating can backfire. One of the side effects of MiraLAX, used as a laxative to treat occasional constipation and bloating, include nausea, abdominal cramping, bloating, upset stomach, gas, dizziness, or sweating! In my experience, when I was dealing for years with horrible GI distress, I found that none of the specialists ever asked about what I was eating, yet they were quite happy to dispense multiple erroneous diagnoses and medications. So this morning, when I received a newsletter with an article all about surprising ways to combat bloat, it served as a good reminder to address this again. Ten tips were given. Some made sense, such as:

  • Skipping artificial sugars (The Food and Drug Administration requires products that may result in a daily consumption of 50 grams of sorbitol to include a warning label that they “may have a laxative effect”)
  • Cutting dairy (More than one in 10 adults are lactose intolerant, and bloat is an all-too-common symptom, according to a 2009 Baylor College of Medicine study)

Other recommendations were confusing, to say the least.

  • “Eat soy beans for calcium”. Um… how about the fact that consuming soy can cause stomach pain, cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea and nausea because the undigested soy proteins cause inflammation in your digestive system?
  • “Increase fiber through whole grains”. 1,000-calorie serving of fresh produce has between two and seven times as much fiber as does a comparable serving of whole grains.
  • “Increase intake of almonds for fiber”. 100 grams of almonds has between 1138 and 1400 mg of phytic acid. Anti nutrients lead to inflammation. Not very helpful when trying to prevent bloating.

(By the way, don’t forget to check your sources. When I was doing my research for this article, I landed on a study called “Lactose Intolerance Rates May Be Significantly Lower Than Previously Believed” and guess who the source was? The National Diary Council!) So if this confusing information leaves you wondering what to do, now that you’ve got little more insight as what not to do, what’s the solution? Once again, back to basics. A diet naturally high in good fat (avocado, olive oil, coconut oil as well as properly sourced animal fat), potassium and fiber (veggies, veggies and more veggies), low in sodium and devoid of (or at least very low in) processed items and sugars is the ticket to get things moving and keep it that way! Why settle for feeling uncomfortable when you can quite likely shift things by what you’re eating?