Everyone experiences bloating sometimes, some people more than others. But if you find that you’re always bloated despite sticking to a pristine diet and exercise routine, it’s time to figure out why so you can feel even more confident when you slip into that swimsuit this summer.
You’ve probably got a good idea of the foods that cause bloating, but there are some unexpected culprits that may be sneaking into your diet. Capitalize on all your hard work in the gym by steering clear of these foods or ingredients.
Fiber has numerous benefits, but in some people it can also cause gas and bloating—especially when you don’t know how much you are eating. Ingredients like inulin and chicory root fiber are often added to foods like energy bars and drinks as a way to boost fiber intake. “These would be listed as fiber, and then to get net carbs the fiber is subtracted from total carbs,” explains Maryann Walsh, R.D., a nutritionist based in Palm Beach, FL.
Also known as polyols, these sweeteners are popular sugar substitutes. The plus: They have a third to half of the calories as regular sugar and won’t cause a sudden spike in blood sugar levels. However, they also frequently can cause bloating and diarrhea, especially when eaten in excess. Look for sugar alcohols xylitol, sorbitol, mannitol, or other ingredients that end in “ol” under the carb section of nutrition labels, says Walsh.
Also sometimes loaded with sugar alcohols, protein shakes can cause bloat. Those who may be lactose intolerant can also develop discomfort from consuming whey protein. But even vegetarian protein sources like beans, soy, and lentils can create bloat as well.
Carbonated beverages contain high amounts of carbon dioxide. When large amounts of the gas get trapped in your digestive system, it can cause cramps and bloating. A better bet: Opt for plain or fruit-infused water instead.