Can Veggies Cause the Big Bloat?

Dieting can be frustrating.

You think it’s paying off one day. Then the next you feel bloated and that your hard work and determination is out the window.  Looking back at what you’ve eaten in the last few days – no chocolate cake, no potato chips …  Actually, you can’t think of one thing that would be considered “cheating”. What you do remember is eating plenty of vegetables.

Can vegetables make you appear fatter?

Sheah Rarback, a nutrition expert and registered dietitian at the University of Miami Health System, explains that certain foods are associated with bloating, many vegetables included. Generally, though, they should not be that much of an issue.

Foods like kale, broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts are all high in fiber.  Fiber isn’t absorbed by your intestinal tract during digestion so it ferments in the large intestines. The fermentation is what causes gas and the associated symptoms – bloating, belching and flatulence.

A lot of hot air

Many people don’t realize that they are passing gas all day long. “Up to 20 times a day,” Sheah says. “But, if you recently started to eat a lot more vegetables because you are trying to eat healthier, that change in your diet may be causing you to have more gas,”

But, don’t let that sway you from eating those greens.

Those are some of the best foods for you.

As your body adapts, you will likely see a decrease in gas and you may even be less bloated than you were before you started eating more vegetables. This is because you are more regular. High-fiber vegetables also help lower your cholesterol and blood sugar.

In the meantime, if you are really uncomfortable, Sheah suggests:

  • Start slow. Gradually introducing more vegetables may lessen the symptoms.
  • Cook the vegetables. This will help break down the fiber before you eat it, which makes it easier to digest.
  • Stick to small portions. Smaller amounts should decrease the amount of gas you have.
  • Drink water. It helps with digestion and should decrease bloating.

Also, be kind to yourself.  Having a belly that sticks out a little isn’t unhealthy and should not be equated with being fat.

If you still have bloating and pain, keep a food diary so that you can try to isolate exactly which food is causing you to bloat.  You may also want to see your doctor to make sure there is nothing else going on.