Nutrition Articles

Common Foods That Could Be Hurting Your Belly

Avoid These Foods to Feel Better Fast

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Large Meals
Chowing down might feel good in the moment, but consuming a huge meal in a single sitting can cause pain, gas, bloating and more. Your best bet, at least for your digestive health, is to eat in moderation—never to the point of extreme fullness. Some people find they feel full longer if they space out their meals at regular intervals throughout the day. Starving yourself and then overeating later often leads to abdominal pressure and pain.

Leftovers
We've all been guilty of eyeballing the carton of yogurt that sat on the counter all morning or nibbling at tempting leftovers in the office break room, but one sure way to trigger digestive pain is to expose yourself to harmful bacteria that multiply when food isn't properly stored. Save yourself the pain and discomfort of food poisoning: If you're not sure how long it's been sitting out, toss it.

Beans & Other Musical Fruits
There's a short list of foods that are known to trigger gas and bloating for many people: beans, cabbage, onions, apricots, prunes, bananas and wheat germ. Figuring out if these foods are linked to your belly pain might help you alleviate it. Before cutting these healthy foods from your diet completely, experiment to see if different cooking methods can help make them more digestible. For example, rinsing canned beans several times before cooking helps cut down on the amount of gas they produce when eaten.  

Your Favorite Foods
You might think that the foods that cause you discomfort are the kinds of foods you hardly ever eat—or naturally have an aversion to. Unfortunately, you're just as likely to develop an intolerance or an allergy to foods that you crave and eat often. Don't cross a food favorite off your list of suspects just because you've always eaten it--or because you like it. It's important to be objective when determining which foods could be causing issues.

The best way to determine if a specific food is causing you digestive distress is to keep a daily food journal and work with a doctor or allergist to design an elimination diet to pinpoint the culprits. And once you have a list of what to avoid, closely examine all food labels for the suspects!

This article has been reviewed and approved by Becky Hand, M.Ed., Licensed and Registered Dietitian.

 
Sources
Eastern Carolina University, "Do You Suffer from Gas and Bloating," www.ecu.edu, accessed on December.
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About The Author

Robin Donovan Robin Donovan
Robin Donovan is a Cincinnati-based freelance writer and magazine journalist with experience covering health, medicine, science, business, technology and design.

Member Comments

  • I don't seem to have an issue with any of those. My issue is something I really really love...coffee. - 7/9/2014 2:51:30 PM
  • Funny, nothing is mentioned about the side effects of GMO soy products - make me feel like someone kicked me in the stomach... - 2/2/2014 4:10:08 PM
  • Chickory root/Inulin even in tiny doses just kills me (and everyone in the house). Onions and Jeruselem Artichokes are naturally very high in inulin, so beware, there be dragons!

    Sulfites were a recent discovery. Essentially any food high in sulfur or preserved with sulfites is pure digestive torture. No more egg yolks or dried fruit and my tummy is gas-free and I have zero bloating. I had no idea a settled belly felt so good.

    Bloating, cramps, voluminous or deadly stinky gas is NOT NORMAL. Figure out what's causing it for you, for the love of your family's noses and yourself, and stop eating that personal poison.
    - 2/1/2014 8:13:43 PM
  • I have always had problems with my tummy. Gas, cramping, now diarrhea and even constapation. I'm not sure what helps at this point. Definitely avoid greasy foods, long periods without food, refined sugars, not enough water, high fiber meals, regular milk, not enough sleep. Must I go on. - 2/1/2014 4:45:26 PM
  • What is wrong with the picture? - 2/1/2014 1:21:56 PM
  • it has gotten so bad that almost everything gives me problems. whey/soy/inulin or fiber cereals/dairy - you name it. - 2/1/2014 10:22:38 AM
  • My personal foods to avoid are Sulfates and Seafood. My sulfate sensitivity is bad enough to make drinking a glass of wine a huge mistake. I am also developing minor allergic reaction symptoms to seafood. Shellfish in particular, one of my favorites is now not worth the tummy and breathing trouble and rashes. - 1/4/2014 12:57:06 PM
  • The picture they used for the article is simply disturbing. Another example of photoshop gone awry. It's almost as disturbing as the reaction I have been having recently with bananas. I can barely eat them anymore due to developing a sensitivity. - 1/4/2014 12:21:28 PM
  • I have issues with carageenan. Another little known ingredient put into foods to make them more shelf stable. Affects me just like MSG. - 12/28/2013 10:00:03 AM
  • I immediately noted the lack of gliaden, the protein part of certain grains (wheat, rye and barley in particular) that causes celiac disease. I agree with Maggiesmagic - this is a big fail in that department.

    On the plus side, the suggestion of keeping a food diary is an excellent one. It led to my diagnosis with celiac disease, rather than the lactose intolerance I always believed I had. - 12/27/2013 1:45:01 PM
  • LAUREENMT
    I do not like the photo of an emaciated female midsection that accompanies this story. Can't Sparkpeople avoid images like this? - 12/27/2013 1:40:27 PM
  • LAUREENMT
    Inulin gets to me! I had one of the Kashi high-fiber cereals and ended up having to pull off the road for an explosive and embarrassing stop beside the guard rail of a toll road... Few peope have this issue, but if you do, you will read ingredient labels to avoid chicory root extracts or inulin! - 12/27/2013 1:38:33 PM
  • maggie, they didn't leave wheat off the list. It's included in "your favorite foods" which is essentially ALL foods! LOLOLOLOLOL

    silly article saying they're listing eight, when they're listing ALL... - 12/27/2013 12:16:19 PM
  • MAGGIESMAGIC
    You left wheat off this list ? Seriously? Wheat allergy and various form of celiac and gluten allergy and all the associated symptoms affects millions of people. The negative health effects of wheat are well known and a purported dietician puts large meals (duh) on a list of things that will cause stomach distress but does NOT include wheat or gluten ? That's a fail. - 12/27/2013 8:43:41 AM