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.

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.

Eastern Carolina University, "Do You Suffer from Gas and Bloating,", 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

  • The one I avoid the most is leftovers. Too many people from earlier generations caused themselves great harm with shelf rather than refrigerated storage. Today's packaging helps by specifying which products need refrigeration after opening. - 3/7/2016 11:36:32 PM
  • Yes! I've known for 30 years that my stomach, and head, and throat hate sulfites. In the days when it could be added to salad bars, I used to get so-o-o sick every time I went out to eat at a nice restaurant. One time I even broke out in a cold sweat and had to lay down on a bathroom floor to avoid falling! These days the worst foods for me are wine, vinegar, most shrimp, coconut, candied fruit, potatoes from a box or bag, and some baked goods. It's amazing how many doctors still don't understand about this! Thanks for posting this article. Maybe it will help someone figure out their "mysterious illness." - 2/17/2016 5:01:02 PM
    I have learned (over and over) that some things can affect some people some of the time. My second lesson is that bodies change over time and what I could eat once I can not eat now. - 8/5/2015 9:46:14 AM
    Wheat products were the culprit for me. Stopped eating wheat and stomach cramps subsided, no more puffiness (whole body, including hands, feet, face), lost 33 pounds in only a couple of months. Further, headaches gone, so far, and sinus type issues have reduced dramatically, and I am sleeping much better. My hair and nails are also growing very rapidly as opposed to before, which means I was not absorbing nutrients properly (because of wheat?). Also hunger pangs not present as before, much better overall. :) - 8/5/2015 9:21:52 AM
  • The picture of this gal's stomach in completely unrealistic, and it's stuff like this that leads to eating disorders in women. Get real. - 4/4/2015 8:33:54 PM
  • If sugar alcohols cause you problems, you may have to cut down on the amount you have. Also, some things like fruit and vegetable can cause gas and bloating if eaten with fattening food. Why, you ask? Because when you do that, your body starts digesting the fattening food first. It just does that automatically, it's the body's first priority. While the body is digesting the fattening food, it leaves the fruit and/or vegetables alone. And then what happens? Well, then those things that are left to themselves start to ferment inside of you, which causes all of these little bubbles which get out of control! And then you're in pain! So that's probably why people started eating salad before a meal. There's a reason for this! It's better to eat the fresh fruits and vegetables before anything else, or separate to the meal and watch the amount of fattening food we eat. - 4/4/2015 3:03:10 AM
  • Strange.. I guess maybe that's why I can't eat scrambled eggs anymore?
    i ate them almost every morning for like a week or 2 straight but then I started getting nauseous eating them. I haven't had scrambled eggs in almost 6 months or more :(
    They're so yummy - 3/18/2015 11:48:25 AM
  • I don't seem to have an issue with any of those. My issue is something I really really - 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

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