Reasons Youre Bloated And Gassy On A Low
Cutting carbohydrates is often thought to be a straight-forward method for losing weight quickly, but it doesn’t come without repercussions.
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One very common side effect of cutting out carbs is gastrointestinal discomfort â particularly in the form of gas and bloat. If you’re experiencing these uncomfortable stomach issues, you may want to explore the reasons why and what you can do to calm them.
What Is Low-Carb, Anyway?
Low-carb diets come in many varieties and may call for limiting daily carb intake to below 100 grams, 50 grams, 30 grams or even 20 grams. The popular ketogenic diet is on the lower end of that scale. On a keto diet, which is a high-fat, moderate-protein diet, you might be getting as few as 5 to 10 percent of your calories from carbohydrates, according to December 2020 report in âStatPearls.â
Reason #6 Leaky Gut Syndrome
Leaky gut is also known as “increased intestinal permeability.” What that means is that the intestinal barrier is not filtering properly, which leads to bacteria and toxins entering the circulatory system and causing an immune reaction that leads to low-grade inflammation.
Leaky gut usually results from conditions such as inflammatory bowel diseases, celiac disease, food allergy, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, and metabolic diseases. However, researchers also claim that leaky gut can result from changes in gut flora caused by a high-fat diet.
Healthy gut bacteria produce butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid important for reducing inflammation in the colon. Their imbalance on keto can decrease butyrate production.
Symptoms of leaky gut include fatigue, digestive upset, bloating, and fatigue. Keep in mind that leaky gut is not yet a recognized medical diagnosis, but increased intestinal permeability definitely is.
If you suspect that leaky gut may be behind your bloating on a low-carb diet, then there are steps you could take:
Eat probiotic-rich foods
The keto diet can disrupt your intestinal flora, especially if you do not eat enough fiber. Try improving your gut microbial balance with probiotic foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi, and balance this with your fiber intake.
Eat anti-inflammatory foods
Increase your fiber intake
How Low Is Low
To bring about nutritional ketosis, extreme low-carb diets cap your carb intake at less than 10% of your total macronutrient intake. That translates to 20 to 50 grams a day of carbs. Low-carb diets generally shoot for under 26% of nutrition intake, or 130 grams. Here are a few examples of common high-carb low-fat foods.
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Reason #4 You Have A Food Sensitivity
When switching to a low-carb diet, chances are you will start eating a plethora of new foods.
While this can be a positive thing in terms of nutrient intake, the downside is that you may end up introducing food for which you have an undiagnosed food sensitivity.
Food sensitivities are also called food intolerances. They often result from a lack of digestive enzymes or hypersensitivity to certain compounds.
However, some food intolerances are mediated by the immune system these are referred to as food allergies. Food allergies manifest in an immune-response such as hives, rash, tingling, constricted airway, and swelling while food sensitivities manifest in less life-threatening symptoms such as bloating, indigestion, belching, and diarrhea. A common food intolerance, for example, is lactose intolerance.
Besides bloating, other symptoms of food sensitivities include migraines, headaches, abdominal pain, flatulence, and diarrhea.
If you are experiencing any of these, ask your doctor to perform a food allergy test to rule out this problem. If the tests come out negative, then you will want to carry out an at-home food sensitivity test:
Testing for food sensitivities
Because there are no tests for food intolerances, the only way to test if you have one is by monitoring your symptoms after eating a particular food.
Some food sensitivities also result from an inability to digest simple carbohydrates and sugar alcohols. These nutrients are collectively referred to as FODMAP .
Eating Late At Night Or Laying Down After Eating
Taking a nap after a filling meal may sound tempting but can also cause acid reflux. Especially if you ate fatty foods. Laying down means you no longer have the benefit of gravity to help keep stomach contents in your stomach they are more likely to leak up through your LES when youâre laying down. If you must lay down, laying on your left side or elevating your upper body can help keep your stomach contents where they belong.
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It Can Tax Your Heart
Very low-carb diets also are high-fat. Your saturated fat intake should be no more than 5% to 6% of your total. Focus on healthy fats like those in avocados, olives, and nuts. On the keto diet , your triglycerides and HDL cholesterol levels will likely get better. But you may see a rise in LDL, or âbadâ cholesterol, which can also lead to heart disease.
You Might Get The Keto Flu
Ketosis can lead to weakness, fatigue, dizziness, and headaches, which can feel a lot like flu symptoms. More serious side effects can happen too, like stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting. Some doctors think this is caused by not getting enough nutrients from fruits, beans, veggies, and whole grains — foods not allowed, or strictly limited, on a keto diet.
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Choose Greek Yogurt In The Morning
Look for a brand of Greek yogurt that contains live and active cultures, which will promote healthy bacteria in your gut to prevent bloating.
Plus, the protein in the yogurt will keep you full. Beef it up with fiber-rich oats, berries, and chia seeds for an extra filling morning meal just dont go overboard if your body isnt used to digesting that much fibre, says Jessica Crandall, RDN, CDE, spokesperson for the US-based Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
If youre not used to that amount of fibre it causes gas, but if you work up to it slowly, it promotes a healthy GI system, she says.
Slowly add a little more fibre to your diet every day for a flatter belly, and increase your fluid intake to aid digestion and reduce icky symptoms like diarrhoea and bloating.
Heres what else you need to know about the link between complex carbohydrates and fibre.
Excess Fiber Leads To Bloating
If you recently upped the amount of carbs in your diet, you might experience some bloating caused by the increase in your fiber intake. Carbohydrate-rich foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans all contain dietary fiber, which adds bulk to your stool but doesn’t get broken down into energy.
While some fiber is good, because it helps stool pass through your digestive tract, increasing your fiber intake too quickly can cause digestive distress, including gas, bloating and diarrhea.
If you think that’s the problem, try scaling back your portions of the most fiber-rich foods â like beans and berries â and increase your fiber intake gradually, by a few grams a day, so that your system has time to adjust.
Read more:The 10 Worst Foods for Bloating
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Pick The Right Ratios At Dinner
Like lunch, your evening flat-belly meal should consist of half non-starchy vegetables, one-quarter whole grains, and one-quarter protein.
That combination is packed with nutrients, but will also keep you full.
A healthy plate might contain vegetables roasted in olive oil, a serving of quinoa, and 85 to 170g of chicken or fish, says Rumsey.
And by the way, quinoa is one of the 15 best super-foods for diabetics.
Gluten Intolerance Or Sensitivity
Gluten is a protein found in a number of carb products. Wheat is the major culprit, but gluten is also present in barley, oats and rye. According to nutritionist Kate Cook, people who have a sensitivity to gluten will experience bloating, as well as constipation, fatigue and other side effects after consuming it. Gluten intolerance is more serious and can lead to severe allergic reactions, mouth ulcers and bone problems. If you experience bloating along with other symptoms after eating carbs that contain gluten, talk to your doctor to rule out a serious problem.
- Gluten is a protein found in a number of carb products.
- Gluten intolerance is more serious and can lead to severe allergic reactions, mouth ulcers and bone problems.
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Kidney Problems Can Worsen
Nutritional ketosis may bump up uric acid levels, leading to kidney stones or gout flares. One study found people with mild chronic kidney disease on the keto diet did OK with close medical supervision. But others show those who eat any diet high in red meat and low in whole grains, low-fat dairy, and fruit are 97% more likely to get kidney disease. This is partly why some dietitians advise against doing extreme low-carb diets on your own.
How Can You Tell That You’re Feeling Bloated Because Of Eating Too Many Carbs Or If It’s Something Else
Excessive abdominal bloating can come from many things, from food intolerances to excessive salt intake. There are a couple of ways to determine whether this bloating is due to eating too many carbs.
One is to identify the location of your bloating: “You can tell if you’ve had too much salt vs. carbs because salt tends to cause water retention in your extremities, like your feet, ankles, and fingers. Carbohydrates cause bloating in your abdominal region,” explains Byrd.
Another is to perform a small dietary intervention: “A good way to test if it’s the carbs or another factor is to eat only one-half cup serving of a wholesome, high-fiber carb , at your meal and see if the fatigue, heaviness, and weight gain resolve themselves,” recommend The Nutrition Twins.
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Bloating Caused By Lactose Intolerance
Sometimes it’s not just the gluten in many carb-rich foods causing your bloating â it’s the carbs themselves, specifically lactose, the natural sugar found in dairy products. Normally, enzymes in your digestive tract break lactose down into sugar, which can then get absorbed into your bloodstream.
If you’re missing the enzyme required to break it down, though, that digestive process won’t work properly, and bacteria start to break down the partially digested carbs in your gut.
The oh-so-pleasant result? Gas, bloating, diarrhea and an ever-grumbling tummy. You can avoid lactose by forgoing dairy products or take enzyme supplements before a dairy-containing meal to cut down on unpleasant side effects.
Do Carbs Make You Bloated This Is Why You Get Bloated After Eating Carbs
If someone does not chew their food, secrete enough digestive enzymes, has a damaged intestinal lining, bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, and a lack of beneficial bacteria in the colon, carbohydrate malabsorption can occur.
When carbohydrates are not broken down and absorbed, the undigested carbohydrates and fiber are fermented by bacteria found in the small and large intestine.
As a by-product of fermenting upon undigested carbohydrates and fiber, the bacteria produce gas. The gas produced by bacteria fermenting upon undigested carbohydrates leads to feeling bloated after eating carbs.
Fiber and high fermentable foods are not necessarily bad foods as these foods act as a prebiotic for the healthy gut flora in the colon. But when there is an excess of too much-undigested fiber and carbohydrates, our gut bacteria can get out balance, and bacterial overgrowth can occur in the small intestine, as in the case with SIBO.
When an overgrowth of bacteria occurs in the small intestine, feeling bloated after eating becomes a daily occurrence.
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You’re Missing Out On Fiber
This is probably the most common reason for experiencing gastrointestinal woes on a low-carb diet. Newbies often struggle to maintain proper amounts of fiber in their diets when they first start out, which can lead to discomfort. ICYMI, fiber is a type of carb.
“Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are excellent sources of dietary fiber, which keeps our digestive systems in tip-top shape. Avoiding these foods can result in decreased transit time and may lead to increased gas and bloating,” Christie Gagnon, RD, tells LIVESTRONG.com.
People should aim to get 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed per day, per the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Most Americans fail to get anywhere close to these recommendations, but reaching these numbers can be especially hard when you’re not eating carbs.
Fiber is found only in plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. Because your body doesn’t digest or absorb fiber, it moves throughout the digestive system relatively unchanged, adding bulk to stool and assisting the body to empty its bowels more easily and frequently.
Why Do I Feel Bloated After Eating Carbs How Do I Get Rid Of It
Everyone sometime or the other may have experienced gaseous distention and bloating after eating food. It may be quiet discomforting and embarrassing situation. Often after eating a heavy meal some discomfort is possible, but regular bloating of abdomen after a meal must be looked into as this may be linked with the food that you consume daily. In majority of cases those who experience bloating and gasses, the cause is eating large amount of carbohydrate food. Besides excess of complex carbohydrates, certain other medical issues must also be looked into if bloating is regular.
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Reason #5 You Are Overeating Foods That Promote Bloating
Sometimes, the actual cause of keto bloating happens to be the simplest one: overeating foods that causes bloating. Even if you don’t suffer from food sensitivities or a digestive disorder, these foods will lead to bloating.
The most common offenders include:
Dairy contains lactose, a milk sugar that many people have trouble digesting because they lack the lactase enzyme. Around 70% of the world’s population suffers some degree of lactose intolerance due to a genetically programmed decline in lactase production after weaning .
However, you do not have to exclude all dairy on your low-carb diet if you suspect lactose intolerance. High-fat dairy is generally lower in lactose than low-fat dairy. Fermented and aged dairy like yogurt, sour cream, kefir, and hard cheeses are also lower in lactose. Butter, being mostly milk fat, has the least lactose of all dairy products.
Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale are all examples of vegetables belonging to the Brassica family. These vegetables contain raffinose, a complex sugar that many people are unable to digest properly and that studies linked to bloating and flatulence .
These vegetables also contain sulfur, a chemical element with an unpleasant odor and that causes foul-smelling flatus . Other sulfur-containing foods include eggs, cheddar, organ meats, grass-fed dairy. While sulfur may not necessarily make you bloated, it can lead to unpleasant flatus.
Pathophysiology Of Carbohydrate Intolerance
Disaccharides are normally split into monosaccharides by disaccharidases located in the brush border of small-bowel enterocytes. Undigested disaccharides cause an osmotic load that attracts water and electrolytes into the bowel, causing watery diarrhea. Bacterial fermentation of carbohydrates in the colon produces gases , resulting in excessive flatus, bloating and distention, and abdominal pain.
, tropical sprue Tropical Sprue Tropical sprue is a rare acquired disease, probably of infectious etiology, characterized by malabsorption and megaloblastic anemia. Diagnosis is clinical and by small-bowel biopsy. Treatment… read more , acute intestinal infections ). In infants, temporary secondary disaccharidase deficiency may complicate enteric infections or abdominal surgery. Recovery from the underlying disease is followed by an increase in activity of the enzyme.
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Your Take Home Message
Relieving your stomach symptoms is a simple and straightforward process.
Yes, it takes a lot of trial and error.
But speaking from personal experience theres nothing quite like the relief of freeing yourself from gastrointestinal pain.
So hang in there.
It will all be worth it in the end.
Question of the day:
Do you know someone suffering from unexplained stomach symptoms? Make a difference and help them out by sharing this article with them.
Theres Nothing More Frustrating Than Stomach Pain Belly Bloating Cramps And Irritable Bowels
They are inconvenient at best and make you feel nauseous at worst.
For years, experts blamed dietary fat, alcohol, caffeine, and gluten for causing these mysterious symptoms
But they were wrong.
It turns out the culprits were carbohydrates all along.
5 specific types of carbohydrates to be exact.
People often call them FODMAPs.
FODMAPs stand for Fermentable Oligo-saccharides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides And Polyols if you were wondering.
But thats not important.
What is important is you know what they are, which foods have them, and what you can do to ease your symptoms.
Lets get started.
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So What Can You Munch On Instead
Opt for carbs that are low in wheat or, even-better, try a gluten-free diet for a few weeks. If your body is having problems processing gluten, youll soon see a difference.
What to eat: There are loads of gluten-free alternatives to wheat, including pure oats, quinoa, buckwheat, almond flour and coconut flour. Love baking? Try creating your own batch of baked goods using gluten-free ingredients. Even better taste-wise and youll banish the bloat.
Tips And Tricks From A Registered Dietitian
Weve all been there. As soon as you start eating more whole foods, you get hit with an unwanted side-effectbloating. You would think your efforts to eat healthier foods would result in a slimmer waistline, but instead youre having a harder time zipping up your jeans! Whats going on?
The culprit for unwanted bloating and gas is commonly fiber, a nutrient thats plentiful in natural, non-processed foods. Before you think you should cut back this beneficial nutrient, youll want to know whats exactly causing your bloating and what you can do to prevent it.
This unwanted side effect doesnt have to happen to you. The following tips can eliminate bloating and improve digestion so you can go high-fiber and low-carb without the bloat!
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