That tired and bloated feeling that makes you feel uncomfortably out of shape, while trying to control belching and gas is an embarrassing condition that is surprisingly common.
About 10% of people in Australia say that they experience bloating regularly. In the majority of cases, bloating and tiredness after eating are a result of what you eat and how you eat it.
What Causes Bloating
There are three key causes of bloating, each of which are controllable:
(1) Eating Too Much Food: Over-eating places too much stress upon your stomach. As a result you’ll experience abdominal discomfort and acid reflux.
(2) Eating Fatty Foods: Fat takes a lot longer to digest than either carbohydrate or protein. Your stomach will stay fuller for longer.
(3) Eating Too Fast: When we eat too fast we overload the system. The fact that it takes about 20 minutes for our satiety signals to reach the brain means that when we eat too fast we will not only feel tired and bloated, but we’ll also probably end up taking in way more calories than we actually need – with a resultant surge in fat storage.
Avoid Abdominal Gas
A lot of the gas that ends up in your abdomen comes to your stomach in the form of swallowed air. The balance is the result of digestive bacteria that lives in the gut.
To be operating optimally, the gastrointestinal tract needs to transport gas at a consistent pace. If it doesn’t, the level of gas in the intestines will become too high and gas, bloating and a tired feeling will result.
Bloating and tiredness are often associated with stress and nervousness. This is because nervous people tend to breath in big gulps of air. Relaxation and breathing exercises can be great aids to reducing bloating.
Foods to Avoid
Foods that are difficult for the body to digest are more likely to cause bloating. Here are some common culprits, mainly as a result of the sugars that they contain:
- Beans and Lentils
- Some fruits and vegetables like Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower and Apricots
- Artificial sweeteners such as Sorbitol
- Dairy products (especially if you have a lactose intolerance)
- Whole grains
- High fat foods
Ease Into Whole Grains
Small quantities of Whole grains in your diet can assist with keeping you regular due to their fibre content. But that fibre is also responsible for your gas, bloating and tiredness.
That’s because fibre is indigestible. If you rapidly increase your intake, bloating, gas and even constipation may result. It is a good idea, then, to slowly increase the amounts of fibre that you’re taking in rather than suddenly transitioning to a high fibre diet.
Grabitske, H. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, “Gastrointestinal Effects of Low-Digestible Carbohydrates,” 2009; vol 49: pp 327-360.
Joanne L. Slavin, PhD, RD, professor of food science and nutrition, University of Minnesota.