You thought you were doing so well! You eat right and exercise like you know you should. Then, why are you still experiencing bloating, gas, and troublesome tummy issues? Though it’s easy to figure out what went wrong when you try to start a car without gas, it’s not always so apparent when it comes to problems with your diet. These five foods masquerade as healthy, but can be the silent cause of your stress-inducing belly bloat. Beat the bloat today with these simple swaps for “healthy” foods that make you bloat. They’ll surprise you.
1. Chewing GumShutterstock
Chewing gum may seem like a harmless habit, but one too many sticks can give whole new meaning to the phrase “bubble butt.” Sugarless gums typically contain sorbitol, a sugar alcohol known for causing bloating and other gastrointestinal distress. Sorbitol takes a relatively long time to digest, and undigested sorbitol in your small intestine acts as hothouse for the fermentation of bacteria, causing boating and flatulence.
Chew This: PÜR Gum
Not That!: Trident Gum
2. Nutrition BarsShutterstock
Culprit: Soy Protein
You probably don’t think “beans” when you unwrap a protein bar, but a lot of them include protein isolate derived from soybeans—something many people find just as gas-inducing as the musical fruit. Like other beans, soy contains oligosaccharides, sugar molecules that the body can’t break down entirely. With nowhere to go, these oligosaccharides hang out in the where they ferment, causing gas and bloating of the stomach.
Eat This: KIND Nut Delight Bar
Not That!: Atkins Granola Bar
3. Dried FruitShutterstock
Nature’s candy, dried fruit can be a great source of nutrients and fiber. But it can also be a musical fruit for those who suffer from fructose malabsorption, which occurs when the body has difficulty absorbing the natural sugar. Dried fruits are particularly high in fructose; stone and citrus fruits, and berries are safer options for those with sensitivity.
If you’re still a dedicated dried fruit fan, make sure to read the label before you buy. Many dried fruits have added sugar that makes them pack even more grams than a donut. Check out our list of the 5 “Health” Foods Worse Than a Donut to expose the other sneaky diet saboteurs.
Eat This: Fresh Plum (1.8 g Fructose per 100 g)
Not That!: Raisins (33.8 g Fructose per 100 g)
4. Almond MilkShutterstock
Mooove over, cow’s milk! Almond milk is a better option for those with lactose sensitivity, but you may be undermining your goals if you’re buying a brand with the thickening agent carrageenan. Derived from seaweed, carrageenan has been linked to ulcers, inflammation, and other gastrointestinal problems.
Still don’t know which milk is right for you? Don’t let the dairy aisle confuse you. We break down the basics in this indispensable guide.
Drink This: Silk Unsweetened Almondmilk
Not That!: Almond Breeze Almondmilk
5. Canned SoupShutterstock
Good for the soul, but potentially bad for the stomach, soup can hide sky-high sodium counts that may lead to water retention and temporary weight gain. When you overload your system with salt, your kidneys can’t keep up; salt that would otherwise be flushed away has to sit in your bloodstream, where it attracts water, causing increased blood pressure and bloating.
Eat This: Amy’s Light Sodium Butternut Squash Soup (340 mg sodium)
Not That!: Campbell’s Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup (940 mg sodium)