Stomach bloating describes what happens when too much gas fills up the gastrointestinal tract. This often results in a stretchy, puffy sensation in the tummy and painful abdominal cramps. Issues related to the gut can be more complex than meets the eye. The underlying cause could be an intolerance to gluten.
Gluten is a family of proteins found in barley, wheat and rye.
If people react to the gluten found in these type of foods, it can result in bloating.
According to nutritionist Maeve Madden, grains containing gluten also happen to have high amounts of a type of carbohydrate called fructans – a major red flag for bloating.
As Madden explained: “When fructans are fermented by gut bacteria they can cause gas, bloating and unusual bowel movements.”
Gluten grains include wheat, spelt, rye and barley, as well as products made using these grains.
According to Dr Oz, people should watch out for hidden sources of fructans. As he explained, processed foods and condiments often have loads of high-fructose corn syrup in them.
To eliminate a gluten sensitivity, people should try sticking to a wheat-free diet.
According to Isabel Skypala PhD, specialist allergy dietitian at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust: “There are great wheat substitutes you can buy off the supermarket shelf now. Go for gluten-free bread, and try other types of grains, such as quinoa, corn and rice.”
She added: “Just make sure you substitute other equally nutritious foods for the wheat-based ones you’re cutting out.”
As Skypala explained, great wheat-free alternatives include:
- Porridge, Rice Krispies and cornflakes
- Buckwheat pasta
How to identify a food intolerance
According to the NHS, the best way of identifying a food intolerance is to monitor symptoms and everything a person eats.
“See what happens when you cut out the suspected food for a while, and then reintroduce it into your diet,” explained the health health body.
The health site also recommended keeping a food diary, jotting down everything eaten, any symptoms that arise as a result of eating certain foods and logging the time when these symptoms arise.
As Dr Oz explained: “Small amounts of the particular food may not cause a reaction, in which case, eliminating the food entirely may not be necessary.”
He added: “In instances where enzymes, responsible for breaking down certain foods, are deficient, some over-the-counter medications can be taken before a meal.
“Lactase enzymes, for example, may help reduce the intolerant effects of dairy.”
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