6 Foods That Are Secretly Making You Super Bloated

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When it comes to bloating, some foods are obvious culprits. We all know that a salty bowl of ramen or a bean burrito will have our stomachs sticking out faster than you can say food baby. But what about those times when you feel like you’re eating healthy—yet you’re still retaining every drop of water you consume?

Unfortunately, bloat can strike at any time and can be caused by some of the most unsuspecting foods. We’re not saying you should stop eating any of these items (in fact, many of them have tons of health benefits!). But if you have an occasion coming up that involves squeezing into some Spanx, you might want to hold off on fueling with these the night before:

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There are two main reasons why sugar-free gum, in particular, can cause stomach pain and bloating, says Ashvini Mashru, R.D., author of Small Steps to Slim.

“The first is that you naturally swallow a lot of air while chewing gum,” she says. “But the second, and arguably main reason, is the presence of sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols, which are a form of carbohydrate that are not very well digested, are a common cause of upset stomach, particularly when consumed in high amounts.”

Once in the intestinal tract, the sugar alcohol will meet bacteria that ferments it, releasing gas, which leads to bloating, cramps, pain, and/or diarrhea. It’s similar to what happens when someone who is lactose intolerant eats something with lactose, says Mashru. Because they aren’t fully digestible, sugar alcohols contain fewer calories, hence their prevalence in sugar-free gum.

To spot these pesky bloaters, Mashru suggests looking out for the ending –ol on the ingredients list. Some of the most common names for sugar alcohols are xylitol, mannitol, sorbitol, maltitol, and erythritol, she says.

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