Bloating and actual fat gain feel the same, so you can easily confuse the two but they really are different. Fat is different from gas and water, which often contribute to bloating, and fat comes onto your body much more slowly. So, when you feel like you’ve ballooned out overnight, or even over the span of a few days, you can usually blame bloating, not a true weight gain.
To reduce bloating in the fastest time possible, try the following:
1. Swap out all other beverages for water. While it sounds counterintuitive, drinking a lot of water won’t blow you up. Your body often holds onto water so as not to get dehydrated, but if you constantly knock back bottles of H2O, it permits your body to flush out some of its stores. Make sure you consume about 1.5 litres per day water consistently throughout the day. Water trumps all other beverages in terms of hydration. Indeed, the bubbles in popular carbonated liquids deliver air straight to your gut, and processing dairy-based options is tough. Either way, your body will feel like a distended gas factory.
2. Avoid sugar alcohols. Foods comprised of sugar alcohols, which are technically natural sweeteners, can still turn you into a puffed out version of yourself. Sweeteners like xylitol, mannitol, and sorbitol are used in everything from gum to energy bars. They play hard ball with your gastrointestinal tract and can lead to gas, cramping, bloating, and even diarrhea if you eat too much of them. Those unpleasant symptoms signal that your body cannot fully break these sweeteners down during the digestive process. In fact, they tend to be present in lots of highly processed foods, only compounding digestive problems.
3. Pay attention to fiber intake. Fiber is key for staying healthy. It keeps your digestive system chugging along smoothly and your body satiated longer, which is a bonus for those struggling to lose weight. The issue is when you go from eating very little fiber to taking in way too much; i.e., when you overhaul your eating habits in an effort to get healthy. Overdoing fiber when you’re not used to it can really bloat you. Too much fiber can be tough to digest and create gas, both of which might inflate your belly. Aim for between 20 and 25 grams of fiber per day and drink a lot of water along with any fibrous food to assist your body in digesting it more easily.
4. Select fruits and veggies wisely. Most everything you encounter in the produce aisle is acceptable health-wise and will likely trump the frozen food section wares. But certain fruits and vegetables can still make you feel as plump as a marshmallow. Fruit like cherries, peaches, grapes, and mangoes can bloat you although they contain plenty of great nutritional benefits. These fruits are healthy, but they naturally have a lot of sugar or sugar alcohols. When trying to shrink down to your usual size, opt for fruits like blueberries, strawberries, cantaloupe, and oranges, which contain less sugar. They are also packed with water, which promotes de-bloating.
As for vegetables, cruciferous ones like brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower are loaded with raffinose, the same compound that produces gas when you eat beans. Gas is just air trapped inside you, inflating you far more than you’d like and popping out at the most inconvenient moments. To obtain your vegetable fix while avoiding any potential culprits, replace the cruciferous ones for higher water content veggies like cucumber and zucchini.
5. Lay Off Carbs. Besides being delicious, carbs are not the enemy. They’re your body’s go-to fuel source, so you need them. But in order to create glycogen, a form of energy stored in your muscles and liver, carbohydrate molecules bind with water like it’s their job. The more carbs you eat, the more water you hang onto, and the more bloated you feel. This is still a bad reason to totally remove carbs from your diet. However, if you want to de-bloat, cut down on the carbs for at least day and choose a diet of greens and lean proteins.
6. Keep it shut while chewing. At times, it’s not about what you eat, but how you eat. When you talk while you eat or eat too fast, you’re getting lots of air in your digestive tract along with your food. Only talk in between bites. Rather than chatting away as you chow down, consciously strive to eat slowly. After all, chewing your food as much as possible promotes easier digestion, which can also lead to less bloating.
7. Banish salty foods. If your waistband is suddenly is feeling as tight as a corset, try staying away from sodium-rich food. When you eat sodium, your body retains water to try to maintain the proper balance in your bloodstream. Stay below 2,500 milligrams of sodium a day if possible, and again, drink water throughout to stave off much of that resulting bloat.
8. Portion Size Counts. Overdoing portion sizes is a major reason for that sluggish, inflated feeling. The more food you pack into your stomach, the more bloated you will feel! Remember that it’s all about moderation. A few treats here and there aren’t likely to result in any actual weight gain, so feel free to have a cookie or two after a well-balanced meal.