Foods to Avoid That Make You Bloated

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There's no rhyme and little reason to foods that can make you feel bloated. The culprits aren't just greasy fast foods like burgers and fries. Some of the healthiest foods around, like broccoli, can fill your stomach with gas. It all boils down to glitches in the digestive process, or the inability to process certain foods.

A woman holds her stomach in pain from bloating.
A woman holds her stomach in pain from bloating. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Greasy Foods

Greasy fast foods like burgers, French fries, fried chicken, or anything else cooked in oil can cause bloating because it takes the stomach much longer to break down the fats and properly digest them. This extra time allows gas to build up, causing bloating.

A plate of French fries covered in ketchup.
A plate of French fries covered in ketchup. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

High-Sodium Foods

Salt is a big culprit when it comes to bloating. Foods with high amounts of sodium--from canned soup to soda--cause the body to retain water, which leads to a bloated feeling.

A woman drinks a glass of cola.
A woman drinks a glass of cola. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Artificial Sweeteners

Diet soft drinks, sugarless gum, and anything else that relies on artificial sweeteners can lead to bloating or, worse, to Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Problem sweeteners include aspartame, saccharin, sorbitol, xylitol, maltitol, mannitol, cyclamates and sucralose. These artificial sweeteners linger in the stomach because they cannot be digested, and after enough buildup they act as a platform for the fermentation of bacteria, leading to production of hydrogen gas.

A woman holds her stomach in pain.
A woman holds her stomach in pain. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Sugars and Starches

Sugars and starches also can cause gas, and there's a certain sugar called raffinose that really tends to inflate the belly and make you feel bloated. Raffinose is found in otherwise healthy vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower, as well as in beans and peas.

Bunches of asparagus for sale at a market.
Bunches of asparagus for sale at a market. (Image: Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Dairy Products

Dairy products, from a glass of milk to a scoop of ice cream, can make your stomach swell if you happen to be lactose-intolerant. Lactose intolerance is a condition in which your stomach is unable to digest the lactose, or milk sugar, in dairy products. Many adults have this problem, particularly as they get older, because as people age they produce less lactase, the enzyme our bodies use to digest lactose. Without enough lactase, the lactose ferments, creating gasses that make you feel bloated.

Close-up of an ice cream cone.
Close-up of an ice cream cone. (Image: Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Carbonated Drinks

Any carbonated drinks--tonic water, club soda and soft drinks--can cause bloating because the carbon dioxide trapped in the bubbles creates gas in the stomach. Burping can relieve some, but not all, of the gas.

A woman holds a glass of soda.
A woman holds a glass of soda. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

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