Snacking can help to keep you feeling satisfied throughout the day. If you have a long time between main meals or need some extra fuel for your daily workout, then snacks might just be your saviour. However, for some individuals, certain snack food or drinks can lead to feeling bloated (among other symptoms of discomfort)… and that’s no fun. So if you find that you’re having an adverse reaction to snacks in particular, here’s what you need to know.
The Main Culprits
FODMAPs (see a full comprehensive breakdown here) are carbohydrates (sugars and sugar alcohols) found in everyday, natural, good foods, that some bodies don’t digest very well. The result is unpleasant symptoms in the gut, including a bloated tummy. It pays to be mindful of your portions of particular snack foods, especially if you are sensitive to FODMAPs. For example:
- Use a smear of avocado, rather than half an avocado; replace regular bread with spelt bread if you’re sensitive to polyols.
- Choose relatively unripe bananas instead of very ripe bananas if you’re sensitive to oligosaccharides.
- Swap dried fruit with fresh fruit and swap honey with maple syrup if you’re sensitive to excess fructose.
Caffeine is a known gut irritant. Many people will know what I’m talking about here as that morning coffee (or three!) can quickly bring on a trip to the toilet. For some people, it can also lead to bloating, pain, and an upset tummy.
Carbonated drinks can also cause some bloating. It makes sense when you consider that gas is injected into the drinks to make them ‘fizz’. This gas doesn’t just disappear when you drink it, it flows through to your stomach where the body is left to deal with it – and this is where bloating can occur.
High fat foods
High fat foods are another key culprit. Fried foods, ice creams, chocolates, pizza, a lot of cheese, etc., can lead to a bloated tum if eaten in high quantities. Not only that, these foods are very high in calories, so it’s best to stick to smaller amounts when working towards a weight loss goal.
Eating too quickly
Eating too quickly can also cause bloating. If you’re inhaling your food, which is so easy to do when snacking, you’re probably inhaling more air with it and air in your tummy leads to discomfort. Many of us eat snacks on the run but if you can, remind yourself to slow down, sit and eat your snacks as if they were a meal. You’ll probably enjoy them more and feel more satisfied, just from taking your time and being more present.
Moderation is important too.
Eating excessive amounts of any food will probably cause you to feel bloated and uncomfortable. Without overeating (which, when it comes to snacking, is so easy to do) it’s important to enjoy a variety of snacks that work for you. And if you are one of those individuals with a sensitive gut, be mindful and reflective about what you’re eating and if it’s causing any bloating.
If you are consistently experiencing bloating or other digestive symptoms, head to your GP or an Accredited Practising Dietitian to start investigating further.
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