A quick google search on "bloating" yields over 50 million results.
Are you surprised?
No neither am I!
A 2019 study on the clinical approach and treatment to bloating; published in "Advances in Therapy", reported that 30% of adults experience bloating.
Bloating is so common, yet mistakenly often assumed to be a product of intolerances and allergies. Removing food components is one of the first steps taken by people, to alleviate bloating. Gluten is a common one, wheat another, lactose, dairy and also onion, garlic and leeks to eliminate FODMAPs (fructo-oligosacchairdes).
Did you know there are hundreds of reasons we may experience bloating that have nothing to do with gluten, wheat, dairy, lactose, FODMAPS or any other food allergen or common intolerant ingredient.
Here's a short list:
Drinking too much water
Drinking too little water
Eating insufficient fibre
Eating too much fibre and not enough water
Eating too much in general
Not eating enough for your lifestyle
Eating too fast
Stress/Trauma experienced as a child can impact digestion as an adult and cause chronic bloating
Some medications and tablets (even vitamins and supplements)
Eating/Drinking too much Protein Powder
Protein Powder in general
There are many others...
I have seen a number of clients in clinic present with symptoms of food intolerances. They removed the common culprits expecting to 'heal' them self and still experienced bloating and general central discomfort. After asking a few questions, I was able to establish their bloating was caused by drinking too much coconut water. Seriously this is a thing and actually more common then you can imagine.
Whilst many people drink coconut water for the perceived electrolyte and hydration factor, you may be interested to note that in order for the electrolytes in coconut water to have any effect on our bodies, a very high volume needs to be drank. The volume is so high that you'd likely feel ill. Coconut water has a lot of fibre which needs common clear everyday water to help flush it out. In general drinking litres of coconut water every day is never recommended and will cause bloating.
FODMAPs stands for fermentable oligo- di- and monosaccharides and polyols. It consists of the foods- artichokes, cauliflower, onion, garlic, apples, beans such as chick peas and cashews; to list a small few. FODMAPs has become a very common group of foods individuals avoid, especially those suffering with chronic Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The invention of Low and No FODMAP diets were a pioneering concept in the treatment of excruciating abdominal pains and constant bloating.
Nutrition as a science profession is in its infancy compared to other sciences such as Physics. Gut health is an even newer topic and there's new research every month adding to the compendium of gut health information. So last year's gut health information or that from 5 years ago, for example, is ancient and will have been superseded by now. What does this have to do with FODMAPs?? stay with me...
We now know that gut microbiota is not just a question of good and bad bacteria. There is an entire system located inside our gut. The impact of this system on our entire health is huge to say the least. Seventy percent of an adult's immune system is located inside the gut. There is a relationship between the health of our gut and our brain functioning. The components inside our gut can also influence how we digest and absorb other nutrients and importantly how we process stress inside the body.
If you're wondering what this has to do with FODMAPs…. The new science shows that individuals who follow a low or no FODMAP diet longterm are missing out on essential nutrients. FODMAPs such as prebiotic inulin and certain fibres, improve the diversity of microbiota in the gut. It is the diversity that protects us and supports us. The more diverse our microbiota is, the more likely we are to be healthy and feel healthy. When the diversity is limited, our health potential is not achieved.
What does this mean for people following a FODMAP restricted diet? They are not intended for longterm use. However, many people have been instructed with long term avoidance advice, which actually makes it harder to reintroduce these foods into your lifestyle later on. The bloating may also return and overall health is compromised due to the absence of the FODMAP nutrients.
Where to from here?
I am so disturbed by nutrition advice that promise a one-size-fits all.
Such as remove this and you'll feel better.
Buy this product and you'll be healthy. NO!!
1) If you are bloated please do not take advice from a well meaning family or friend with no actual nutrition training or specialised gut health knowledge. They may mean well but with respect they do not have accurate information for you.
2) Stop googling nutrition advice- unless it is advice from a trained professional.
3) Seek professional advice that can be tailored to you!
We are all different and need unique recommendations. If you experience bloating, please reach out for a chat. I have the experience and training to be able to identify what you need. "Bloating, FODMAP diets and Intolerances - Part 2" will list information on gluten, wheat, lactose, dairy and soy,