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Does bread cause bloating?
Posted 5 years ago by Lou
Try to imagine a police line-up of the foods most likely to be associated with causing bloating. Which ones would be there? Milk and sugar might be there, possibly pasta and fried foods. We would all agree though that the guiltiest looking food in that line-up would most likely be bread (and chances are that most people looking at that line-up would single it out as the offender too!). But does bread deserve all the bad press it gets for causing bloating and is it really that simple? Read on to find out.
Does bread bloat everyone?
Not everyone experiences bloating after eating bread and of course some people may not notice a connection at all. In my naturopathic practice though, if a client presents with digestive symptoms such as bloating or constipation, it makes sense to look into how much bread they are eating. This is simply because bread consumption is commonly associated with causing bloating and quite often, there is a high representation of bread intake in the diets of many of my clients (it can be quite easy for people to eat four pieces of bread before the end of lunch!). When looking at a person’s bread intake I often take into consideration:
- How much bread a person is eating - is it one slice a day or a few slices with each meal?
- How often they have bread - is it every single day or a few times a week?
- What type of bread they are consuming - is it stodgy white refined bread or a dark wholegrain rye?
Bread is often associated with bloating. There are also many other causes of bloating
One of the reasons that bread can be a problem for many people is due to the gluten content in some types of flour including wheat and rye (which is commonly used in most generic types of bread). More about this later when I talk about coeliac disease.
How do I work out if bread bloats me?
An easy way to work out if bread is the cause of your bloating is to keep a food diary. Keeping a close eye on your symptoms before and after cutting bread out may or may not reveal an association. If you are trying to avoid gluten containing foods specifically, then remember that pasta and baked goods such as cakes, biscuits and croissants also contain gluten. Some people may notice an almost instant reduction in bloating once removing bread, for others it may take a few days or you may find that reducing bread does not reduce bloating at all.
If bread bloats me does that mean I am a coeliac?
Not necessarily. If you get bloated after eating bread, it does not necessarily mean you are a coeliac but it is definitely worth ruling this condition out. To complicate things, you can also have coeliac disease without experiencing bloating after eating bread too so keep this in mind.
Read more about coeliac disease and bloating
If bread makes you bloated it may be because you have an intolerance to wheat. Once again, it may be worth investigating so think about looking into food intolerance testing. Other health conditions such as Type 1 Diabetes and psoriasis (which like coeliac disease are autoimmune in their origin) may be associated with gluten sensitivity and often occur alongside coeliac disease.
So how do I go bread-free?
If you do decide to go reduce or avoid bread it is not as daunting as it seems. Here are some tips:
- Don’t just replace breads with more bread…..Gluten free versions of bread are not necessarily better for you and can be just as refined and stodgy as those containing wheat
- Get creative! Wrap your sandwich fillings up in a nori roll (to make some healthy sushi rolls) or use lettuce leaves to wrap up your ingredients instead!
- As mentioned above, keep an eye on your symptoms by keeping a food diary so you can work out if bread causes bloating for you.
- Consider taking a good quality probiotic whilst making these dietary changes to support your digestion.
Now if you notice that your bloating subsides after going bread free then that’s great. As they say, the proof is in the pudding (just make sure it is not bread and butter pudding!). There are plenty of other ways to get your fibre intake so don't worry that you are missing out on any vital nutrients by cutting down or avoid your intake of bread. When choosing a healthy diet, the key is to make sure you don’t rely too heavily on any one type of food and instead eat a wide array of fruits, vegetables and whole foods. Read about some top health foods here.
Have you ever tried to avoid bread? Has it had a positive effect on your bloating? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.
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