Bloating – stomach distension due to gas built in the stomach or bowel – may be caused by certain foods, intestinal disorders, bacterial overgrowth or food poisoning with bacteria or parasites.

What Causes Bloating Shortly After Eating?

Bloating in the upper abdomen appearing within minutes after starting a meal may be caused by:

  • Carbonated drinks, like soda or beer
  • Baking soda
  • Helycobacter pylori infection of the stomach. Infection with this bacterium is common and may cause nausea, early satiety, bloating and burping shortly after starting a meal 
  • Slow stomach emptying, caused by:
    • Fibrous tissue (resulting from chronic infection, ulcer or surgery) obstructing the exit of the stomach (pylorus)
    • Hypothyroidism
    • Atherosclerosis of abdominal vessels or damage of abdominal nerves in long lasting diabetes, or smoking

 

Foods that May Cause Bloating

1. Foods Causing Bloating in HEALTHY Individuals:

  • Carbonated drinks
  • High-fiber foods like legumes (beans, soy, peas, lentils), cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, fruits with thick skin like apples and pears, whole-meal bread, morning cereals.
  • Foods high in fructose or sorbitol, like honey, certain fruits (plums, prunes, apples, pears, peaches, mango, papaya, etc). Fructose is also in HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), which is added to many commercial food products. Everyone can absorb only a limited amount of fructose – if this amount is exceeded, bloating and diarrhea may appear.
  • Diet soda“, “low calorie foods“  or “sugar free chewing gum” sweetened with sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol or xylitol, commonly noted as “polyols” on food product labels.
  • Sugary foods, like sweets or cakes eaten in excess, may cause bloating, since normal bacteria break down sugars and yield gas

2. Foods Causing Bloating in LACTOSE INTOLERANCE

Lactose intolerance can affect anyone, especially old people. Foods that may cause bloating (and diarrhea) in lactose intolerance:

  • Dairy products: milk, cheese, butter, cream, milk based ice cream, etc.
  • Pre-prepared packaged foods like soups or sauce mixtures with added lactose
  • Bread and pastries with added milk
  • Some types of beer and liquors containing lactose

3. Foods Causing Bloating in FRUCTOSE MALABSORPTION

Fructose malabsorptionis a common disorder, caused by insufficient amount of a certain protein in the intestinal wall responsible for transporting fructose from the small intestine to the blood. Bloating in fructose malabsorption may be caused by foods containing:

  • Fructose: fruits and fruit products
  • Sorbitol: certain fruits and artificially sweetened drinks or foods
  • Polyols“, like xylitol, maltitol, etc. used as a sweetener in sugar free chewing gum, diet soda, low calorie foods or in many packaged foods
  • HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) that can be added to virtually any packaged food
  • Fructans: in wheat, onions, leeks, artichokes

4. Foods Causing Bloating in IBS

Many people diagnosed with IBS actually have fructose malabsorption, lactose intolerance or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, so they should have tests for these disorders. Practically any food, drink, spice or food additive (one or more of them) may cause bloating, diarrhea, constipation or cramping in IBS. The culprit foods may be found with elimination diet.

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Article reviewed by Dr. Greg. Last updated on November 24, 2009