If you’ve ever felt the need to, er, let one rip during your Vinyasa flow, you’ve likely pictured a utopian future in which no one needs to burp or fart. The body’s ability to release excess gas is critical to your health and comfort, but when it comes to helping you be a member of polite society, it’s not always great.
So, we do what we can to reduce bloat, whether it’s soaking beans overnight (which, BTW, doesn’t actually work), taking fungi-filled probiotics, or avoiding dairy. If you’re still dealing with bloating after taking proactive measures to prevent it, you might have some daily habits that are contributing to the issue.
Functional medicine pioneer Frank Lipman, MD, founder of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City, recently took to his blog to explain what those everyday culprits are, and how they might be sneaking through your system to cause bloating. A few easy tweaks to your habits, and you’ll be on your way to that gas-free utopia.
Keep reading to see the unexpected daily habits that lead to bloating.
1. Sipping on fizzy drinks
Your grandmother might have told you to glug down ginger and sparkling water to settle an upset stomach after a meal. One problem: “Carbonated drinks literally pour gas into your gut,” Dr. Lipman writes. “And that gas will need an exit route, usually in the form of a burp or a fart or, put more politely, flatulence.” If you’re dealing with excess gas, skip the ginger soda and the LaCroix and you’ll minimize the bloating.
2. Using artificial sweeteners
Not only are artificial sweeteners linked to lower fertility rates and weight gain, but according to Dr. Lipman, “sweet substitutes like sorbitol and xylitol are adept at triggering gas, cramps, and even diarrhea.” (Yikes!) It’s best to avoid added sugar of any kind as much as you can, but Dr. Lipman gets that’s not always the tastiest way to approach life. He adds, “If you must sweeten, switch to whole-food sources like honey or blackstrap molasses.”
3. Chewing gum
Keeping a pack of minty stuff in your bag is great for when you have a one-on-one scheduled with your boss right after lunch, but smacking on a piece of gum might actually make you feel bloated during your meeting. Chewing gum means you swallow extra air, which leads to more gas, according to Dr. Lipman, and most gum is made with artificial sweeteners, which contribute to the problem. Swap out your spearmint Trident with a toothbrush, and your problems are solved.