Updated: Nov 4, 2020
Is it all body fat around the middle, or am I bloated?
Food intolerance is an issue for the majority of people today, and often most people can’t quite put their finger on what is causing the issue. Many people are unhappy with their body, in particular their stomach, thinking they need to lose weight. Although this may be partly true, often people are actually chronically bloated all the time, and also suffer from water retention.
Have you ever walked past the mirror one day, and found yourself to be looking leaner than normal, then found later that day, or a day or two later your back to looking like you have more body fat than you’d like? The chances are you simply didn’t consume a particular food you often consume. One of 14 common allergens are eggs for example. Let’s say you have eggs for breakfast, however you run out mid week before your weekend shop, so you go without eggs for a few days. If you had an intolerance to eggs, either the white, yolk or both, then those few days without could ease off the bloating appearance until you consume them again, making you look and feel slimmer.
14 Common Allergens
Cereals containing gluten, in particular: wheat, rye, barley, oats
Crustaceans, for example prawns, crab, lobster, crayfish
Milk (including lactose)
Nuts, in particular almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio nuts, macadamia (or Queensland) nuts
Celery (including celeriac)
Sulphur dioxide/sulphites, where added and at a level above 10mg/kg or 10mg/L in the finished product. This can be sued as a preservative in fried fruit
Lupin, which includes lupin seeds and flour and can be found in types of bread, pastries and pasta
Molluscs, like mussels, whelks, oysters, snails and squid
By no means should you feel you have to avoid all these 14 allergens. Your body may be able to digest and process most, if not all of these. However more commonly than not, your body may be reacting negatively to one or more of these allergens. My advice will be to cut them ALL out for between 1-3 months. Most people will usually notice a change within a couple of days, which could be less bloating, more energy, clearer healthier skin, better sleep, improved digestion, improved mood, etc.
After you have cut them out for at least a month (ideally up to 3 months), only reintroduce them one at a time (one per week) so you can identify if that particular allergen may have been the issue/cause. Many people experience issues, such as bloating in as little as 1-2 hours after consuming a food they are intolerant too, with some people having effects almost immediately.
Often a food intolerance is the result of frequency of use, where you simple consume a certain food or drink too often. For example an intolerance to blueberries and someone who drinks Ribena several times throughout the day. Or someone with an intolerance to Wheat, who consumes toast for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, and buttered bread with their evening meal, with the bread containing gluten been consumed far too often. And that’s not included other products that also contain wheat (there are many!). The body can often produce enough of the enzymes needed to breakdown the food once or twice a day, but enough more often than this.
Other times a food intolerance may cause bloating/gas could be sudden stress in life, either physically or mentally. This can be a loss of a loved one or an accident/injury. Another common cause is by starting on certain medications. The most common culprit is by taking a course of antibiotics, which also start killing off the good bacteria in your gut, disrupting the good vs bad bacteria balance, causing gastric upset and bloating. Or you may be experiencing a stress from a change in life, such as a new school, hitting puberty, change of jobs, or a noticeable overall increase in your day by day stress, such as work overload.
Some of the more common causes of bloating/gas include:
Digestive Disorder, which could include Leaky Gut Syndrome, Crohn’s, IBS, Celiac, Ulcerative Colitis or a number of other digestive disorders. You should avoid foods that are intolerances to your body as they will be aggravating the gut and causing inflammation of the gut lining.
Fluid Retention, often consumed by too much salt (sodium), either added to our food, or already added to our foods, particularly with processed and packaged foods. A lack of other nutrients such as potassium also result in us retaining water, giving us that spongy look, which can make us look like we have more body fat than we actually do.
Dehydration is another main cause of bloating, as every single cell in our body needs water to function correctly. It’s also important for maintaining blood volume so our body can transport nutrients, oxygen and also waste products where they need to go in the body. Stage competition bodybuilders will often drink lot’s of water constantly to help their body ‘let go’ of retained water, so they appear leaner and more firm. The same goes for boxers wanting to get their weight down before they get weighed for a fight so they end up in the correct fighting weight category. If your body doesn’t have a regular intake of water, your body will try to retain and hold on to what little water it gets. If you consume energy drinks and other drinks containing caffeine, these will act as a diuretic and cause you to lose more water than you take in, alcohol been another classic example.
Constipation is another major cause of bloating/gas as food can be slow moving through the digestive system. Often this can be caused by a lack of dietary fibre and dehydration, or poor food choices. An electrolyte imbalance can sometimes contribute to constipation too. When food sits around in the gut too long, it ferments, producing gases such as methane and hydrogen to name a couple. This is contributed to the fact that many of us eat far too quickly and don’t chew our food properly before swallowing. You should always chew your food until it resembles a ‘soup like’ consistency before swallowing. This also reduces the swallowing of air, which is another major factor leading to bloating (especially so when drinking carbonated/fizzy drinks).
Food Intolerances & Sensitivities are something I have spoke about already, further up the page. Everyone is likely to have some sort of food intolerance or sensitivity. You can probably think of at least one food now that you know your body doesn’t agree with in some way. Some intolerances can be long term which you’ve always had, or may have to put up with for several months, where as others can be short term, where you may simply have been consuming too much of a certain food or liquid too often, and need to have a break for a month or two. Sometimes it may be a combination of several foods your sensitive too, that have been consumed together to regularly causing a reaction, where individually they may not be as bad on your body. This can be similar to stress, where each individual stress in life can be managed, but when they all come at you at once, it can b