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How to get rid of a bloated belly once and for all by Cláudia Cunha

The causes of a bloated belly are often linked to diet. A low FODMAP diet could be the definitive solution to the problem.

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Swollen belly

Complaints regarding a swollen belly are very common, especially in women. They are usually related to abdominal swelling, cramps and changes in intestinal transit, such as constipation and diarrhea. But how to get rid of a bloated belly and permanently eliminate all these unpleasant symptoms? Exercise and nutrition may be the answer.

To reduce a bloated belly, reduce your FODMAP intake

A swollen belly is a very common symptom in those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome , a condition that has no cure. In this case, the only strategy we have to deal with the symptoms is through diet .

King's College London and Monash University brought together a team of researchers to assess this situation. The objective was to discover which foods should be consumed and/or avoided to get rid of a bloated belly . The findings revealed that a low FODMAP diet could be the solution.

What is FODMAP?

The word FODMAP corresponds to the initials of Fermentables, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. Basically, we are talking about different carbohydrates , with variable sugar chains.

These compounds reach the intestine because they were unable to be degraded during the digestion process. When they reach the colon , intestinal bacteria use them as an energy source. Excessive gas production during this process leads to the appearance of symptoms associated with abdominal bloating.

One of the best-known FODMAPs is lactose, which is a disaccharide. This name derives from the fact that it is made up of two sugar molecules: glucose and galactose. What happens in lactose intolerance is that, during digestion, the body is unable to break down the two molecules. Thus, it reaches the intestinal bacteria in one piece and undergoes the fermentation process there, causing the symptoms described above.

Another very common situation is intolerance to polyols , which are sugar-based alcohols. These compounds are present in “sugar-free” gum and avocado , for example.

What does a low FODMAP diet consist of?

The low FODMAP diet takes place in three phases:

  • Phase 1 corresponds to an elimination phase , in which foods rich in FODMAP are removed;
  • Later, in phase 2 , a controlled reintroduction of these foods is carried out. This is done so that we can understand which causes the appearance of a swollen belly;
  • Finally, in phase 3 , we already know what our diet should be like. We have reached the so-called stabilization phase .

FODMAPs are present in several foods, such as some types of fruit, vegetables and cereals . In my book “ Free Transit” , I organized the prohibited and permitted foods for a low FODMAP diet in a table.

Wheat, rye, sweet potato, pumpkin, onion, garlic, cauliflower, mushrooms, apple, pear, milk, yogurt, pistachios, cashews and honey are, for example, some of the foods that should no longer be consumed in first phase.

In short, with a low FODMAP diet, it is possible to get rid of a bloated belly for good. This is due to the fact that we identify the foods that cause unpleasant symptoms in our body. From there, all you have to do is reformulate the way we eat.


Claudia Cunha Claudia Cunha

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