When you're trying to get rid of gas and bloating, most of us know the fart-inducing foods to avoid (beans and broccoli, we're looking at you). But some of your favorite drinks may be causing an influx of intestinal issues, too.
That's right, what you sip can stir up a storm of stomach discomfort.
Gut health expert Amanda Sauceda, RDN, CLT, shares which six belly busting beverages you should pass up to avoid unpleasant stomach symptoms.
“If you find that a drink makes you feel bloated, this doesn’t mean you have to always avoid it — usually drinking smaller amounts will help manage the gassiness or bloating,” Sauceda says.
"No matter what type of soda you drink, the tiny bubbles of carbonation can make you gassy," Sauceda says. And diet sodas are double trouble for your tummy since they contain non-gut-friendly artificial sweeteners.
Sugar alcohols, which you find in artificial sweeteners, pull water into the gut, making you feel gassy and bloated, says Sauceda, who adds that sugar alcohols can also have a laxative effect.
Swell up like a balloon every time you sip on seltzer? Once again, the fun, fizzy bubbles may be to blame for your bloating.
The same goes for spiked seltzer, which can cause even more stress on your stomach. In addition to the bloat-inducing bubbles, alcohol can trigger inflammation in your gut, which can lead to bloating or gas, Sauceda says.
What's more, booze can alter the composition and function of intestinal microbiota, per a study published in 2017 in Alcohol Research: Current Reviews. This is especially problematic since the bacteria in your belly play an important role in your overall gut health.
Adding insult to injury, Sauceda says that some people are sensitive to the ingredients in alcohol (for example, the corn in vodka), which can further create a tumultuous situation for your tummy.
Milk does a body good, but for some, it can wreak gastrointestinal havoc. Dairy products produce gas and bloating in people with lactose intolerance, Sauceda says. That's because these people can't properly digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and other dairy foods.
In fact, a whopping 65 percent of the human population is estimated to be lactose intolerant, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
And even if milk never messed up your stomach before, you might notice a change as you get older since we can lose our ability to digest lactose with age, Sauceda says.
4. Protein Shakes
If protein shakes turn your tummy into a pufferfish, you might be reacting to the whey, a common ingredient in protein powder that's a byproduct of milk, Sauceda says. So, if you're lactose intolerant, pick plant-based, dairy-free protein products instead.
Another culprit of gas cramps and bloat could be the sugar substitutes in your shake. Indeed, sugar alcohols — which are often used to sweeten protein powders — may lead to diarrhea, excessive gas and bloating, according to an October 2016 review in the Journal of International Dentistry.
Does your morning cup of brew bother your bowels? While coffee isn't a gastrointestinal irritant for everyone, "some people are sensitive to caffeine, and, as a result, they might notice some digestive issues like gas or even running to the bathroom (aka coffee poops)," Sauceda says.
Turns out, your degree of caffeine sensitivity is linked to your genetic make-up, according to a June 2018 report in the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee. So, if your cup of joe bloats your belly, you can blame your DNA.
6. Drinking With a Straw
A straw can transform a seemingly bloat-benign beverage into a gas maker. "When you suck from a straw, you are taking in some air, which can settle in your gut, making you feel gassy or bloated," Sauceda says.
And sucking down your drink too fast — and gulping in more air — will make your belly swell even more, she adds.
The takeaway: Sack the straw and sip slowly to reduce gas and bloating.
- Alcohol Research: Current Reviews: “Alcohol and Gut-Derived Inflammation.”
- Coffee & Health: "Genetics, Metabolism and Individual Responses to Caffeine."
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Lactose intolerance.”
- International Journal of Dentistry: "Gastrointestinal Disturbances Associated with the Consumption of Sugar Alcohols with Special Consideration of Xylitol: Scientific Review and Instructions for Dentists and Other Health-Care Professionals."