When made with fresh fruits and vegetables in controlled amounts, smoothies are a healthy addition to your diet. But, if you drink too many or you're not used to eating so many fruits and vegetables at one time, smoothies may cause abdominal discomfort and bloating. If you're not certain that smoothies are the cause of your bloating, contact your doctor.
Too Much Fiber
Getting more fiber in your diet offers a number of health benefits, from helping you manage your weight to improving blood cholesterol. Smoothies can certainly help you up your intake of this health-promoting nutrient. If you get too much fiber too quickly, however, it may cause gas and bloating. To tame the discomfort, go slow. Limit yourself to one smoothie a day with one to two servings of fruit per smoothie, where one serving is equal to a small banana or 1 1/4 cups of whole strawberries.
Gassy Fruits and Vegetables
If you're a regular smoothie drinker, and you're still feeling bloated after you drink one, you might want to reconsider your fruit and vegetable choices. Some fruits and vegetables are harder to digest than others and cause more gas and bloating. Common culprits include cabbage, apples, blackberries, papaya, mango, peaches and pears. If you're adding nuts or cashews to your smoothie for protein, they too can cause problems.
Too Much Smoothie
Smoothies may also lead to bloating if you drink too much, in the short and long term. To pack all those fruits and vegetables in your smoothie, you may be drinking a large volume at one time, which can cause your belly to grow temporarily. If you're not mindful of the calories in your smoothie, however, that bloated belly may stick around. Calories in a smoothie can be has high as 800, according to Weightlossresources.co.uk. Drinking an extra 800 calories a day without making any other changes to your diet can lead to a 1 1/2-pound weekly weight gain.
Other Possible Causes
What you're using as the liquid base in your smoothie -- specifically cow's milk or soy milk -- may also cause abdominal discomfort. Some people lack the enzyme needed to digest the lactose in cow's milk, which can cause bloating. Soy milk contains fermentable oligo-di-monosaccharides and polyols, or FODMAPs, which are sugars that some people have a difficult time digesting and can lead to excessive gas production and bloating. If you think it's the milk, try lactose-free cow's milk, or base your smoothies on fresh-brewed green tea or coconut water.
- MedlinePlus: Abdominal Bloating
- Cleveland Clinic: Improving Your Health With Fiber
- University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture: The Exchange List System for Diabetic Meal Planning
- Stanford Hospital and Clinics: The Low FODMAP Diet
- Weightlossresources.co.uk: How Many Calories Are in Your Weight Loss Smoothie?
- FamilyDoctor.org: What It Takes to Lose Weight