Why Do Certain Yogurts Cause Bloating?

close-up of a strawberry yoghurt and spoon
Strawberry yogurt with spoon. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Feeling bloated can be uncomfortable, especially if accompanied with cramps, diarrhea or constipation. A high salt intake is often blamed as the cause of bloating but many ingredients found in the foods you eat on a daily basis, including yogurt, can cause your abdomen to be distended after a meal. Keeping a food diary can help you identify personal patterns between what you eat and your bloating symptoms.

Guar Gum and Thickener

Most store-bought yogurts contain various thickeners, such as guar gum. Some people do not tolerate these thickeners very well and can experience bloating as a result. Read food labels to see whether the yogurts you usually buy contain guar gum or other thickeners. Try a thickener-free yogurt to see if it reduces bloating after eating it.

Lactose

Yogurt contains less lactose compared to milk, but it can be enough to trigger lactose intolerance symptoms in people that are severely intolerant. You can get tested for lactose intolerant or try drinking milk to see if you get the same bloating and other gastrointestinal problems you get when you eat yogurt. If you are lactose intolerant, prepare your own yogurt at home and let it ferment for 24 hours. Longer fermentation periods will allow the live bacteria in the yogurt to completely eat all of the lactose found in the yogurt so you can tolerate it well without experiencing any bloating.

Sweetener

Some sweeteners can be responsible for your bloating. Many people unknowingly have fructose malabsorption, a condition that prevents them to fully absorb fructose, causing bloating, abdominal pain and changes in your stools. High-fructose corn syrup, honey and agave syrup can cause fructose malabsorption symptoms if you don't tolerate fructose well. Read food labels and avoid yogurts containing these sweeteners. Yogurts sweetened with regular table sugar, glucose, dextrose and maple syrup are better tolerated if fructose malabsorption is the cause of your bloating.

Fruits

Yogurts containing fruits with a high fructose content can also trigger bloating and digestive problems if you have troubles handling fructose properly. Apples, mangoes, pears, cherries and watermelon contains high amounts of fructose. If the yogurts that cause you to feel bloated contain these fruits, try other types of yogurt containing fruits with a lower fructose content, such as berries, banana, cantaloupe, peaches or figs.

Probiotics

Some people may feel bloated when starting taking probiotics or foods containing large quantities of probiotics, such as yogurt. If you have a gut dysbiosis, or an imbalance in your gut flora, the gut-friendly bacteria found in probiotics may cause some bloating initially. Introduce yogurts rich in probiotics more slowly. Start with a couple of tablespoons and slowly work your way up to allow your gut flora to adjust more slowly and prevent bloating.

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