Healthy Living

Bloating On A High-Fiber Diet? Here’s What’s Causing It

If you’re anyone who’s anyone, then you’ve probably experienced bloating at some point in your life. It’s uncomfortable, embarrassing and oftentimes painful. Sometimes, it can be caused by too much protein in your diet. Because of this, it makes sense to avoid protein-rich food, which unfortunately means letting go of important fiber as well.

Thankfully, a new research has managed to find a way to keep you on that high-fiber diet, all without increasing your risk of bloating.

Too Much Protein

Published in Clinical and Translational Gastroentology, a study found that people who experience bloating are those that eat more protein than carbohydrates in a high-fiber diet.

Per the research, which was conducted by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, participants (there were 164) who ate a protein-rich diet are 40 percent more likely to report bloating symptoms than those who ate carbohydrates but otherwise followed the same high-fiber, heart-healthy diet.

Is bloating inevitable in a high-fiber diet?

It depends on what you’ re eating since the research has shown that a protein-rich, high-fiber diet can increase bloating more, suggesting that macronutrients like carbs and proteins can either increase or decrease the effects of bloating.

As such, swapping proteins with high-quality carbs like quinoa, apples, bananas, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, macadamia, vegetables or whole grain oats is recommended, and healthier.

However, that’s not to say that less protein is healthier. This is because the protein observed in the research is mostly plant-based, coming from nuts, beans and legumes. This suggests that bloating is caused by a healthier shift in our microbiome, as per Noel Mueller, study senior co-author.

"If somebody is able to put up with the bloating caused by a high-protein, high-fiber diet, they may ultimately benefit more in other health measures," Mueller said. This means that making the diet more comfortable for us might mean that we’re actually making it less healthier.

However, if you still want to reap the health benefits of plant protein without bloating, the researchers suggested lowering your overall sodium intake because it can affect your microbiome.

pms-bloating Malin Olofsson shares a photo of her bloated stomach and tells women not to be ashamed of what their periods do to their bodies. Credit: Instagram @malinxolofsson