Getting Rid Of Stomach Bloat

Bloated Stomach On BodybuilderWhat causes stomach bloat and how do you get rid of it?  The first thing to remember about bloating is that when it comes to the size of our stomachs, we are often our own worse critic.  Just because you *feel* bloated doesn’t mean that anyone would be able to notice with a before and after photo sequence.

There are five causes of stomach bloat: gas, water retention, fiber, excess food, and medical problems.  Lets start with the last first, eating too much.  Gluttony causes bloat as many who have stuffed themselves at a holiday meal can attest to. They need to literally loosen their belt to be comfortable.   Eating too much distends you stomach, you are a proverbial python who has just swallowed a pig whole but it doesn’t take this magnitude of excess to cause bloating.  For some people, simply a normal sized meal causes bloating.  The suggestion?  Instead of eating three larger meals, divide that same amount of food into five or six meals.

On a similar subject, lets cover fiber.  Getting lots of fiber is vital for weight loss, fat loss, and also for disease prevention but it does have a few negative side effects.  The first temporary negative side effect is when you start adding fiber to your diet to get up to the recommended amounts, you need to do it gradually to allow your digestive system time to adapt otherwise you will get a lot of gas and bloating as your stomach tries to figure out what to do with all this new fiber that it has never seen before.  Another negative side effect of fiber is that foods with high fiber also have a lot of bulk and that bulk fills your stomach – again the python swallowing the pig effect.  For example, if you want 800 calories you can either eat one stick of butter (yick) or you can eat eight pounds of spinach!  This illustrates why fiber is good for weight loss and why it causes bloating!  Again, the solution is the same, eat more frequent, smaller meals!

Now lets talk about water retention.  When many people report feeling bloated, its often salt thats the problem.  Eating a bag of chips makes you really, really thirsty so you drink an entire two liter bottle of coke.  Two problems here other than the obvious dietary choices you are making :)  The first problem is that the proverbial python swallowing the pig problem.  That bag of chips doesn’t take up much room in your stomach but that two liters of coke sure does.  The second problem is that the salt causes you to retain the water, a lot of water.  Not all the water gets retained in the belly but since thats where most of the fat is, thats where a lot of water gets stored.  The solution, consume less salt!

Gas  is traditionally the biggest cause of bloat.  Having your abdomen stuffed with gas like an overfilled balloon certainly makes you bloated and there are two causes of this gas.  First is from swallowing it.  Sounds stupid but some people gulp air, especially when eating too fast and this swallowed air ends up almost immediately as bloat.  The second cause of gas is as a byproduct of digestion.  Some people have stomachs that seem to be able to digest anything but most of us are negatively affected by certain foods.  Almost everyone has certain foods that their stomach just cant handle which will result in gas production, lets list them here

  • Dairy.  This is the biggest one!  Many people are lactose intolerant and many of them don’t realize it.  It has varying degrees but for some, even a slight amount of dairy is enough to tie their stomach in big puffy knots.  If you frequently have bloating, try eliminating anything with dairy in it for a few days.
  • Vegetables: onions, celery, carrots, brussels sprouts, cucumber, cabbage, radishes, and leafy greens.  These vegetables have a double whammy.  Not only do many peoples digestion not handle them well but they have lots of fiber as well.  As discussed above, the fiber causes an additional bloating compounded by the gas produced.
  • Legumes (beans, peas, etc). Most people pin all the blame for gas on beans unfairly in my opinion which is why I have put it down at the #3 spot on my gas list.  Often your system gets used to beans after eating them for a few months and the gas producing effects go away.  Of course, there are some people though who just cant handle beans.
  • Fruit: Believe it or not, fruit causes gas in some people.  Bananas, apricots and prunes being the worse.
  • Spicy food
  • Fried, fatty foods

The last possible cause of bloat is from medical problems, some of which are serious.  It can be from irritable bowel syndrome, GERD, or blockage in the intestines.   If you have cut out all the gas producing foods, you eat slowly without gulping air, and eat small meals and you still have bloating then its definitely worth seeing a doctor to see if you have a more serious problem.

29 thoughts on “Getting Rid Of Stomach Bloat”

  1. All my life (I am now 83years) I have had trouble getting a flat stomach– now it is the size of a socker ball– I am not a fat person my waight is right for my hight- except for the extra stomach. I have always been aware of what is the right things to eat & tried to always do so. Have always been a well built person -was Miss Manly once in a beach girl compertision-Have tried EVERYTHING but still cannot find the answer. The weight of the stomach is now making me walk with a bend in my back. What to do.???

  2. I have been following your words of wisdom daily for the past few months. My body has massively transformed. When i wake up, i have a six pack poking through. After i drink water, protein shake and a piece of fruit i look like i have a beer belly all day. Thanks for this article. I will try making some adjustments. It would be cool if i did a video of me now and make diet adjustments to see if the bloat goes away

  3. “There are five causes of stomach bloat: gas, water retention, fiber, excess food, and medical problems. Lets start with the last first, eating too much.”
    The last was medical problems, not gluttony.
    Thanks for the post,Scooby. You do make this bodybuilding think less complicated for me.

  4. Scooby,

    Thanks again for your great information. I’ve learned more from you about nutrition and body building than from all the other sources I’ve read or seen combined. You are providing a very useful service!

    Rick Hogan

    P.S. My wife wants to know if you are married and, if you are, if your wife is a fitness nut to the same degree as you are. (The fact is that my wife is very jealous of you. She prides herself on being the world’s best Mediterreanean diet cook in the world; she’s Spanish.) Every time I begin a sentence with “Scooby says . . . ” she gets pissed.

    Seriously, why not do a video on potential family conflicts over fitness lifestyles?

    1. Just to be fair, Scooby is very against that much weightloss in the span of a month. If you’ve seen any of his videos, he constantly reminds people to aim for 1 pound per week — any more than that and you are likely burning off muscle in addition to fat

      1. I’ve seen most of his videos actually, and also follow Will Brink. The first month of fat loss is many times much quicker than the rest, a lot is water weight from salty foods and so on, in my case that was from 20% to around 15% bf (I was 200, then 190 lbs), after which I continued until I reached around 13% from which I started adding muscle and keeping a diet so I would slowly gain lean muscle weight. It’s easier to lose the last 3-5% percentages of BF when you have tons of muscle to burn it down. I lost weight while on heavy resistance training, high protein/omega-3 diet, and during the same period of time I got my bench press from 70 lbs to 135lbs, 0 to 135 for squats (which scooby recommends against for most, but I did get powerlifter training during that time which is another detail). Also, the higher your initial bodyfat percentage, the bigger your ratio of fat/muscle loss. Given that my measurements for arms, thighs, calves, as well as my strength increased, I have no doubt I might have actually put on muscle at the same time.

  5. Scooby, I have a big problem with stomach bloating. I have tried all of your recommendations but nothing helps. I’m eating six to seven small well balanced meals. I’m not eating very often beans and lentils. I’ve tried to cut all the dairy products and it doesn’t help much. I’ve tried to cut the eggs, other time the ON whey, I’ve cut the beans, fruits, salt, I’ve tried to cut different things at a time, but it doesn’t help much. Sometimes I don’t have GAS or bloating for days, or even weeks, but sometimes is just awful, disaster. And my stomach isn’t able to get use to the fiber or something else, but I don’t know what. It’s really very uncomfortable going on work or at the university, or even at home when I’m bloating…

    1. Just a thought; Celiac Disease is an intolerance for ingesting gluten, the proteins found in wheat and some other grains. A bloated abdomen is just one of the common symptoms. All those “healthy whole grains” are not really all too healthy…

      1. I read about Celiac Disease and you are right about one of the symptoms. I don’t have the other symptoms but I’ll have it in my mind. I was to see a doctor yesterday and she didn’t say anything about Celiac Disease. She diagnosed me with internal haemorrgoids but what about bloating and gas… Now I’m taking some medicine for two weeks to see what would happen. Thank you anyway! :)

        1. If you’re eating grains you may want to seriously rethink that. NikolayKolev, many doctors are unaware of how prevalent Celiac Disease really is . See, “Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health” by William R. Davis.
          BTW, What are some of the side effects of the “medicine” you’ll be taking?
          Remember, doctors make money by pushing their drugs …

          1. You got me, I’m eating lots of grains. I didn’t find to download the book you recommend but I’ll buy it when I come back in the USA.
            You’re definitely right that doctors make money by pushing their drugs. When I ask them to explain me something they didn’t and they only insist to buy the medicine…
            Side effects of the medicine are rarely allergy, dermatological reaction and hmmm… here I see nausea, vomiting, constipation, STOMACH BLOATING, GAS, diarrhoea, pain in the stomach (These conditions are due to your personal illness.)

  6. Scooby , thanks as always,even though I don’t always agree with some of your comments, then again you’ve got a better body than me…
    Also, natural fiber in moderation is perfectly fine but too much is bad. See, “Fiber Menace: The Truth About the Leading Role of Fiber in Diet Failure, Constipation, Hemorrhoids, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, and Colon Cancer” by Konstantin Monastyrsky

  7. Thanks and great info – especially relevant to me as I’m working more beans into my diet – I just ate about 2/3 of a can of black beans with chicken for lunch yesterday and I really felt it immediately after my workout yesterday evening (luckily not during).
    In retrospect, that was much too large of a meal for me at one sitting and I’ll be better about splitting my meals up.

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