Given its something I deal with myself, and seems to be a common problem among a lot of women I decided to discuss the topic of bloating. I eat what would be considered a “clean diet” and still have dealt with this extensively in the past. It can be extremely frustrating when dieting and one day you’re tight and lean with a 6 pack and another day you look 6 months pregnant, full keg. It can be stressful as well if you don’t know he source of bloat, cause what if your body decides to hate you on a big day like a shoot or a show. I’m a big advocate of knowing what works for you, some people have iron stomachs and others have the temperament of a teenage girl. So what to do? Well first let me define what I consider bloat, so we’re all on the same page. I’m referring to a distended, sometimes even painful, abdomen, or even waking up flat and slowing becoming distended over the day. I’ll start with everyones most loved and hated food. Carbs. Sweet, deliciously carbs. As previously discussed some people are very carb sensitive. With regard to this type of bloating, the common cycle goes that you feel fine up until you eat a carb meal, and then the bloating starts up soon after. In my previous experience I became very carb sensitive after removing them almost entirely from my diet in an effort to lose weight. Then once I reintroduced them into my diet, even a quarter cup of rice or quinoa resulted in full, distended belly, pain and gas. Within an hour of eating my stomach distends to the point where I barely fit my pants, and it remains this way for the rest of the day and didn’t go away till the next day. I’ve actually managed to eliminate that problem my slowly reintroduce carbs and cycling, however it definitely took all the fun out getting to eat carb foods, even “clean” ones. I’ve figured out which ones work for me, but for most people the culprits tend to be sugar alcohols, dietary fibers, or so-called resistant starches (like those found in beans). On that note, like the sequel to carbs, there’s sugar. It’s offspring. Sugary foods can cause excessive bloating. The reason for bloating is bacteria in the intestines (and not colon) digest the sugar and produces gas. This is also common for diets super high in slow digesting fibre, which results in a buildup of bacterial gas in the colon itself as they sit your system for a extended period of time. And moving forward with this line of thought, next is the uncomfortable topic of constipation. If you’ve noticed that your stomach bloats and as the day progresses you get a ‘tight’ belly with abdominal pain this may be the issue. The gas formed as a by-product of digestion gets trapped behind the lowly moving byproduct. This continues to building up over the day, and you feel the bloating. Luckily the fix for is scenario is much easier than removing carbs (le sigh). Change your diet by slowly increasing more of insoluble fibres such as veggies and nuts. Drink lots lots and lots of water (and pee all the time :s). Lastly I’d like to talk about something near and dear to my dieting heart. Aspartame, specially in diet drinks and gum. I have a huge sweet tooth, as you certainly know, and I occasionally “treat” myself to diet pop and loooooooove dessert gum. However, I noticed when I’m cutting, my gum habit increases, resulting in bloat. Aspartame, like over artificial sweeteners, lingers in the stomach because it cannot be digested, and after enough build-up they act as a platform for the fermentation of bacteria, leading to production of gas. And just to make it a double whammy, gum can make you swallow air, which then gets trapped in your belly, causing pressure, bloating, gas. So as if constantly shewing gum wasn’t unladylike enough, you both look and feel like a cow. So there you are ladies, again, I’m not a anti carb advocate, just know your body and know what works!!