10 surprising ‘healthy foods’ that could be causing bloating!

Could your healthy diet be causing your waistline to expand?

9.8 (7 reviews) Rate this page

Emma Thornton
Qualified Nutritionist (BSc, MSc, ANutr)
Ask Emma

07 July 2017

1. Apples

Apples are well known for their low calorie status and are often a popular choice amongst dieters. However, it’s possible that you could be sabotaging your washboard tum with that apple a day. Apples are rich in fructose which falls into the category of FODMAPs. FODMAPs are specific types of indigestible carbohydrates which are instead broken down by bacteria in the large intestine. As bacteria metabolises these compounds they release gas. Although this is all quite normal, some people just don’t respond so well to this process, this could be as a result of an intolerance to FODMAPs, an imbalance of bacteria in the gut, or as a result of another condition at play, such as IBS. Regardless of exactly why, some people need to give FODMAPs a wide berth as they find they are left feeling rather bloated and gassy! This is definitely something to keep in mind if bloating is a common occurrence – paying attention to your symptoms after certain foods is key.


Simple Swap:

If apples aren’t working for you why not try having a handful of berries as a healthy snack instead. Strawberries and Raspberries are low in FODMAPs but super nutritious! Also, if you find you are little gassy or uncomfortable after certain foods why not try out Digestisan – it’s a bitter herbs remedy licensed for the relief of indigestion and flatulence.


2. Beans and pluses

Beans and pulses are super healthy, rich in fibre and minerals such as iron. However, these little guys are rich in another type of carbohydrate called galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), which again falls into the FODMAP group.


Simple Swap:

Opt for tinned varieties of pulses instead to help avoid bloating– some of the GOS content is thought to leak out into the surrounding liquid which you the drain down the sink! Happier tum time.


3. Broccoli

Broccoli is a popular vegetable amongst gym goers as it is rich in beneficial compounds including sulforaphane. However, broccoli also contains fructans, another type of oligosaccharide which doesn’t get broken down until they reach the large intestine. As a result, gas is produced – however for calciferous vegetables a specific type of gas called hydrogen sulphide is produced which is a particularly pongy variety – double whammy!


Simple Swap:

Why not try other green vegetables for a change, after all variety is key to good health, courgettes are extremely versatile and can be made into a tasty side dish.


4. Grapefruit

Grapefruit is often hailed a ‘superfood’ with questionable claims of its ability to reduce fat. But could it be having some undesirable effects instead? Quite possibly! And why? You’ve guessed it, it contains a type of FODMAP – those pesky oligosaccharides. They aren’t in mega high amounts so you could get away with a small portion – but perhaps avoid the grapefruit diet if you think you are particularly sensitive.


Simple Swap:

Why not replace a wedge or two of grapefruit with orange instead. Oranges are lower in FODMAPs and should leave your digestive system feeling a bit happier.


5. Onions

Onions are the base of many healthy recipes, they add a nice flavour to dishes and are nutritious. However, onions contain a compound called fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) which are often regarded as beneficial as they act as prebiotics. Prebiotics basically support the bacteria in our gut by acting as a source of food. However, as we know, as bacteria feed they produce gas, which we suspect is further complicated if you have an imbalance of bacteria in your gut – the bad guys tend to produce even more!


Simple Swap:

Why not experiment with some different FODMAP-free veggies as the base of some of your dishes in the kitchen, for example, beansprouts or some grated carrot.


6. Dried fruit

Dried fruit packs are all the rage in health food stores and people assume these little dears are the perfect snack. Although, they can be a nutritious option and a nice addition to a healthy balanced diet, they are particularly high in the so-called ‘fruit sugar’ fructose. Some people are thought to suffer from fructose malabsorption and flare ups in symptoms can occur as a result of this.


Simple Swap:

Opt for fresh fruit options instead which have less fructose in, such as a handful of berries or a banana.


7. Melon

Summer days and juicy melon slices often go hand in hand. However, melon, including watermelon, may not be your go to in future when you consider the fructose content – much like dried fruit, it’s pretty high.


Simple Swap:

Go for other refreshing summery options instead, such as kiwi fruit or juicy pineapple chunks.


8. Fruit Juice

It’s been drilled into us that fruit and fruit juices are super healthy, but the concentrated juices, in particular, can be problematic – again they are super high in fructose. Some people may be able to tolerate larger amounts of fructose, but for others, it isn’t well absorbed and can cause havoc in your gut.


Simple Swap:

Swap sickly sweet fruit juices for some hot water with lemon in. Lemon slices are well tolerated by most, have a lovely refreshing taste and are packed full of vitamin C.


9. Cashews

Although nuts are great additions to any diet being a great source of protein and healthy fats, it might just be worth watching how you respond to certain types. Cashews, and a couple of others including pistachios, have a higher percentage of carbohydrate and can, in some cases, be problematic.


Simple Swap:

Why not try some seeds instead of your normal handful of nuts. Pumpkin or sunflower seeds are super nutritious and are low in FODMAPs.


10. ‘Diet’ drinks

People so often assume that as diet drinks are low calorie they are fine as part of your healthy eating regime – but sadly this just isn’t the case. Firstly, they contain gas to start with which can easily become trapped causing flatulence, next artificial sweeteners are high in a compound called polyols which aren’t broken down and absorbed before they reach the large intestine – and we know what this means – gas! Finally, in the long-term artificial sweeteners are thought to potentially upset blood sugar balance and insulin responses which can actually lead to weight gain... phew, doesn’t really seem worth it now does it?


Simple Swap:

It’s got to be good old H2O. Water is so underrated, for all bodily functions really, but weight loss too. It helps get your bowels moving, helps clear toxins out your body, and keeps everything ticking over. If you’re dehydrated you’re more likely to suffer from water retention as your body desperately tries to cling on to every last drop. So drink 1.5l of plain, still water daily in order to feel at your leanest.

Digestisan - Oral drops for indigestion


£ 4.50

To relieve indigestion and flatulence. Also available in 50ml size. Fresh herb tincture.
More info

What's being asked

I have a really bloated stomach. What can I do to ease it?

How you treat bloating often depends on the cause of the problem, however in general, there are ...
Read more >

What causes bloating?

There are a variety of factors that may be involved. Eating too quickly and neglecting to chew ...
Read more >

What are the best foods to eat to avoid bloating?

Chew each mouthful very thoroughly – try to give each mouthful at least 20 chews. This may feel ...
Read more >

How good is your digestion?

Check the health of your digestive system using our simple test.

Check now

Here’s what I recommend

As the A.Vogel Digestion advisor, I recommend Digestisan with extracts of Artichoke and Peppermint, to help support your digestion.

Learn more

Did you know?

An apple a day cannot keep bloating at bay. This popular fruit can play havoc on sensitive tummies due to their fibre and fructose content!

Other common foods that cause bloating

Healthy & nutritious dinner ideas

Get new recipes in your inbox every week. Sign up now