By Dana Vogel, REDBOOK
What you eat can have a huge impact on your waistline, and not just because of the calories. Learn which foods and drinks make your belly pooch worse.
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Alcohol often gets blamed for causing bloating and puffiness, but what you're putting in your alcohol could be the real problem. Avoid bubbly mixers like sodas and seltzers to prevent the air from getting trapped in your stomach. And-as strange as it might sound, says Keri Gans, registered dietitian and author of The Small Change Diet-talking while drinking and drinking through a straw can also cause you to swallow excess air.
2. Frozen Meals
Gans says she regularly sees women in her practice eating frozen meals, often targeted at dieters, for lunch at the office and for dinner at home. While some frozen meals are low-calorie, many also contain upwards of 500 mg of sodium-almost 25 percent of your daily recommended value-causing water retention and bloating.
Chewing a stick of gum might keep you from indulging in other calorie-laden treats, but you may also be swallowing air while you chew. This air gets trapped in your GI system causing stomach expansion and pressure.
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4. Sugar-free Candy
Sugar-free candy, some diet granola-type bars, no-sugar packaged baked goods and sugarless gum, often contain sweeteners called xylitol, sorbitol and maltitol. These chemicals can cause GI distress, including bloating and diarrhea.
Carbonation can cause bloating, so Gans suggests replacing soda with flavored water (try dropping in some lemon or lime slices) or peppermint tea.
6. Fried Foods
Nothing will make you feel bloated faster than a bacon-cheeseburger with a side of fries. Because greasy, fatty foods are difficult to digest, your body has to work extra hard, causing your stomach to be distended while it works.
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7. Raw Broccoli
Some people find that cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and cauliflower, make them gassy and bloated. Don't avoid these veggies completely, just start slowly with half-cup servings until your body is used to them. Cooking these veggies will also make them easier to digest.
8. Anything in a Can
Most canned veggies and beans are packed in salty, bloat-inducing liquids to preserve their natural flavor. Rinsing canned goods under cold, running water for 30 seconds can help.
9. Processed Meats
Salami, bologna, and hot dogs, along with other luncheon meats, are high in hard-to-digest fat and bloat-inducing sodium. Stay away from these meats, or opt for alternatives like carved turkey for your lunchtime sandwich.
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