Not sure what's making you bloat?

Gluten is a classic favourite to point the blame at when we bloat after a meal at the dinner table. But is Gluten really responsible for your tummy issues? It has been found that 16% of people who thought they were Gluten intolerant, were in fact, not. So what could be causing you this distress?

Suspect 1: Lectin

Lectin is a very common carbohydrate binding protein found in most animal an plant based products. In high amounts lectin can be toxic, but when in food, it is prepared in a way that’s safe to eat, but it still is known to cause some troubles in the gut for some.

Lectin is found in the highest quantities in legumes, especially in uncooked kidney beans, wholegrains and veggies in the nightshade family eg. eggplant. If you suspect you’re sensitive to lectin, soak and cook legumes and grains before eating them. This washed away most of the lectin and makes it easier for your body to digest.

Suspect 2: Garlic

Garlic is a popular ingredient in most kitchens as it is apart of the Amaryllis family; it’s siblings include onion, shallot and leek. Garlic is rich in something called fructan and known as a FODMAP which is a carbohydrate that ferments in the large intestines. This is a benefits as it fuels and feeds our gut bacteria, however, some people who display hypersensitivity in their gut will experience excessive gas production, wind, cramping and diarrhea.

Fructan is one of the most common FODMAPs as it is also found in foods that also contain gluten, like wheat, barley and rye. A study showed that a group of people who thought they were gluten intolerant we in fact fructan intolerant.

Suspect 3: Xylitol

This cheeky ingredient is found in anything sugar-free like chewing gum, mints, dental products, lollies and ice creams! Xylitol is a type of sugar alcohol which is extracted from the birch tree and has a similar sweetness to sugar but has less kilojoules. Sugar alcohols ferment in the large intestines and can draw water into the bowels leading to gas, bloating and diarrhea.

Suspect 4: Corn

Another host for sugar alcohol is corn. Corn is known to contain a polyol called sorbitol which is a common sugar alcohol found in fruits, veggies and sweeteners. Polyols attract water into the bowel, so if you suffer from IBS or have gut sensitivities it may have a laxative effect as well as abdominal pain and flatulence.

Hannah Micich