Whenever we change our dietary habits and eating patterns, our body can take a few days to adjust. Everyone is unique in how their body responds to new eating patterns, and the type and magnitude of the dietary change(s) can impact the degree to which the body needs to adjust. So if you find that your body is going through an adjustment period as you begin your new healthy meal plan, just remember, these adjustments are temporary and there are several things you can do to help manage them.
Gas and/or bloating may be one of those temporary adjustments you experience as you change your eating habits. This can occur for several reasons, one being an increase in your dietary fiber or starch intake. Our bodies do not fully digest and absorb certain sugars, fibers and starches due to a shortage or absence of specific enzymes that aid with digestion. This ultimately results in gas. But don’t let gas intimidate you from adding fiber to your diet! Adequate fiber may help increase satiety after meals helping to promote a healthy weight. It may also help to lower our cholesterol, prevent constipation and hemorrhoids, and keep blood sugar in a healthy range.
Gas and bloating can also be caused by food intolerances, such as a lactose or gluten intolerance, or small amounts of swallowed air which happens when eating and drinking too fast, chewing gum, smoking, or wearing loose-fitting dentures. If you are concerned about the cause of your gas/bloating and/or if it persists, contact your health care provider for further direction.
To help adjust to your new meal plan and reduce bloating/gas, consider these 8 tips:
- Drink plenty of water. This is perhaps one of the best things you can do. Drink water with and in-between meals to help move fiber through your system.
- Try the Medifast Essential1: Digestive Health supplement to help you digest your food more easily. This supplement includes a custom probiotic and enzyme to help promote optimal digestive health.
- Be physically active. Try taking a walk after your meal to help digest your food.
- Limit the amount of higher fiber vegetables you have at first to allow your body to slowly adjust (i.e. broccoli, radishes, cabbage, and cauliflower).
- Avoid whipping up your Medifast Meals in a blender as this adds extra air.
- Chew your food carefully and be sure to eat slowly. Wash your food down with a glass of water.
- Avoid carbonated beverages, drinking with a straw or out of a small-necked bottle, and using water fountains.
- Avoid smoking.
Passing gas around 13 to 21 times a day is considered normal². So if you’re passing gas, you’re not alone. It may just be a sign of your commitment to eating well-balanced, nutrient-rich meals. And if you do get caught in a potentially awkward situation due to a dietary change, you can always just blame it on the dog!
2. Gas-related complaints. The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library.www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec02/ch008/ch008d.html . Updated October 2007. Accessed June 26, 2012.