We can all attest to getting bloated on occasion, and foods like dairy and fiber-rich veggies are often the culprits making our stomachs feel like bowling balls. But here's comforting news: A recent post from bodybuilder Michelle Middleton proves even the fittest people struggle with bloated bellies.
“I do these bloat posts every now and then, but people still get surprised at how big my belly gets,” Middleton, who goes by @madlymish on Instagram, wrote in the caption of her post. The image featured three side-by-side photos of the athlete. In two of the photos, Middleton’s belly is so bloated that it protrudes beyond her waistband. In the third photo, her midsection appears strong and toned, her abs in clear view. According to her post, the photos were only taken a few hours apart.
“Yes I get bloated and it happens when I eat certain foods,” Middleton explained. “I pretty much know which foods are going to do it (high FODMAP) but sometimes I will eat it anyways. Like earlier I had Greek yogurt and I got bloated within a few minutes but the bloat only lasted for a few hours and now I’m back to normal.”
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, four types of carbohydrates that some people—especially those with conditions like Crohn’s disease or IBS—have trouble digesting. When these carbohydrates aren’t digested, they can cause gas, bloating, abdominal discomfort, and changes in bowel patterns.
The trouble with FODMAPs is that they’re found in tons of foods, including fruits, veggies, dairy, legumes, and artificial sweeteners. Since every person is different, certain foods that are high in FODMAPs bloat some people more than others. “The foods that make me the most bloated are yogurts, protein powders, apples, pears, watermelon, broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus,” Middletown wrote.
If you also experience uncomfortable tummy troubles after eating certain foods, talk to your doctor about trying a low FODMAP diet, which prioritizes foods like bananas, blueberries, soy milk, carrots, spinach, and sweet potatoes, quinoa, and oats, among others. Eating these instead of foods high in the tough-to-digest carbohydrates could help drive down bloating and soothe digestive discomfort too; one small 2016 study from the University of Michigan found that 50% of IBS sufferers who consumed a low-FODMAP diet experienced relief from GI symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea.