Bloating is a common complaint when beginning a plant-based/ vegan diet. There are many potential causes of bloating including diet, lifestyle and even medical causes.
Some more common reasons may be the following.
1. Increased Fibre intake:
Typically, eating vegan = increased plants. Plants contain fibre- the part of the plant that our bodies cannot break down, it passes undigested into our large intestines where it is fermented by our gut bacteria. This process can produce gas, resulting in bloating and distention.
Tip: Try to increase fibre intake slowly, peel your fruits & vegetables and opt for tofu/tempeh & soy milks for protein instead of large amounts of legumes.
Legumes contain large amounts of fibre and may contribute to gas production, resulting in bloating.
Tip: Try draining and rinsing your legumes well before consuming & introduce them in small amounts eg: start with 1tbs & increase as tolerated.
3. Eating larger volumes of food
It is common for the size of your meals to increase when swapping to a vegan diet. This is because plant-based foods typically contain lower amounts of calories compared to their animal counterpart. This means you need to eat a larger volume of food to meet your energy requirements. The larger volume, combined with the increased fibre content may cause bloating.
Tip: Try consuming smaller, more frequent meals/snacks and opt for higher-calorie foods- i.e: Nuts/seeds, bars, plant yoghurts.
4. Eating Behaviours
Eating too quickly
Not chewing food properly
Drinking carbonated beverages
Drinking through a straw
These can all be potential causes of bloating.
A vegan diet may contain higher amounts of FODMAPS. Some individuals (i.e: Those with IBS) may be sensitive to FODMAPS, causing increased gas production, leading to uncomfortable bloating/distention as well as pain and discomfort.
Work with a FODMAP trained dietitian to determine what is right for you.
When it comes to gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, there is not a one size fits all approach. Care and consideration should be taken to manage each person’s individual circumstances.
If you are concerned about gastrointestinal symptoms you may be experiencing, book a consult with Sprout Nutrition now for individualised treatment and management advice.
Melissa is a FODMAP certified Accredited Practicing Dietitian, having completed the Monash University Low FODMAP training for health professional’s course. She has experience in consulting clients with IBS and food intolerances over the last few years.
Book your free discovery call now to find out how Melissa can assist you.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult with your Dietitian or GP for individualised advice.
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