What causes Bloating? – Part 3


Bloating is a common symptom that most people experience from time to time, but there are some people who just seem to be bloated all the time, no matter what they eat or drink. 

There are several causes, but one of the most common reasons for bloating is that we swallow too much air with our food. Chewing gum, drinking fizzy drinks, and eating too quickly all result in an increased intake of air which can exacerbate digestive symptoms.

Bloating also happens when our bodies can’t break down or digest specific food particles.

Foods that can cause bloating include: 

  • Carbohydrates and sugars
  • Dairy products
  • Gluten grains
  • Sulfurous foods
  • Lectins
  • FODMAP’s

Today we will focus on lectins and FODMAP’s


Lectins are present in wheat and legumes.

Lectins bind to the cells of the gastrointestinal tract and can disrupt the breakdown and absorption of nutrients causing bloating and gas.

Beans in particular can be poorly absorbed in the small intestine which allows the gut microbes more time to feed on the sugars causing them to produce more gas.

Love the beans, but the beans don’t love you – try adding a spice called Hing or Asofeteda which helps to break down the lectins.


Fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAP) are short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed by the small intestine and therefore cause digestive distress. A low FODMAP diet can be helpful for people struggling with long-term gut symptoms.

Oligosaccharides, or glycans, are carbohydrate chains made up of three to ten simple sugars, or monosaccharides. They fall into the category between monosaccharides and starches. Garlic, onions, leeks, Brussels sprouts, ripe bananas, and legumes fall into this category.

Disaccharides are double sugars, which are formed when two monosaccharides are connected by a glycosidic bond, the most common being sucrose, maltose, and lactose. Some foods include sweet potatoes, beer, spelt, milk, and instant coffee.

Monosaccharides are the simplest form of sugar and the building blocks for all carbohydrates. These include honey, dates, apples, and cereals.

Polyols are a particular class of sugar alcohols that are created when carbohydrates are catalytically hydrogenated. They are frequently present in sugar-free sweeteners and in chewing gum, sweets, and beverages, but they also occur naturally in some fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms.

Other important factors to consider to help avoid bloating and gas would be:

  • Food combinations – some foods digest more quickly than others and when we eat them in combination, they can cause the slower digesting foods to ferment
  • Portion sizes – Remember that our stomachs are only about the size of our fists. If we are eating too much at any given time the stomach expands which will make us feel bloated and uncomfortable
  • Chew slowly and try to avoid consuming gassy drinks with meals.

Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 15 September 2022 to learn more. Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am