Foods That Commonly Cause Bloating

Abdominal bloating is that puffy, swollen feeling you can get due to excess gas. It often happens as a result of eating quickly, eating beyond fullness, or eating foods high in fiber that can cause gas to build up in your digestive tract. Other causes include constipation and menstruation.

Usually bloating isn't serious and is completely normal, but it can make you uncomfortable and bring unpleasant awareness to your body. It's possible that bloating can be a symptom of a health problem, so if it occurs frequently, you should speak with your healthcare provider.

Foods that cause gas can cause bloating. They aren't necessarily bad for you—in fact, many of them are healthy high-fiber foods that belong in a healthy, balanced diet. There are some things you can do to help reduce the discomfort. But first, here's a look at foods that might be making your belly feel bloated.

1

Legumes

Lentils

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Dry beans and lentils are high in a dietary fiber called raffinose and eating them in large amounts can result in a lot of gas formation. Legumes are nutrient-dense, so they are a great addition to a balanced diet. Fortunately, you can avoid excess gas by starting with small portions and slowly build up the amounts you eat. Or try a digestive aid such as Beano.

2

Cruciferous Vegetables

Kale

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale are also high in raffinose so they can cause gas and bloating. But they also contain important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and can add a variety of nutrients to any meal plan. Cooking your cruciferous veggies might help reduce some of the bloating, while steaming can also retain more nutrients.

Your digestive system will adjust to high-fiber foods over time, so start with smaller portions and increase them gradually.

3

Carbonated Beverages

Soda

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Carbonated beverages, such as soft drinks and beer, can make you feel bloated because you're essentially swallowing air. You'll probably get some relief by belching, but you might still feel some bloating for a while after. Chewing gum, sucking on hard candy, and eating or drinking too fast may have a similar effect.

4

Greasy Foods

Pizza

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Eating a meal that's high in fat can also make you feel bloated. Fats slow down the rate at which your stomach empties into the small intestine. So while eating some fat is fine, eating a higher-fat meal might contribute to some uncomfortable abdominal distention and bloating.

Pay attention to how your body responds to foods that cause discomfort in order to make an informed decision the next time around.

5

Foods Sweetened With Alcohol Sugars

Candy

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Foods sweetened with alcohol sugars, such as sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol can cause you to feel bloated because you don't digest them well so they're fermented by bacteria in your digestive tract. Alcohol sugars are used in sugar-free gum and candy as well as some "low-carb" foods.

6

Dairy Products

Cream cheese

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Milk and dairy products can cause discomfort and bloat for people who have lactose intolerance, which is the inability to digest milk sugar (lactose). It is especially common among African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans.

Drinking lactose-free milk or taking lactase pills with your dairy products can help alleviate the symptoms, but be sure to speak with your health care provider first.

7

Whole Grains

Whole Wheat

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Whole grains are a great addition to most diets because they're rich in fiber and nutrients. But the fiber in these complex carbohydrates, along with the starch, can make you feel a bit bloated depending on the amount you eat or how accustomed your body is to it. The good news is that your digestive system will adapt to the extra fiber and the gas and bloating should decrease over time.

Was this page helpful?
13 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Lacy BE, Gabbard SL, Crowell MD. Pathophysiology, evaluation, and treatment of bloating: hope, hype, or hot air? Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2011;7(11):729-739.

  2. Bernstein MT, Graff LA, Avery L, Palatnick C, Parnerowski K, Targownik LE. Gastrointestinal symptoms before and during menses in healthy womenBMC Womens Health. 2014;14:14.

  3. Seo AY, Kim N, Oh DH. Abdominal bloating: pathophysiology and treatmentJ Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2013;19(4):433-453. doi:10.5056/jnm.2013.19.4.433

  4. Beano. FAQs. 2021.

  5. Ahmed FA, Ali RFM. Bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity of fresh and processed white cauliflowerBiomed Res Int. 2013;2013:367819. doi:10.1155/2013/367819

  6. International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders. Dietary Fiber.

  7. Modi R, Clearfield HR. American College of Gastroenterology. Belching, Bloating, and Flatulence. Belching, Bloating, and Flatulence. Updated July 2013.

  8. Larijani B, Esfahani MM, Moghimi M, et al. Prevention and treatment of flatulence from a traditional persian medicine perspectiveIran Red Crescent Med J. 2016;18(4):e23664. doi:0.5812/ircmj.23664

  9. Khodarahmi M, Azadbakht L. Dietary fat intake and functional dyspepsiaAdv Biomed Res. 2016;5:76. doi:10.4103/2277-9175.180988

  10. Mäkinen KK. Gastrointestinal disturbances associated with the consumption of sugar alcohols with special consideration of xylitol: scientific review and instructions for dentists and other health-care professionalsInt J Dent. 2016;2016:5967907. doi:10.1155/2016/5967907

  11. Silanikove N, Leitner G, Merin U. The interrelationships between lactose intolerance and the modern dairy industry: global perspectives in evolutional and historical backgroundsNutrients. 2015;7(9):7312-7331. doi:10.3390/nu7095340

  12. Bailey RK, Fileti CP, Keith J, Tropez-Sims S, Price W, Allison-Ottey SD. Lactose intolerance and health disparities among African Americans and Hispanic Americans: an updated consensus statementJ Natl Med Assoc. 2013;105(2):112-127. doi:10.1016/s0027-9684(15)30113-9

  13. Lapides RA, Savaiano DA. Gender, age, race and lactose intolerance: is there evidence to support a differential symptom response? A scoping review. Nutrients. 2018;10(12). doi:10.3390/nu10121956