If you’ve recently gone on a diet, you might have noticed some negative changes to your digestion due to the ways dieting affects your digestion. Dieting can help you lose weight, start eating healthier foods, and even improve digestion, but this isn’t always the case. In many cases, there are ways dieting affects your digestion negatively, especially if you’re dieting in a dangerous way. Be sure you stay on top of your health and your digestion by taking precautions to prevent this from happening. If your body isn’t digesting your food, you’re not absorbing nutrients as efficiently, and not getting the most out of your food. You are what you digest, not what you eat!
1. Too Much Fiber
Fiber is often thought of as the holy grail when it comes to dieting, but it can be one of the ways dieting affects your digestion in a negative way. If you go overboard on the fiber without easing into it, you’ll be bloated, have stomach pains, and most likely feel uncomfortable most of the time. Not to mention it can make social situations a real problem! Back off the fiber and ease back into it. Too much fiber can overwhelm your system and you might not be absorbing all the nutrients those precious veggies and fruits contain!
Many diet bars and shakes have dairy in them. Dairy can cause many people pain and bloating if they are sensitive to the proteins or lactose in dairy. Some may even be allergic and not know it. Lay off all sources of dairy for a week to see if this improves. Oh, and by the way, don’t buy diet bars and shakes. They’re overly processed, contain nasty ingredients and chemicals, and are not going to help you lose weight in the long run, I promise!
Another issue many people have with digestion is bloating from soy consumption. Many vegan or low fat products on the market often have soy fillers or soy protein and they cause digestive issues to occur. They're also harmful to your health since they are overly processed. Even natural forms of soy like tempeh and tofu can cause bloating since soy is a legume. Legumes are funny little creatures. They're both a protein and a starch, and can take longer to digest, causing them to ferment in the gut. This causes gas and bloating quickly if you're sensitive. Read all ingredient labels to make sure soy isn't an ingredient and once again, always buy whole foods instead of processed forms.
Sometimes, when you go drastic with your diet, your system suffers major shock and you might become constipated. Don’t worry, if you’re eating healthy, this should pass very quickly. Yet, if you’re eating more processed diet foods, and lots of dry foods instead of fruits and veggies, this could also occur. Or, if you're not drinking enough water to compensate for the extra fiber in your diet, constipation can also occur. Be sure when you’re dieting that you also eat enough and include enough fat. Lack of fat in the diet can cause a slow motility rate, or the rate at which elimination occurs. Healthy fats are great for your metabolism, and they help digestion too. They help your body absorb nutrients and help fight constipation.
5. Wheat Products
If your diet contains wheat products, this could be another reason it is negatively impacting your digestion. Wheat can stop up your system, so to speak. It sticks to the intestines like glue, and can even cause malabsorption of other nutrients. It’s best to stick to whole grains that are naturally gluten-free like quinoa, brown and wild rice, black rice, millet, amaranth, and gluten-free oats. Also opt for seeds like chia and flax that can resemble grains in their filling factor due to fiber and protein they contain.
6. Too Few Calories
Once again, if you’re not eating enough, your digestion will suffer. Bloating, constipation, and a general poor absorption of vitamins and minerals can all take place. Eat at least 400 calories per meal and if you eat snacks, consume at least 200 calories to make sure you’re getting enough food.
7. Sugar Alcohols
Xylitol and erythritol are two sweeteners that get a lot of buzz in the more natural-sugar free world of sweeteners. Yet, you need to be careful with sugar alcohols, which these are. Though they do contain beneficial properties and are natural, they can also cause gas and bloating. Anything that ends with “ol” is a sugar alcohol, regardless of how natural it is. When these enter the stomach, they ferment and can cause gas and bloating. It’s best to stick to stevia as your choice sweetener, and use the liquid instead of the powder since the powders at most stores contain additives you want to avoid. The liquid is nothing more than stevia leaves that have been extracted through a water process, and it is 100% natural and the best option for digestion. Stevia is also calorie-free, unlike sugar alcohols.
If you recently went on a diet and had some issues with digestion, these were likely some of the reasons you had trouble. Some people still find that grains can upset their digestion, and raw veggies and fruits just don’t work either. Experiment with your new diet and don’t give up! Your digestion will show you what it likes and what it doesn’t. Have you ever had digestion issues on a diet?