There's nothing worse than feeling bloated—especially for seemingly unexplainable reasons. If you exercise regularly, stick to a healthy diet, adhere to any dietary restrictions as recommended by your doctor, take your menstrual cycle into account, and still experience regular bloating, then feeling uncomfortable in your own skin can be incredibly frustrating. If this sounds familiar, bloat-inducing drinks may be the culprit.
"Aside from specific drinks that cause bloating, there are many reasons you may bloat with specific drinks while others may not," clinical nutritionist Samantha Franceschini of Nutrition by Sam told The/Thirty. "It's always recommended to see a clinical nutritionist or physician if you are experiencing bloating. Distended bellies can also indicate a potential lymphatic problem or enzyme deficiency," she adds. Below, find the seven worst drinks for bloating, according to Franceschini.
This one is a no-brainer, but as Franceschini points out, "It doesn't matter if it's sparkling water or soda, the carbonation will cause you to feel bloated." Yes, that even means La Croix. "The bubbles can cause the stomach to temporarily inflate, causing bloat."
Drinks With Artificial Sweeteners
Sugar-free sodas and soft drinks should be off-limits if bloating is a huge concern. "Artificial sweeteners are not recognized by the body, so when you ingest them, it takes longer for your body to digest, causing bloating," she explains.
Contrary to popular belief, "Caffeine-based drinks like coffee and energy drinks can overexcite the stomach and lead to bloating," says Franceschini. While coffee can help regulate your system, it's incredibly dehydrating and generally hard on your stomach. Try these alternatives instead.
This one falls into the "obvious" camp, but dairy-based drinks like cow's milk can upset your stomach, even if you're not lactose intolerant. "Some people are sensitive to cow dairy, and a lot of recent studies have shown that it has become more difficult for our bodies to break down cow's milk, [because of] how it's processed today." Here are some other benefits to going dairy-free.
Drinks With High Sodium
Salt is one of the worst offenders when it comes to bloating, and drinks like V8 or any vegetable juices are brimming with it. "When we drink too much salt, we retain water, and when we retain water, we bloat," she explains. "Another drink high in sodium is store-bought broths. Make sure to buy low-sodium or no-sodium broth and add the salt yourself," she suggests. "Use a pink Himalayan salt or sea salt instead of table salt in your broths."
"Just like sodium, when we intake alcohol, we retain water and bloat," explains Franceschini. "Alcohol can also stress out the liver, which [translates to] constipation, also leading to bloating." Wheat and gluten-laden beer is arguably the worst offender, but highly acidic and fermented wine can also irritate candida in the gut, leading to bloating. Try non-alcoholic drink instead.
While fresh-pressed juice made at home can be a great source of fruits and vegetables, store-bought fruit juice, especially from concentrate, is incredibly high in sugar. "Juicing can be a healthy alternative, but buying drinks in the store, like orange juice, can cause bloating," she explains. This is due to the fact that "some people struggle to absorb and process specific sugars, which leads to belly bloat."