indocin 25 mg used for

A few important things to consider before cutting out gluten or trying a low FODMAP diet if you’re struggling with bloating.

Removing inflammatory food is often the first port of call that comes to people who live with bloating. For a few years, I was one of those (difficult to cater for) people who followed a strictly dairy-, gluten- and refined sugar-free diet to beat the bloat. 

Within two weeks, I was less bloated, more energised and ready to lift heavier (I was doing a strength training programme at the time). Five years on, however, I realise that those physical benefits weren’t actually down to cutting gluten out at all but rather the focus I started to place on whole foods and rest. I’d been working with a PT who had a background in nutrition; cutting food groups definitely isn’t something you should do without consulting a professional first (ideally your GP or a registered nutritionist).  

You may also like

Bloating: is our obsession with de-bloating causing too much worry about a normal bodily function?

We talk about gluten and sugar as inflammatories, but as nutritional scientist Dr Adriann Chavez has been pondering on Instagram: “If gluten, dairy, vegetable oils and sugar really were inflammatory, the entire US population would be walking around with the elevated markers of inflammation.” 

No doubt certain corners of the internet would argue that that’s true: we’re all highly inflamed and at risk of various diseases (there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that inflammation can lead to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, autoimmune issues and infections). But it seems highly unlikely when we look at the kinds of bread, butter and sugar-orientated diets that generations before us relied on.     

In my case, minimising certain foods did reduce my bloat and discomfort. But now I know that it’s the lifestyle choices I made that made the real difference to how I was feeling. I’d cut right back on my alcohol consumption., I was in bed before 10pm most evenings. Instead of buyingcoffee shop sandwiches for lunch, I meal-prepped burrito bowls packed with beans, tofu and veggies.I snacked on home-roasted mixed nuts and dates dipped in nut butter.

“Most people feel better when they remove [inflammatory foods], not because they are inflammatory, but because it makes room for a more diverse, nutrient-dense diet,” Dr Chavez suggests in his post.

Looking back at it, that was certainly the case for me. I felt “better” because I started eating more plants, having more healthy fats and consuming fibre at every opportunity. The proof was when I startedeating gluten again. If it had really beenthe cause of my persistent bloating, I’d have felt like crap – but having maintained a high-fibre, plant-first vegan diet, it had no particular effect. 


Now, that’s not always the case with restrictive diets. A 2017 study published in the BMJ looked into long-term gluten consumption in adults without coeliac disease and coronary heart disease (inflammation and heart disease being linked). It monitored the gluten-intake of more than 110,000 people for 26 years and found that their consumption of gluten wasn’t associated with any heightened health risk. In fact, they discovered that trying to avoid gluten prevented people from enjoying healthy, heart-friendly whole grains.

People whocut sugar at the expense of antioxidant-rich fruits are another example of inflammation misinformation at work. When you consider that in 2010, a huge study found that nearly 1.3 million stroke deaths were linked to suboptimal fruit consumption, you start to realise that gyms and PTs who suggest clients ditch berries and apples in the misguided hope that doing so will reduce inflammation are leading people down a dangerous path.

I’ve been that client in the past who agreed to give up red peppers, carrots, apples, bananas and dates for fear of creating sugar-based inflammation; I was left eating plain yoghurt for breakfast and two rice cakes as a mid-morning snack. I was no less bloated. 


In recent years, we’ve heardhealth experts advocate for people to eat 30 plants a week and to think of nutrition as what we can add rather than take away. When it comes to inflammation, that may well be the best way of working towards better digestive health.

If bloating is causing you consistent frustration, exploring your sleep and caffeine intake could be a helpful (and less potentially damaging) place to start instead of upheaving your entire diet. Before you start thinking about cutting out gluten or caffeine, see if you can start by adding more things into your diet first: could you eat two more plants a day instead of giving up gluten? We know, for example, that fermented foods are especially good for gut health.  

As with anything health, nutrition and diet related, we’re all going to react differently to different things. But the most important thing we all need to remember about bloating and inflammation is that it’s incredibly common, and is best treated with the guidance of a GP. The true premise of “gut health” in its entirety is so much more than simply cutting things out. In fact, that’s where too many of us have been going wrong.

And perhaps it’s time to call many anti-inflammatory and gut health protocols out for what they really are: diet culture dressed up as health. 

For more bloating and gut health stories, visit the Strong Women Training Club.

Images: Getty

Source: Read Full Article