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Special Event?  Party Bloat-Free!

by Tracy Parker, R.D.




Gas-Producing Foods Including:




Brussels Sprouts




Dairy Products Including:


Ice Cream

Salty Foods Including:



Processed & Prepackaged Foods

Foods High In Simple
Sugar Including:




White Flour Breads

Foods High In Milk Sugar (Lactose):

Cheese & Ice Cream



Salad Dressing

Fruits Containing Sorbitol Including:





Artificial Sweeteners In Dietetic Foods

Sugar-Free Candies

Sugar-Free Gum

Also Avoid Swallowing
Too Much Air By:

Eating Too Fast

Chewing Gum

Drinking Carbonated Beverages

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     Does it always seem like your stomach is out to there when it comes time to attend a special event and look your best? Whether you have a hot date, an upcoming wedding or high school reunion, or you're planning ahead for the holidays, feeling bloated when its time to zip up that new skirt can put a damper on the entire evening.

     However, knowing which foods to avoid can reduce both your stress and that uncomfortable puffiness in time for fitting into those fancy duds. Follow our bloat-busting eating plan, so you can feel your absolute slimmest when you're stepping out:

Avoid and Conquer

     While everyone reacts differently to particular foods, there are some nibbles that cause more bloating or water retention. Steer clear of the following foods to reduce your chances of puffing out:

Clear the Air

     Some bacteria in the gut are responsible for producing gas and certain carbohydrate-containing foods actually cause these bacteria to produce more gas, which can account for that uncomfortable bloated feeling. Such culprit foods are beans, vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions and asparagus and air-containing foods, such as dairy products, including cheese and ice cream, pretzels and bagels. Reducing, or if necessary, avoiding these foods altogether can usually help to reduce gas and bloating.

     Other factors that are also gas producing are eating quickly, chewing gum and drinking carbonated beverages. All of these things cause you to swallow more air, which produces the gas. Make sure that you eat slowly and chew your food well on the big day -- this can help reduce bloating before you go as well as allow time for your body to feel satisfied so you do not eat to the point of being stuffed after the event.

Watch the Fiber

     Many of the foods that cause bloating are also high in fiber and if you’ve increased your fiber intake recently but haven’t increased your fluid intake, this can leave you feeling bloated and usually constipated. While high fiber foods are an important part of a healthy diet, they should be added gradually to the diet and accompanied by an increase in fluid intake (preferably water).

Hold the Salt

     Pretzels, chips and processed, prepackaged foods are typically high in sodium and this can increase fluid retention. Check all food labels for salt content and keep it to a minimum (about two teaspoons of salt per day).

Skip the Sugar

     Foods high in simple sugars (think cookies, cakes, candies and even breads made from white flour) can slow digestion, making you feel extra puffy. Stay away from these products on the big day.

     The milk sugar, called lactose, in cheese and ice cream, and in processed foods, such as bread, cereal, and salad dressing can be responsible for that bloated feeling. If you're sensitive to dairy products, try limiting to only a half-cup of milk per meal or choose yogurt, Parmesan, Asiago and cheddar cheeses, all of which contain less lactose.

     Apples and pears are in season. But as delicious as they are, you may want to avoid these fruits, as they contain sorbitol, a natural fruit sugar also found in peaches and prunes, which is a common cause of gas. Sorbitol is also used as an artificial sweetener in many dietetic foods, sugar-free candies and gums.

So, What CAN You Eat?

     You're probably thinking, what's left? But believe it or not, there are plenty of food options that can help you dodge the bloat -- and even a few that help to reduce or prevent it. Try this morning-to-night guide to bloat-free eating on the day of your big event:


     Potassium helps flush out the sodium that can cause bloating. Start your day with some potassium-rich fruit, such as, bananas, cantaloupe, oranges, papayas, or cranberry and orange juices. Also, include foods that promote healthy bacteria in your gut, which can aid digestion. If you handle dairy well, cultured yogurt or cottage cheese are good breakfast choices. For more protein, try egg-white omelets or smoked salmon.


     As we mentioned, resisting salty and sugary snacks is a smart idea. Protein-rich snacks, such as unsalted nuts or a tablespoon of smooth peanut butter, low-fat cheddar or cottage cheese on crackers or rice cakes, are solid bets. This is one day when raw veggies may not be your best snacking solution but canned fruit, peaches, bananas, or kiwi fruit are an alternative.


     Opt for lean proteins, like chicken, tuna and fish, instead of high-fat choices, such as pizza and burgers. Enjoy your veggies cooked, rather than raw, since uncooked vegetables tend to be more gas producing. Carrots, mushrooms, peas, pumpkin, spinach, beets, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and zucchini are some safe bets. Remember to pass on the fizzy drinks, including beer.

And All Day Long

     Drink plenty of water.  It's the best-known way to prevent the water retention that causes bloating. The more water you drink, the more water will be flushed through your system. In addition, plenty of water helps keep you regular and prevents the bloating and gas related to constipation.

     Be sure to exercise the day of your event (and during the week prior) to help reduce bloating that evening. Frequent exercise can help stimulate the passage of gas through the digestive tract.

Note: If your symptoms of bloating and gas are persistent see your doctor to make sure that the condition is not caused by abnormalities in your digestive tract.

Ed. Note: Tracy Parker, RD, is a staff writer for www.eDiets.com/

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