Why Am I Bloated After Increasing Calories?

Loading up on calories can bring on the bloat.

Loading up on calories can bring on the bloat.

Whether you're trying to build up your bod or have been indulging in more than your usual share of tempting fare, it's perfectly normal to experience a case of the bloat. Upping calorie intake means putting a higher volume of food into your body, which can make you feel puffy for several reasons. The good news is that most bloating is temporary, and a few simple tweaks can help bring relief. See your doctor before making any major changes in your diet.

Large Portion Sizes

If you're cramming all of your calories into a few super-sized meals each day, your stomach is expanding more than usual to accommodate the extra volume. This can lead to uncomfortable bloating, leaving you sluggish and prone to stomach aches. To combat this effect, divide your daily food intake into five to six smaller meals, each spaced two to three hours apart. If you don't have the time to sit down for this many meals, try eating regular portions for breakfast, lunch and dinner and then sipping on smoothies or snacking on nuts or granola bars in between.

Excess Sodium

Eating more calories can mean consuming more sodium if you choose foods laden with salt, sodium benzoate or monosodium glutamate. Just an extra 400 mg of sodium in your body -- in a gram of table salt -- creates two pounds of water weight, according to Towson University's Dr. Jack D. Osman. That's because your body strives to maintain a healthy sodium/fluid balance, and retains water in response to an influx of sodium. Combat this effect by consuming 2,200 mg of sodium per day or less. If the damage has already been done, drink plenty of water to flush the extra sodium and fluid out with your urine.

Imbalanced Diet

If you're skipping fiber-rich fruits and veggies because they're low in calories, your digestive system may be suffering. Fiber is undigestible matter in plant foods that helps prevent constipation, and your system won't run as smoothly without it. Conversely, high-fat foods are rich in calories but slow the passage of food through your stomach, contributing to bloating. To keep food moving through your body, incorporate beans, broccoli and whole-wheat products into your diet and go easy on fatty meats, full-fat cheeses and mayonnaise.

Swallowing Air

If you're scarfing down meals with gusto, you may be inadvertently swallowing air along with your vittles, causing gas to enter your stomach and create bloating. The solution is to chew food more slowly, paying close attention to each bite. Drinking through a straw can also force you to swallow air; so if you're sipping on more weight-gaining drinks or other liquids than usual, try drinking them straight from the glass.

 

About the Author

Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by USAToday.com, Fitday.com, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.

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