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South Beach Diet Q&A: Tummy Trouble

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Updated February 18, 2014

Question:

I recently started the South Beach Diet and I am losing weight like the book promised, but I am experiencing some side effects and I don't know that I'll be able to stay on it if this continues. I have been having a lot of bloating in my abdomen lately ... I also am constipated. What's going on? - Maria

Answer:

Thanks for sending your question ... I know it probably wasn't an easy one to ask. Rest assured, these can be very common problems to those of us following a carb-reduction diet like The South Beach Diet.

First up, the abdominal bloating you are experiencing is probably due to the dietary changes you've made recently. Although it has some other causes, abdominal bloating is typically the result of intestinal gas. Making diet changes -- like suddenly increasing fiber -- can cause excess gas to build up in your digestive system.

You're probably eating more veggies and beans than usual. Certain vegetables like cauliflower, asparagus, and broccoli are known to cause excess gas. Additionally, increasing wheat in your diet can cause gas, so switching from white, refined carbs to whole grains could also be to blame. Lastly, eating dairy foods can cause gas to build up.

From personal experience, I can recommend two ways to cope:

When I was a vegetarian, I found a product called Beano was very helpful. It is available at virtually any drug store and is reasonably-priced. This product is particularly helpful if you eat a lot of beans or legumes. It's easy to take and there are no side effects that I know of.

As a former IBS patient, I began taking activated charcoal as part of my treatment regimen. It can help to both prevent and alleviate gas and bloating. Like Beano, it's available at drug stores, but you'll need to take it a little more often. Other OTC treatments, like Gas-X may also be helpful to treat the gas that causes bloating.

You can learn a lot more about this topic at About's IBS/Chron's Disease Guide site: See Abdominal Bloating and Gas.

Continued: Constipation Prevention and Treatment >>

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