How To Make The Best Smoothie For Your Goals

We love a good smoothie, but not all blends are created equal. In order to make these liquid snacks work for your personal health and fitness goals, you may need to switch up the ingredients you throw into the blender.

First things first, you want your smoothie to provide a balance of four things: nutrient-dense carbohydrates, lean protein, healthy fats, and plenty of fiber, says Wesley Delbridge R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. From there, a few tweaks will help you whip up your perfect drink.

Whether you’re looking to bulk up or shed a few pounds, these nutritionist-backed guidelines can help you make you a smart smoothie next time you reach for the blender.

Goal: Weight Management

If you’re trying to shed pounds, calorie control is the name of the game. While the body needs carbohydrates for energy, cutting down on the carbs and fat in your shake can keep its calories in check to support weight loss. Making sure your shake packs plenty of protein, though, helps you maintain and build muscle while cutting calories, says Jim White, R.D., founder of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios.

Unsweetened almond milk makes a great base for a weight loss-friendly shake because it’s low in calories, White says. (One cup has 39 calories.) He recommends blending it up with whey protein powder—one scoop for women and two scoops for men. This blended snack comes in somewhere around 150 to 200 calories, keeps carbohydrates low, and packs on the protein.

Related: This Is The Best Cardio Workout For Weight Loss

Goal: Meal Replacement

On super-busy days, sitting down for breakfast (or lunch, or dinner) just isn’t in the cards. Smoothie to the rescue!

If your blend is replacing a meal, White recommends women shoot for a 400-calorie drink while men go for a 500-calorie drink. When building your meal replacement smoothie, be sure to incorporate protein, carbohydrates, and fat before blending for a nutritionally-balanced result.

Start with a base of six to eight ounces of coconut milk and add the following: dry oats (a quarter-cup for women and half-cup for guys), one cup Greek yogurt, three quarters-cup berries, and a tablespoon of chia seeds. The berries knock out a serving of fruit, the oats provide fiber-filled carbs, the yogurt provides protein, and chia seeds add essential fatty acids. Now that’s a balanced, busy day-friendly meal.

Goal: Muscle-Building Or ‘Bulking’

In the fitness world, protein and muscle gains go together like peanut butter and jelly. While the average person needs about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day, athletes who are really working their muscles hard may need up to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram, says Delbridge. (That’s roughly 0.36 grams per pound for the average person and 0.64 grams per pound for someone stressing their muscles big time.)

White recommends muscle-making smoothies that have a ratio of one part protein to two parts carbohydrate. If bulking up is your goal, you need carbs after a lifting session to restore the glycogen in your muscles, in addition to needing protein to help them rebuild and grow. Mix one cup of skim milk (nine grams of protein and 13 grams of carbs) with a scoop of whey protein (about 20 grams of protein). Then add a medium banana for two full servings of fruit and 27 grams of carbohydrates. That gives you a prime post-workout shake consisting of 316 calories, 41 grams of carbs, and 30 grams of protein.

Related: Find the flavor of protein powder you’ll look forward to every time.

Goal: Endurance Exercise and Performance

If you’re training for a distance-racing event, or are just trying to run or cycle farther, smoothies can be a great way to fuel your body for the long haul. For this, you’ll need higher amounts of nutrient-dense carbs for long-lasting energy, says Delbridge. Oh yeah, there are bananas and oats in your future.

White recommends starting with a base of unsweetened almond milk and adding the following: a half-cup to one cup dried oats, half a frozen banana, a handful of spinach, and a full orange. This shake uses whole food sources to jack up the carbs (upward of 100 grams) and provides some protein from the oats and spinach to promote recovery post-workout, he says.

Save this handy infographic for the perfect smoothie instructions, whenever you’re craving a blend: 

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The 5 Best Nighttime Snacks If You’re Trying To Lose Weight

Anyone who gets hit with a late-night snack attack probably worries a little bit about eating after dinner—especially if they’re trying to lose weight. But have no fear! Nighttime snacks can be a completely healthy addition to your daily diet.

Just consider a few simple guidelines: First, ask yourself why you want to eat. “Are you snacking because you feel hungry or because you are bored or watching TV?” says Melissa Prest, M.S., R.D.N., C.S.R., L.D.N. Give your dinner about an hour to digest and then check in with your motives before scavenging through the fridge.

When you do snack, it’s all about keeping your kitchen stocked with healthy bites, so you’re not left aimlessly staring into the refrigerator (and reaching for unhealthy choices) before bed. “Plan snacks just like you plan other meals,” says Jackie Newgent, R.D.N., culinary nutritionist and author of The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook. Plan out your full day of meals (snacks, too!) at least a day or so in advance to keep healthy eating on track, Newgent says.

A weight loss-friendly snack should include a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fiber, and come in between 100 to 200 calories, says Angel Planells, M.S. R.D.N., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A combination of macronutrients helps you feel fuller from smaller portions—and that’s because the protein and fiber fills you up and helps to lessen the impact carbs have on your blood sugar, he explains. Just don’t eat within an hour of hitting the hay, or you may be in for some digestive upset overnight, adds Newgent.

These five dietitian-approved snacks are perfect options for your next nighttime nosh:

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  1. Trail Mix

For a sweet and salty combo, try an easy mix of dried fruit and nuts. Dried tart cherries with pistachios or raisins with peanuts are two quick and easy combos, says Newgent.

“The combination of protein and fiber in this snack duo is notably satiating,” she says. Half an ounce of pistachios (about 25 kernels) contains 81 calories and almost three grams of protein. Pair that a quarter cup of unsweetened dried cherries (65 calories) for a snack that totals 146 calories.

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  1. Fruit Smoothie

Blend half a very ripe mango (or half a cup of any fruit you like), three quarters of a cup of plain Greek yogurt, water, and ice for a delicious, probiotic-packed drink, recommends Newgent. The mango has about 100 calories and the yogurt adds 75 calories to the mix.

If you’re not feeling an icy beverage, mix the fruit into a bowl of plain yogurt instead. Prest also likes adding a tablespoon of hemp or chia seeds to her yogurt bowl for a boost of plant-based protein and fiber.

Related: Give your next smoothie a boost with a scoop of protein powder.

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  1. Veggies and Bean Dip

Newgent loves this pick because it’s a delicious source of plant-based nutrients and soluble fiber. With just 50 calories in two tablespoons of hummus and another 50 in a cup of carrot sticks, this snack is an easy, low-calorie option. Just portion out your hummus and put the container away!

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  1. Apple and Nut Butter

Prest recommends an apple with one tablespoon of nut butter for a mix of carbs, protein, and fat that comes in around 150 calories. A tablespoon of unsalted peanut butter contains almost four grams of protein and eight grams of unsaturated fat.

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  1. Popcorn

If you’re looking for something salty, swap the greasy chips for three cups of air-popped popcorn, says Prest. You can even top it with sea salt or nutritional yeast seasoning for some extra flavor. Nutritional yeast is used as a cheese replacement in lots of vegan diets and packs lots of B vitamins and some protein.

You can snack on a full three cups of air-popped popcorn for just 92 calories, with that sprinkle of a tablespoon of nutritional yeast adding three grams of protein for just 20 calories.

Related: Check out the Snack Zone for a variety of ready-to-eat, health-conscious foods.

Pin this handy infographic and never stare aimlessly into the fridge at night again: 

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Eating Cholesterol Might Not Be Such A Bad Thing

Many of us grew up thinking cholesterol = bad. Eat a lot of cholesterol, end up with high cholesterol, right? Well, that might not be the case.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s dietary guidelines once capped daily cholesterol consumption at 300 milligrams, but dropped the limit recommendation in 2015, stating that “available evidence shows no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol” and that “cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”

Recent research has found that the cholesterol we consume may not be as big of a heart health risk as we once thought, says Tori Schmitt, M.S., R.D.N., L.D., founder of YES! Nutrition. “For many people, when they eat cholesterol, their body accommodates by producing less,” says Schmitt. (Yep, your body makes cholesterol!)

But what does the stuff even do? Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is the starting point for making cells and steroid hormones (like sex and adrenal hormones) in the body, says Rachel Begun, M.S., R.D.N. It also plays a role in vitamin D synthesis and digestion.

Cholesterol is transported throughout the body by two different kinds of lipoproteins: Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) carry cholesterol from the liver throughout the body and high-density lipoproteins (HDL) carry the cholesterol back to the liver, Begun says.

LDL cholesterol can contribute to plaque buildup in the blood, which is why it’s known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol, Begun explains. “Generally, the lower your LDL and the higher your HDL, the better your odds for preventing cardiovascular disease,” she says.

The sticky substance is found in the cell membrane of animal cells, so foods high in cholesterol are animal-based foods like meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, and milk, says Schmitt. Nope, you won’t find cholesterol in plants!

Just don’t consider the recent research an invitation to go crazy: One review published in the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology suggested dietary cholesterol generally does not impact blood cholesterol levels or coronary heart disease risk but still cautioned that some people may be more sensitive to cholesterol intake than others.

Even if you don’t need to worry too much about dietary cholesterol affecting your LDL levels on its own, though, certain foods it’s found in contain something you do need to look out for: saturated fats. These fats can increase that ‘bad’ cholesterol and the USDA dietary guidelines still consider them a threat. Monitor your intake of fatty meats and high-fat dairy, and keep saturated fat to less than 10 percent of your daily calories, recommends Schmitt.  

If heart health is a priority (and it should be!) your diet should focus on “fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, plant oils, and moderate amounts of lean animal protein,” says Begun.

When it comes to cholesterol-containing foods that don’t pack much saturated fat, there are a few that deserve a spot on your plate.

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  1. Eggs

One large egg packs on 186 milligrams of cholesterol. (That’s 372 milligrams in two.) We don’t know about you, but we like more than one egg in our morning scramble, and we get that this may feel a little bold, considering that previous 300 milligram limit. But cholesterol or not, eggs are super-nutritious and definitely deserve a spot in your daily grub.

Eggs are quite nutrient-dense, with six grams of protein, 41 IU vitamin D and 270 IU of vitamin A per egg, says Schmitt. She adds that egg yolks also have a nutrient called choline, which helps support fetal brain development during pregnancy.

Related: An Ode To Egg Yolks (Yes, They’re Good For You!)

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  1. Shellfish

Shellfish, like shrimp, are a delicious way to get lean protein and essential minerals without much saturated fat, says Begun. A three-ounce serving of shrimp, for example, contains about 161 mg of cholesterol and packs 20 grams of protein with only trace amounts of fat.

Not into the little guys? Other varieties of shellfish (like lobster) are also low in fat but high in nutrients.

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  1. Salmon

That salmon filet contains some cholesterol, but also provides a variety of valuable nutrients. A three-ounce fillet of wild salmon contains 43 milligrams of cholesterol, 19 grams of protein, 312 milligrams potassium, and 2158 milligrams of polyunsaturated fatty acids, including omega-3s, Schmitt says.

“Salmon’s omega-3 fatty acids, including EPA and DHA, can support heart health, memory, and cognition,” says Schmitt.

Related: 7 Fatty Foods That Are Good For Your Health

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  1. Chicken

Chicken is probably already a staple in your diet. After all, it’s a prime source of lean protein. But did you know it contains some cholesterol, too?

A three-ounce serving of chicken breast contains 52 milligrams of cholesterol, 18 grams of protein, and is a great source of niacin, vitamin B12, and selenium, says Schmitt. Go for lean cuts, like the breast, to keep that saturated fat intake low.

Related: Browse an assortment of supplements to promote heart health. 

What Is Ghee, Really?

Ghee has been around for thousands of years, but it’s recently regained popularity in the health world. (We’re talking coconut oil-level popularity, people.) Let’s start with the basics.

What Is It?

If you’re into Whole30 or the paleo lifestyle, or if you eat a lot of Indian food (in which ghee is often used), you may already be familiar with ghee.

Ghee is clarified butter, essentially. “Ghee is made by slowly melting butter and bringing it to a boil,” says Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., R.D.N., owner of Nutrition Starring You. “The water evaporates and milk solids separate and can be strained out, leaving behind a golden liquid that solidifies when cooled.”

Ghee has a much higher smoke point than regular butter, so you can use it as a replacement for refined vegetables oils (like corn, peanut, soybean and canola oil) that are often used for pan-searing or frying, says Jim White, R.D., owner of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios. (Butter will start to smoke around 250 degrees, while these oils don’t smoke until around 350, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. If you prefer butter to oil, using ghee for high-heat cooking is a good way to avoid setting off the smoke detectors…oops.)

Is Ghee Better Than Butter?

While ghee gets love from many health gurus, there’s no research to suggest any noteworthy benefits of ghee, says White.

Nutritionally, ghee is a more concentrated source of fat because the milk solids and water found in unclarified butter have been removed, White explains.

A teaspoon of ghee contains 45 calories, five grams of total fat, and three grams of saturated fat, while a teaspoon of butter contains 34 calories, four grams of total fat, and two grams of saturated fat.

“Since ghee is a source of saturated fat, it should be used in limited quantities,” says White. He warns that too much saturated fat can contribute to weight gain and issues related to heart health, and that it should be limited to less than 10 percent of our daily calories.

Harris-Pincus suggests working with a registered dietitian to manage the saturated fat elsewhere in your diet if you’re interested in incorporating ghee regularly.

A Note On Dairy

Some people believe that ghee is better than butter for those with lactose intolerance or milk allergies because it’s had the milk solids removed. However, ghee is still dairy-derived, so those with milk allergies still need to avoid it, says White. But since butter and ghee are both quite low in lactose, either is generally safe for someone with lactose intolerance, adds Harris-Pincus.

Related: An Ode To Egg Yolks—Yes, You Should Be Eating Them

But ‘Ghee’ Sounds Cool And You Still Want To Use It!

Like any fat, ghee is OK to consume in moderation. Plus, it’s rich, nutty flavor can give your dishes a little more oomph than many other cooking oils. White recommends swapping ghee for refined vegetable oils when frying, stir-frying or sautéing, or adding it fresh herbs and spice rubs for meat or fish.

“Basically anywhere you would use butter, ghee will work,” says Harris-Pincus. “You probably won’t need as much ghee as you would butter since the flavor is a bit more concentrated.”

Just remember that the extra flavor comes with extra calories and fat, so less is more.

Related: Shop a variety of healthy oils.

The Food Pyramid Is Old News—Have You Made These 8 Important Dietary Changes?

To say trends and advice about healthy eating have changed over the past century would be an understatement—since the 40s, the government has put out 10 different official healthy eating guides, including the food pyramid we’re perhaps most familiar with.

Recent updates to the visual guides have no doubt guided Americans down a healthier nutritional path, but it’s been a bumpy ride along the way. For example, the dietary guide in the late ’70s, called the ‘Hassle-Free Daily Food Guide,’ even included alcohol and sweets (in moderation) as part of a healthy diet. Huh.

The USDA released its very first visual food guide in the 1940s, which introduced ‘the basic seven’ food groups—one of which was ‘butter and margarine.’ It lacked portion recommendations and encouraged people to “eat any other foods you want.” Now you see what we mean.

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photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture

It took 40 years and three more versions of the visual dietary guides for the 1984 ‘food wheel’ to provide actual portion and calorie recommendations for its five major food groups. The pie chart still included a sixth sliver for sweets and alcohol.

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Then came a guide you’ve surely seen before: the food pyramid. “The food pyramid was the first to have a total diet approach,” says Wesley Delbridge R.D., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It broke down the number of recommended daily servings for each of six categories (dairy, vegetables, fruit, proteins like meat and beans, carbs like bread and rice, and fats and sugars). This 1992 update was meant to paint a proportionally-accurate picture of what to eat in a day.

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photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture

The food pyramid later transformed into MyPyramid in 2005, which then turned into the current guide, called MyPlate, in 2011. MyPlate breaks foods into four main groups (vegetables, fruit, protein, and grains), plus dairy as a smaller fifth and final group.

This visual goes beyond total daily eats and instead breaks down which foods, and how much of each, to put on your plate at every meal, says Melissa Prest, M.S., R.D.N., C.S.R., L.D.N. Thinking about food choices meal-by-meal makes healthy eating feel more doable, doesn’t it?

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photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture

To make sure your healthy eating efforts are up to date, we rounded up the eight biggest changes between the good ‘ol food pyramid and today’s MyPlate.

  1. Tailor Your Nutrition To Your Needs

The basic MyPlate image doesn’t include serving sizes because the USDA now recommends individualized dietary guidelines, based on age, sex, activity level, and height and weight.

You can easily calculate your personal calorie and serving recommendations at ChooseMyPlate.gov. They also provide an online tool to track your daily food intake and activity.

  1. Say Adios To Excess Fats And Sugars

When the food guide pyramid debuted, one of its most striking changes was the depiction of fats and sugars at the top, representing the smallest part of our daily diet, says Delbridge. This was the first time the government addressed these unhealthy habits and recommended that Americans consume sweets sparingly.

The current MyPlate visual completely eliminates fat and sugar, and its more detailed online resources urge you to limit added fat, sodium, and sugar in every food choice you make.

Related: Is Sugar Really All That Bad For You?

  1. Focus On Fat Quantity And Quality

While fat’s not included on MyPlate, you shouldn’t be avoiding it completely. The guide’s personalized online portion tool allows for between five and seven daily teaspoons of oil for adults, depending on age and sex. It also considers nuts, seeds, and fatty fish part of the ‘protein’ portion of your plate, and avocados and olives as part of the ‘vegetables’ portion.

“The emphasis with fat is more about quality than quantity now,” says Kristen F. Gradney, M.H.A., R.D.N., L.D.N., spokesperson for Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “A recommendation of butter isn’t the same as a recommendation of olive oil, avocado, or nuts.” So, don’t expect butter to ever be its own food group again.
The unsaturated fats in most vegetable and nut oils provide essential nutrients and have a place in a balanced diet, Gradney explains.

Related: 7 Fatty Foods That Are Good For Your Health

  1. Eat Carbohydrates In Moderation

The food pyramid identified breads, cereals, rice, and pasta as the foundation for a healthy diet. It recommended six to eleven servings per day. The MyPlate slashed recommended intake to five to eight daily servings, depending on gender and age.

The MyPlate design includes grains as just a quarter of your plate, reducing the amount of carbs Americans need (and think they need) to consume, says Gradney.

  1. Go For Whole Grains

The food pyramid also treated refined carbs and whole grains equally, says Delbridge. We know better these days: Whole grains contain more fiber than refined grains, helping to keep your blood sugar in check while feeling fuller for longer. This is why whole grains are a healthier choice than refined carbs like pasta.

MyPlate specifically uses the word ‘grains’ instead of the old ‘bread, cereal, rice, and pasta’ to emphasize the importance of the type of carbs we consume. It recommends that at least half of our daily intake comes from whole grains.

Related: How To Eat Carbs And Still Lose Weight

  1. More Fruits And Veggies

Old recommendations suggested Americans eat three to five servings of veggies and two to four servings of fruits per day. Even combined (between five and nine servings), they made up a smaller portion of the proposed daily diet than grains and refined carbs.

MyPlate, though, emphasizes that half your plate should be fruits and vegetables.

“The average American consumes one serving of fruit and one serving of vegetable per day,” says Angel Planells, M.S., R.D.N, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “I’ve personally used this data to encourage clients to increase their fruit and vegetable intake.” And rightfully so, considering fruits and veggies are packed with crucial vitamins and nutrients.

  1. Be Picky With Your Proteins

The MyPlate guidelines recommend a wide variety of plant and animal protein sources, from poultry and beans to eggs and nuts. They also suggest consuming at least eight ounces of seafood per week (particularly omega-3-containing fatty fish like salmon), and that any meat or poultry be lean or low-fat.

Additionally, the USDA now also recommends we limit processed meat products, like deli meats, which are often high in sodium, and cooking methods (hello fry-ups!) that add considerable saturated fat to protein

  1. Get Moving

Though there’s no jogging stick figure on the MyPlate graphic (like there was on its predecessor, MyPyramid), its personalized online component tailors your individual nutrition needs based on your activity level, and its tracking tool includes space for you to check off whether you’ve gotten at least two and a half hours of moderate aerobic activity each week. This continues to illustrate the importance of physical activity, along with solid nutrition, for a total approach to healthy living.

Check out just how much the USDA visual guides have changed over the years: 

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7 Foods That Can Make You Gassy

We’ve all heard the nursery rhyme about beans being the ‘musical fruit’ (the more you eat—well, you know…) But while beans may be the most notorious gas-producing food, they’re not alone.

Everyone’s gut microbiome (the composition of bacteria that live inside of your body) is unique, explains Niket Sonpal, M.D., of Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, so the foods that trigger major gas buildup can vary from person to person—but we’ve all experienced the feeling.

Often times, the bloating and gas are caused by how well your body is able to digest the foods you consume. If you’re not able to break down the foods completely, then the bacteria in your gut will feed on what is left, causing gas and bloating, says integrative dietitian Robin Foroutan, R.D.N., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Your best bet for beating gas is to use an elimination diet to identify the foods that really inflate you, says Rachel Begin, M.S., R.D.N. You can work with a registered dietitian to cut certain foods from your diet for a set period of time, and reintroduce them one at a time to identify any potential intolerances. From there, your physician can perform a diagnostic test to confirm.

If you’re trying to keep your inner air pressure at a minimum, look out for these seven common gas-causing foods.

  1. Sugar

Some types of sugar are considered FODMAPs (fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharaides and polyols), a group of foods that often cause gas and discomfort, says Sonpal.

Two culprits here are monosaccharaides, like fructose in fruits, and disaccharides, like the sugar in dairy (lactose). “These sugars are converted into carbon dioxide in your gut and can contribute to an overload of gas in your belly,” says Sonpal.

Additionally, sugar alcohols, like sorbitol or maltitol, fall into the ‘polyol’ category of FODMAPs. You’ll find them in diet or calorie-free food products like sugar-free gum or soda—and while they may spare calories, our bodies can’t digest these alternative sweeteners, often leading to gas or stomach upset, like diarrhea, says Sonpal.

Related: 10 Possible Reasons Why You’re Suddenly so Bloated

  1. Certain Vegetables

You know they’re good for you, but some veggies may leave you tooting. Certain veggies, like cauliflower, mushrooms, artichokes, and asparagus, also contain FODMAPs and may be tricky for your gut to process properly. The veggies that create a little extra wind often vary from person to person, says Sonpal.

Fiber may also make you gassy—especially if you eat a lot out of the blue. Insoluble fiber found in cabbage-like vegetables and root vegetables doesn’t break down in the small intestine and ferments in the colon, making it a common culprit, according to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD).

  1. Legumes & Beans

Like with cabbage and root veggies, beans often blow you up because of their fiber content. “Sometimes the fiber in foods like beans can be difficult to break down completely,” says Foroutan. The IFFGD recommends gradually increasing the fiber in your diet over time to minimize gut-busting gassiness.

Related: 3 Ways To Show Your Tummy Some TLC

  1. Carbonated Beverages

Sparkling water may be a favorite, but it can mess with your gut. “The process of carbonation forms pockets of air in your favorite fizzy drinks that can ultimately contribute to gas or general intestinal discomfort,”says Jackie Newgent, R.D.N., culinary nutritionist and author of The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook.

Newgent also warns that many carbonated beverages contain the FODMAP fructose, which may cause major flatulence in some people as it ferments in the colon. Soda and fizzy drinks that involve fruit juice are often loaded with this type of monosaccharide. Instead, try putting lemon slices, orange slices, or strawberries (which have a much lower amount of fructose) in your water if you like to sip on something sweet.

  1. Dairy

 

Plenty of us have experienced threatening stomach grumbles or excess gas after noshing on cheese or ice cream, and that’s because many people don’t produce enough lactase, the digestive enzyme that breaks down lactose. And sadly, we produce less of it as we age, Begin explains. Meanwhile, people with celiac or Crohn’s disease, or who were recently ill or underwent surgery, may also experience worsened lactose intolerance because of possible damage to the small intestine.

Some level of dairy sensitivity is common for many adults, but if you’re truly lactose intolerant, you’ll probably deal with some explosive toilet time in addition to discomfort and gas, says Sonpal. (Many people take the enzyme lactase in supplement form to combat such moments.)

  1. Wheat

Wheat gets a pretty bad rap when it comes to stomach issues, and the trouble boils down to a word you’ve certainly heard before: gluten. (That’s the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley often associated with stomach troubles.)

But let’s clear one thing up: Feeling extra gassy after eating wheat may indicate a gluten sensitivity or intolerance, but doesn’t mean you have celiac disease, explains Sonpal.

In celiac disease (which can be identified with a blood test), the body cannot break down gluten and the immune system reacts by attacking the small intestine and damaging its lining, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation. This results not only in loads of GI distress, but diminishes the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, potentially leading to other long-term health issues.

  1. Chewing Gum  

Not only do most sugar-free gums contain sorbitol (a FODMAP), but constant chomping can make you swallow excess air, says Newgent. So in addition to gut bacteria feeding on those undigested sweeteners and releasing gas, your not-so-cute chewing also contributes to the bulge you feel in your belly later on.