You may be asking yourself, I do intermittent fasting daily but am bloated and constipated. Is this normal?
Yes, it is common to experience bloating during intermittent fasting. This may be associated with the body’s temporary adaptation to both water and food restriction (i.e. hunger and thirst). It will normally resolve within a few days of continuing your fasts.
Why do we experience bloating?
As we know, bloating is the distention of the abdominal area due to the retention of excess gas. [1,2] The main causes of this condition are low-fiber foods and excessive consumption of sugary drinks such as juices and sodas.[1,3,4] Also, some heartburn drugs such as proton pump inhibitors have been known to cause bloating.[5,6] Some people think that by avoiding certain foods or drinks they can prevent bloating. However, this is not always the case.
Although avoiding the obvious culprits such as carbonated drinks and fried/fatty food is a good idea, there are some surprising foods that may cause unpleasant bloating.
Cabbage. A surprising cause of bloating is cabbage.  Even though we usually think this vegetable as healthy and low in calories, it actually contains oligosaccharides: complex sugars that can’t be digested by most people’s bodies and therefore tend to ferment in the gut and produce gas (hence the gas pains and bloating).
Cucumber. Cucumber is supposed to be a hydrating food but it can cause bloating as well.  This vegetable contains asparagine, an amino acid that cannot be fully digested by the body because of a certain enzyme deficiency. In asparagine’s undigested form it acts as a powerful colon stimulant. This is the reason why people with irritable bowel syndrome, which is a disorder in which the colon becomes hypersensitive to certain stimuli, cannot tolerate this vegetable very well.
Beans and Cauliflower. Other surprising bloating culprits are beans and cauliflower. Beans have certain sugars that can cause flatulence and intestinal discomfort, so they should be avoided if you suffer of bloating.  On the other hand cauliflower is not very well-known as a food that cause gas, but it does. This vegetable contains raffinose and stachyose, sugars that cannot be digested by most people’s intestines. Their undigested form ferments in the gut and produces gas.
Grapefruit. One fruit that causes bloating is grapefruit.  Even if this citrus fruit has been shown to be a powerful fat-burner, it cannot be recommended as a healthy food because of its high sugar content. Although not as sugary as other fruits, grapefruit contains a lot of fructose, a type of sugar that is not well-tolerated by most people’s bodies.
Carbonated water. A food that can make bloating worse is carbonated water. Carbonated drinks are acidic and cause the body to produce more gas as a defense mechanism against this acidification.  In addition to bloating some symptoms associated with excess gas are belching, flatulence and abdominal pain.
If you suffer of bloating you should avoid eating sugary foods (with the exception of fruits), carbonated drinks, fried/fatty food, cabbage, cucumbers, beans and cauliflower. Also fizzy drinks might make your discomfort worse so it is better to avoid them as well.
In order to prevent bloating you should eat a balanced diet including fruits and vegetables rich in fibers, wholemeal breads and cereals, lean protein from meat and dairy products and healthy fats from avocado, nuts or olive oil. Also drinking plenty of water is essential because it keeps your digestive system hydrated which promotes digestion and prevents bloating.
It is also possible that there are other factors in play.
Bloating can also occur if you are not used to eating large meals in one sitting. If this describes your situation, start off by breaking down your eating window into several smaller meals or snacks—say, three smaller 200 calorie meals that are spaced out evenly during your feasting window. This will help you adapt to the volume and decrease bloating during fasts.
If you are experiencing bloating and/or constipation, try to fast longer.
You should begin to notice that your body adapts after a few days of fasting, at which point these symptoms will disappear. Also, make sure to drink plenty of water during your fast – this can reduce the risk of constipation.
Other things you can try to reduce bloating
You may want to try taking an over-the-counter anti-gas relief medication according to its directions. This will help break down the trapped gasses in your intestines.
The bloating that occurs during a fast is usually harmless, though it can be uncomfortable. Some people even mistake it for hunger pangs.
There are many ways to approach the topic of bloating during intermittent fasting. Each of these has a different solution, as well as a few self-care tips to reduce bloating from the beginning.
In conclusion, bloating is a condition caused by the accumulation of excess gas in your digestive system. Although avoiding certain foods might seem like a good idea to prevent this uncomfortable disorder, there are some surprising foods that cause this problem as well -such as grapefruit and cabbage- not eating these foods is just as important as avoiding carbonated drinks, fried/fatty food and sugary foods. If you suffer of bloating what you should do is to eat a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables, wholemeal breads and cereals, lean protein from meat and dairy products and healthy fats from avocado, nuts or olive oil. Drinking plenty of water is essential because it keeps your digestive system hydrated which promotes digestion and prevents bloating.
1. “Bloating.” Healthline, http://www.healthline.com/symptom/bloating#Overview1 . Accessed 5 Oct. 2016.
2. “What causes bloating? – Mayo Clinic.” Mayoclinic.com, http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/bloating/basics/causes/SY00019 . Accessed 7 Oct. 2016.
3. “Causes of bloating – RightDiagnosis.” Rightdiagnosis.com, http://www.rightdiagnosis.com/symptom/bloating_causes.htm . Accessed 7 Oct. 2016.
4. “Causes of Bloating.” LIVESTRONG, http://www.livestrong.com/article/564374-causes-of-bloating/. Accessed 7 Oct. 2016.
5. “Bloating.” Bloating, http://www.bloating.org/symptoms-of-bloating/. Accessed 7 Oct. 2016.
6. “What Causes Bloating? – WebMD.” Webmd, http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/bloating . Accessed 7 Oct. 2016.
7. “Top 10 Trigger Foods for IBS Bloating, Gas & Constipation.” Healthline, http://www.healthline.com/health/irritable-bowel-syndrome/trigger-foods#section8 . Accessed 7 Oct. 2016.
8. “What Foods Cause Bloating and Gas? – LIVESTRONG.COM.” LIVESTRONG, http://www.livestrong.com/article/452920-what-foods-cause-bloating/. Accessed 7 Oct. 2016.
9. “12 Surprising Causes of Bloating.” Healthline, http://www.healthline.com/symptom/bloating#causes8 . Accessed 7 Oct. 2016.
10. “Facts About Bloating | Prevention.” Coconut Oil Benefits For Skin, Hair And Health, https://www.prevention.com/eatclean/