Expert reveals the alcoholic drinks which cause bloating

The party season tipples to keep bloating at bay: Expert reveals why you should skip diet drinks and spirits in favour of a glass of red for a flat tum

  • Gastroenterologist Simon Smale, revealed how to keep bloating at bay 
  • Polyphenols in red wine feed the microbiome – leaving you with a healthy gut
  • Simon speaks exclusively to Femail about the festive drink swaps to make

Festive party season is full of fun but the constant socialising can soon take a toll on our bodies and leave us feeling bloated and sluggish. 

Fortunately London-based gastroenterologist Simon Smale has shared his tips on how you can keep a flat tum while still enjoying yourself at your Christmas soirees. 

The gut expert, who is a brand ambassador for probiotic Alflorex, explained why you should swap your spirits and diet mixers in favour of a single glass of red if you want to keep your bloating at bay.  

SWAP SPIRITS FOR RED WINE 

London-based gastroenterologist Simon Smale why you should swap your spirits and diet mixers in favour of a single glass of red if you want to keep your bloating at bay. Stock image

Ditch the spirits altogether, Simon says, and opt for just one glass of red wine, for a healthy gut. 

‘Recent research by the British Gut Project shows that spirits in particular are bad news for gut health. But it’s not all bad news where alcohol is concerned, as it also found that red wine can be beneficial. 

‘Its benefits are down to polyphenols, the top class anti-oxidants which you can also find in artisanal ciders, which feed the microbiome, increasing the diversity of microbes. 

‘In fact, red wine is better for the microbiome than grape juice, which also contains polyphenols, so alcohol plus fruit is good. Just stick to glass rather than a bottle.’

WHAT IS BLOATING?

‘Bloating can occur in the abdominal area when large amounts of air or gas build up in the gastrointestinal tract,’ Simon explains, ‘Eating is a common cause of bloating because when the body digests food it produces gas. 

‘Other common causes are carbonated drinks (both alcoholic and sodas) as well as chewing gum. People also swallow air when eating or drinking which then enters the gastrointestinal tract.’

DON’T CHOOSE DIET MIXERS

While if you do opt for a spirit with a mixer don’t pick the low calorie options. 

‘Artificial sugars such as xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol are also FODMAPs so it’s best to avoid any ‘diet’ mixers.’

CUT DOWN ON THE FIZZ

While we normally celebrate at the Christmas party with a glass of Prosecco, Simon says we need to limit our fizzy drinks, as too many can lead to an overgrowth of gas-causing bacteria.

‘Carbonated drinks, like champagne, and spirits and fizzy mixers, are a double whammy. They are gaseous and full of sugar so you should cut them out if you suffer from gut health problems.

‘These create gas in the intestine that leads to flatulence, so ditch sugary, fizzy drinks and drink water instead.’

While we normally celebrate at the Christmas party with a glass of Prosecco, Simon says we need to limit our fizzy drinks, as too many can lead to an overgrowth of gas-causing bacteria.

ORDER A GLASS OF WATER

‘Alcohol can also increase the amounts of fluids lost through your urine, causing dehydration and so could slow down the transit of waste elimination in the body. To counteract the dehydration, you could try offsetting a glass of water with a glass of alcohol.

SKIP THE BEER

HOW YOU DRINK MAKES A DIFFERENCE

Eating or drinking too fast allows you to gulp down air at the same time as the food or drink, Simon reveals.

‘By slowing down, you are less likely to bloat. By ingesting slower, chewing thoroughly or sipping slowly it gives the food time to digest properly and this too is likely to make you less gaseous.

‘You also need to eat regularly, never leaving large periods of time between meals or skipping meals. Avoid anything which is greasy, gassy or spicy. It’s also not a good idea to eat all your calories in one go at the end of the day. A takeaway with a beer is not a good idea!’

Many people think the term ‘beer belly’ refers to the increase of belly fat around the abdomen, however Simon says it can also refer to the bloating caused by drinking beer. 

‘Beer is a carbonated beverage made from sources of fermentable carbs like barley, maize, wheat and rice, along with some yeast and water. 

‘It contains not only carbon dioxide, but also fermentable carbs (which turn into sugar), which are two well-known causes of bloating. 

‘In addition, the grains used to brew the beer also often contain gluten. Carbonated drinks are another very common cause of bloating as they contain high amounts of carbon dioxide. 

‘This means more air in the digestive tract as you are swallowing large amounts of this gas, some of which gets trapped in the digestive system, which can cause uncomfortable bloating and even cramping.’

… AND WHEN IT COMES TO FOOD 

While the humble Brussels sprout is normally a firm fixture on the Christmas dinner table it could be why you’re suffering with bloating by boxing day. Stock picture 

Different foods affect different people, but the main culprits are often beans and lentils, Simon reveals, because of their high fibre content. 

‘They can cause bloating as they contain FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols) which are short-chain carbohydrates that escape digestion and are then fermented by gut bacteria in the colon, therefore contributing to excessive gas production and bloating. 

EXERCISE CAN HELP 

While Simon reveals that exercise has been shown to help gut symptoms from flatulence, to bloating and constipation. 

‘The NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidance, suggests that we should all be doing 150 minutes or regular exercise weekly. That’s exercise that makes us short of breath every week.

‘Exercise is good for IBS for a number of reasons as firstly it has effects on gut motility and function. Plus, the more exercise you do the better you will sleep which has positive benefits on the way our brains and our guts both communicate with each other. 

‘Exercise also helps to establish those normal patterns and normal function, both in terms of our brains and in terms of our guts.

‘Stress may also be the cause of your symptoms. You can try to relieve your stress with yoga or meditation. Taking 20-30 minutes out of your day to practice yoga will significantly help your stress levels.

‘Wheat is also a trigger for bloating as it contains gluten – another major source of FODMAPs, which can cause digestive problems in many people such as bloating, gas, diarrhoea and stomach pain. 

And while the humble Brussels sprout is normally a firm fixture on the Christmas dinner table it could be why you’re suffering with bloating by boxing day.

‘The cruciferous vegetable family includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts and several others, which are very nutritious as they contain essential nutrients like fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron and potassium, however, they also contain FODMAPs, so they may cause bloating in some people.’

Simon also suggested taking a probiotic.

He explained: ‘There is a growing body of evidence that probiotics may benefit symptoms of IBS which include bloating. But make sure you look for a probiotic that is clinically proven though. 

‘A clinically proven probiotic is one that has evidence that it works for patients with irritable bowel. That means that is has to get to the bit of the gut that it is actually meant to affect. 

‘It must also get there in sufficient numbers so that it actually impacts upon IBS symptoms. Alflorex, for example, is clinically proven to target gut symptoms including bloating 

Source: Read Full Article