The surprising foods stopping you from getting a flat stomach

While it's definitely healthy, broccoli could be a culprit in keeping you from having a flat stomach. Photo / Getty
While it's definitely healthy, broccoli could be a culprit in keeping you from having a flat stomach. Photo / Getty

If you've been eating a healthy range of fruits and vegetables to help you beat the bloat, it may be having the opposite effect.

According to the experts, there are a range of foods that may be ruining your efforts to have a flat tummy, and some of them, including brocolli and edamame beans, may surprise you.

Raw vegetables

While fibre is good for us, the high levels of fibre, as well as natural sugars, in raw veggies may cause tummy trouble.

Some of the worst offenders include polyols in plums, oligosaccharides in beans and legumes, and cellulose in raw vegetables.

Nutritional expert and author, Dr Marilyn Glenville, says cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are also on the list of foods that can trigger an upset stomach.

"For some people these vegetables are not digested completely in the small intestines, maybe due to a lack of enzymes," she told the Daily Mail.

"It means, that when they reach the large intestines, bacteria in that part of the gut can cause gas and bloating when breaking down those foods."

The same goes for beans, pulses and lentils, which can cause the stomach to swell.

if you're sensitive to bloating, stick to salad vegeatbles, which are less likely to cause problems, or try soaking lentils overnight in water with lemon juice or vinegar. This helps to reduce the amount of phytic acid, a known stomach irritant.


If you have an intolerance to dairy or lactose, drinking milk or consuming dairy products will cause bloating.

Shona Wilkinson, nutritionist at, told the Daily Mail: "... some people are intolerant or allergic to the proteins in milk and dairy products and others have trouble digesting lactose.

"Lactose is also a sugar and if an individual is deficient in the enzyme (Lactase) required to break down the lactose, this can lead to symptoms of bloating."

Stone fruits

The likes of plums, peaches and even dried fruit are packed with organic compounds known as sugar alcohols.

While they are beneficial to our digestion and overall health, depending on the bacteria, they can ferment and cause gas and bloating.


An excess of sugar in any form can lead to gassiness. Again, if you have an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your gut, sugar will feed the less-friendly bacteria and lead to bloating.


A spicy meal can stimulate the release of stomach acid. According to Dr Glenville, "These can cause irritation and others can ferment in the digestive system causing bloating."


Adding extra salt to your food is not only bad for your heart and blood pressure: the more salt in your diet, the more water you will retain. And the more you will appear bloated and heavier.

Chewing gum

You may chew chewing gum to avoid eating more, but according to Wilkinson, foods such as gum, which leads to excess air being ingested, or fizzy drinks, which lead to "bubbles" in the stomach, will bloat you.

When you chew gum, it signals to your body that you are about to swallow food. In response, the body begins to produce digestive enzymes. When these are not not used, you're likely to become bloated.

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