Stomach bloating after eating bread leads many people to believe they have an allergy to wheat. But experts say genuine food allergy is rarely to blame.
A bloated tummy may actually occur because of wheat sensitivity, which is also known as wheat intolerance.
But does being sensitive to wheat mean you have to cut out wheat staples such as bread from your diet in order for you to stop bloating?
Depending on how severe your wheat intolerance is you may not need to cut out bread completely, according to the NHS.
It says: “Some people with wheat sensitivity have no problems when they eat toast (cooked wheat tends to be easier to digest), sourdough bread, bread cooked with flour made from French wheat, or any bread from a specialist bakery, rather than a supermarket.”
Dr Isabel Skypala, specialist allergy dietitian at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, also offered her bread recommendation.
She said: “Bakeries on supermarkets use the Chorleywood bread-making process, which cuts out the second rising to speed up the baking.
“People seem to have more problems digesting supermarket breads, so I’d always recommend avoiding store-bought loaves.”
If bread isn’t the cause of your bloating, and you don’t have a wheat intolerance, other foods may be to blame, such as watermelon, apples and onions.
Dr Ayesha Akbar, consultant gastroenterologist from The London Digestive Centre at The Princes Grace Hospital, part of HCA UK, told Express.co.uk that while watermelon is a refreshing snack in summer, it contains troublesome fructose.
She said: “Whilst there’s no denying watermelon is healthy, many people don’t realise that it contains lots of fructose; a type of sugar which is not easily absorbed by the body. For those who struggle to absorb this type of sugar properly, watermelon will cause the release of hydrogen and methane gases, which will ultimately lead to bloating.
“If you find that your tummy bloats after eating watermelon, try replacing it with ‘bloat-free’ fruit alternatives, such as grapefruit and bananas.”
Dr Akbar said: “Similarly to watermelon, apples also contain a high amount of fructose and can lead to ‘fructose malabsorption’ issues,” explained Dr Akbar.
She added: “Cooking apples before eating them can help to reduce the amount of fructose and therefore decrease the negative side effects. Eating just half an apple will also decrease the amount of gas produced by the body. Taking time to chew will also give your body more time to digest the fibre and fructose, which can sometimes help to reduce bloating.
“If you find that these changes aren’t making much of a difference, try eating blueberries as a replacement snack.”
Dr Akbar said: “Onions contain ‘fructans’; a type of short-chain carbohydrate often referred to as FODMAPs. They can cause unpleasant digestive symptoms, especially for those with sensitive stomachs or who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
“If you enjoy piling up the onions on your BBQ hot dogs or adding them to your salads, ensure that you cook them thoroughly as this will help to reduce the amount of bloating that they cause. Or, if you enjoy onion flavouring but want to avoid the bloat, try using onion infused oils, such as extra virgin olive oil, instead of plain ones.”