Are your clothes feeling a little snug today? Before you swear off all flavorful foods or vow to spend every waking moment at the gym, you might want to take a closer look at the seemingly innocent everyday habits that can be leading culprits for bloating -- like chewing gum.
"Aerophagia -- air swallowing -- can make you go up a dress size in a day," Dr. Chutkan says says in an interview for the web series #OWNSHOW. "If you're chewing a lot of gum, sucking on hard candy, eating and talking on the phone, if you're a mouth-breather… these are all things that can lead to a little known condition called aerophagia -- a major cause of bloating."
Another culprit? Sugar.
"[Sugar] encourages growth of the wrong kind of bacteria," Dr. Chutkan says. "It sends some of the yeast species and other undesirable gut bacteria into a literal feeding frenzy and that ends up producing a lot of bloating [and] extra gas from these bad bacteria."
Many people have been encouraged to stick with a high-fiber diet to maintain their digestive health, but fiber is another big cause of bloating. So, should you still incorporate a lot of fiber in your diet? Dr. Chutkan says yes, but there's a smarter way to do it without feeling the bloat.
"Fiber is sort of like the broom that sweeps the intestines clean, but too much fiber at once can cause a big plug in your intestines," she says. "I recommend a high-fiber diet, but spreading the fiber out throughout the day in small increments as opposed to eating a huge, huge fiber meal, which can really end up making you feel bloated."