Eating a diet full of unhealthy foods may cause nothing more than digestive distress for a few uncomfortable hours. But eating the wrong foods over a long time can lead to serious digestive health problems, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gallstones, coeliac disease, constipation and diarrhoea.
It makes sense when you think about it - your digestive system is an intricate system that's about nine metres long, consisting of “pipes”, “drains” and “valves” that are critical to your survival. The well-being of this remarkable “engine” is completely dependent on the foods you eat.
These are the five worst foods for your digestive system, according to studies.
Five foods that are proven to cause digestive problems
One study conducted by researchers from the SUNY Health Science Center in the US found that 42% of IBS
patients “with alcohol abuse or dependence meet the criteria for IBS
”, compared to only 2.5% of patients without alcohol issues.
#2: Fried foods
Mounting research shows that your stomach takes longer to break down the trans fats in fried foods like chips, burgers, fried chicken and other greasy eats, compared to healthy fats found in whole foods like avocados and coconuts. During this extra time, gas builds up in your gut, which causes boating.
What if your digestive issues like bloating, cramps and gas aren’t IBS?
When you see a doctor about your digestive issues like gas, bloating and gut pain, you may be diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
But what if your symptoms aren’t being caused by IBS?
Find out why following a treatment for IBS may not be doing you any good and what tests you need to ask your doctor for to get real answers.
Find out here...
#3: Dairy products
According to Dr Saville Furman, a family physician and part-time lecturer in family medicine and primary care at the University of Cape Town, many people are intolerant of dairy products because they’re deficient in lactose. “This is an enzyme that breaks down lactose to glucose, which is then readily absorbed by the intestinal tract,” he explains. ““Even small amounts of milk or dairy products can cause diarrhoea in individuals with lactase deficiency. Large amounts of alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweetener, fatty or spicy foods cause diarrhoea in others.”
#4: Baked goods
A Harvard University study found that constipation
affects approximately 80% of people at some point in their lives and that baked goods such as cookies and pastries could be to blame. These comfort foods are low in fibre and fluid, not to mention packed with refined carbohydrates, researchers explained.
Researchers at Stanford University in the US found that bad bacteria take over your gut when you eat too many carbohydrate-rich foods like white bread and pasta. The study warned people on antibiotics to take extra caution, as it can reduce the amount of good gut bacteria even further.
Make sure you cut back on – or, better yet, eliminate – these foods that can wreak havoc on your gut.
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