March 20, 2011 -- Want to fit into your pants? Look at the carbs you're eating, says Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of A Woman's Guide to a Healthy Stomach. Many are high in one of five hard-to-digest sugars: lactose, fructose, fructans, sugar alcohols, and galactans.
To help relieve your symptoms, study your diet and follow these tips.
Stop milking itIf dairy makes you bloated, you may have developed lactose intolerance. Try lower-lactose foods (like hard cheese or yogurt) or lactose-free dairy products, or take a lactase enzyme.
Pick fruit carefullyBerries, grapes, and citrus contain a near-equal ratio of the sugars fructose and glucose, making them easier to digest than fruits with more fructose, such as honeydew, apples, and pears.
Switch your starchIf fructan-rich wheat, rye, or barley is behind your bloat, choose stomach-friendly rice, corn, oats, or potatoes.
Skip (some) fake sugarsSorbitol, xylitol, and mannitol are sugar alcohols found in diet sodas and sugar-free gum. Avoid these if they bother you, or opt for products made with stevia or aspartame instead.
Be smart about beansLimit galactan-rich legumes (soy nuts, chickpeas, lentils, and all beans), cabbage, and brussels sprouts if they're causing you trouble. Soaking dried beans overnight or taking the OTC enzyme Beano may help.
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