Problems with bloating? Watch your sodium intake

In the journals

If you suffer from regular bloating after eating, you may want to check your sodium intake, suggests a study published in July 2019 in The American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Scientists analyzed data from the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension–Sodium trial (DASH-Sodium) from two decades ago. The original study compared the DASH diet — a high-fiber diet low in fat and high in fruits, nuts, and vegetables — against a low-fiber control diet. The study also looked at sodium intake as the participants consumed both high- and low-sodium versions of their diets. The study primarily focused on how dietary sodium affected blood pressure.

In the new analysis, the researchers found — as they'd expected — that the high-fiber DASH diet increased the risk of bloating by about 41% compared with the low-fiber control diet. Also, men were more susceptible to bloating than women were.

But it turns out that it wasn't just the high fiber that caused the bloating. Digging deeper, the researchers discovered that the high-sodium versions of both the DASH and control diets collectively increased the risk of bloating by about 27% compared with the low-sodium versions. How sodium causes bloating is still not understood, but the fact that sodium causes water retention may be a factor.

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