Everyone in some way or another struggle with bloating every day. Even though people assume that the only way to beat belly bloat is the foods you eat, they are not entirely correct. Even though that is true, when you eat is as important as what you eat. According to research in the Nutrition and Healthy Aging journal, eating within an eight-hour window between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. could help you lose more weight than dining well into the evening.
The author of The Gut Makeover and nutritional therapist, Jeannette Hyde, says eating within a restricted time-frame could also be the secret to beating the bloat for good too. Hyde has shared her top 10 tips that will help get rid of that bloat – and number one being to eat within daylight hours. I guess I can’t eat that midnight cookie anymore.
The new study explored the effects of eating within an eight-hour time-frame between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. in obese results. The final results of the study were adults who ate in this time window lost more weight than those who ate across a 10 or 11-hour period in the day. Mind you, there was no calorie counting involved in this study as well.
This kind of diet, which is known as time-restricted feeding, is encouraged by Hyde. Even though it is not the kind of diet that tells you what you should and shouldn’t eat, it is very effective and can help reduce bloating. Here are Hyde’s top 10 tips for getting a flat stomach by changing your diet and your eating habits.
1. Eat When The Sun Is Out
“Try to eat during the daylight hours. The digestive system is primed to work best during the daytime, and slows down its digestive functions at night which can lead to digestive complaints,” Hyde said. “We have evolved to eat in daylight – it wasn’t until recently we had light at night to cook and eat at a time which isn’t our natural rhythm.”
Even though this might sound like a pain, try it out for one week. See if eating during daylight hours actually makes a difference in your belly bloat.
2. Don’t Snooze Until You’ve Completely Digested
“Leave at least two and a half hours between finishing your last meal and going to sleep, Hyde said. “Contractions which move food along the digestive tract slow down at night, meaning you can have digestive issues, wind and bloating, if you eat close to bedtime.”
This tip is an important one to remember because everyone seems to eat very close to their bedtime. Whether it be out to a late dinner with friends or sneaking into the fridge before bed because you suddenly got hungry, try to limit as much as you can. That way, you can enjoy yourself when you do go out to a late dinner and won’t feel so guilty.
3. Fast For 12 To 14 Hours
Timing really is everything. According to Hyde, the timing of your meals can be even more important than what you eat if you are trying to lose weight. There is no point in counting calories if you practice this type of feeding.
“Having a fasting stretch of 12-14 hours between dinner and breakfast can promote weight loss and encourage beneficial bacteria to thrive in the gut which can improve metabolism and balance hunger hormones,” she said. “It’s easy to do if you are eating nice and early – say 7 p.m. dinner and then just having water between then and 7 a.m. breakfast the next day.”
We know this may sound like a stretch, so maybe try to fast for 10 hours and increase the hours gradually. That way it will be easier on your body and you won’t give up so fast (ha, get it?)!
3. Drink Kefir
What the heck is kefir? It is a kind of fermented milk that contains billions of beneficial bacteria, which you can parachute into your gut to help redress the balance between bacteria and non-friendly bacteria.
“Kefir, a staple in Eastern Europe, tastes like a slightly fizzy drinking yogurt and is deliciously blended with fruit,” Hyde said.
If you are lactose-intolerant, Hyde says it contains very low lactose after it has been fermented. This means it is often well-tolerated by people who usually do not tolerate milk foods well, and it can help plant lactobacilli bacteria into your gut so you tolerate lactose from other foods better as well.
No wonder those Europeans are so skinny!
5. Have A Variety In Your Diet
“Try to eat lots of variety,” Hyde said. Often when people have chronic bloating they become nervous of many different foods and cut out lots which contain fiber. This can sometimes help in the short term, but for long-term gut health it can make gut health worse.”
She emphasized that it is very crucial to include LOTS of different vegetables and SOME fruit. Don’t put your body in a state of shock; build up gradually.
“We all have about a kilo and half of bacteria in the digestive tract, principally the colon (the last compartment),” she said. “This needs to be thriving with lots of different types of bacteria for good health, and the way to promote lots, is by feeding the bacteria lots of different types of textures and colors from plants.”
6. Eliminate Gluten For A Period Of Time
“Do you suspect that wheat or the protein in it, gluten, make you feel gassy and bloated?” Hyde said. “Does your tummy feel like a hard, inflated drum in the hours after a pizza or a bowl of pasta?”
Maybe it’s time to cut out gluten for a little. Try to avoid gluten for three weeks and see if it makes a difference in your belly bloat. After three weeks, try to put gluten back into your diet and see what your reaction is. This type of diet tip is called elimination and challenge. It can help with tailoring your diet for a longer term and give you some information on your body that you never knew before.
7. Start A Food Diary
This food diary system is not like the others you’ve tried. Not only will you keep track of what you are eating, but you will keep track of your reactions to the food as well.
“Everyone is individually different and what foods suit one person may not suit another,” Hyde said. “This is where a food and symptom diary comes in handy.”
Hyde says to write down on one side of the paper the foods in every meal and snack you eat, and then on the other side of the paper any symptoms of bloating and when they appear. You may discover a pattern and find out which foods are the culprits to make you bloat.
8. Eat. Slower.
We cannot emphasize this tip enough. You know that feeling when you just finished a long day at work, and all you want to do is stuff your face with anything on the dinner table? Or shoveling food down your throat while on your lunch break? This might not surprise you, but food which hasn’t been chewed properly can cause bloating further down the digestive tract.
“Leaving your desk for 20 minutes and finding somewhere quiet and relaxing to eat may seem like a small change, but for some people can reward big results with less bloating,” Hyde said. “Try to relax when you eat.”
9. Cut Down On Sugar
This one seems pretty self-explanatory, but keeping your sugar intake low is key. There is no one reason why sugar can lead to an imbalance of beneficial bacteria and non-beneficial bacteria (known as dysbiosis), and bloating. But if you want to look and feel your best, keeping sugar as a treat will be worth it in the long run.
And don’t think those diet drinks are giving you a run for your money either. Hyde says artificial sweeteners have been shown to cause dysbiosis in animals and may be worth avoiding if you want a flat tummy as well.
Stick to flat water folks.
10. Take A Trip To Your GP
Did you follow the last 9 tips above but still can’t pinpoint why you are bloated? Maybe there are particular foods in your diet that are the cause to this. It might also be worth seeing your GP and ask for a stool test to see if a parasite infection is present and get it eliminated.
“Parasites can cause chronic and severed bloating, usually at its most dramatic at the end of the day,” Hyde said.
It’s time to say goodbye to that belly bloat. These 10 expert-approved tips can make you feel and look your best ever.