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10 Common Foods And Drinks That Can Cause Stomach Pain; How Many Of These Do You Eat Regularly?

Have you experienced sharp pains or chronic bloating after eating certain types of food? Nutritionists say that a majority of us experience stomach-related discomfort on a daily basis, and in most cases, it is linked to food, lifestyle habits and exercise.

Certain types of food can cause stomach pain and gas, and bloating, which can negatively affect our mental and physical well-being. Read on to know the common foods that can cause stomach pain.

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1. Raw Vegetables, Especially Tomato

Consuming raw vegetables, especially the nightshade family, such as artichokes, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, goji berries and peppers, can cause stomach discomfort and bowel problems [1]. Citrus vegetables, especially tomatoes, increase acid production in your stomach while decreasing the pressure in the lower oesophageal sphincter (a muscle that keeps food moving in the right direction at the end of the oesophagus), developing heartburn as well [2].

2. High-fibre Foods

Fibre-rich foods are healthy but should only be consumed in a limited quantity as excess fibre can result in stomach pain and bloating. Try avoiding high-fibre foods immediately before working out, as that can lead to bowel problems or stomach cramps during a workout [3]. Some high-fibre foods include legumes, nuts, fruits like bananas and apples etc.

3. Chewing Gum

Studies point out that chewing gum frequently can cause stomach problems and even trigger irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Chewing gum can cause you to swallow air pockets, which can cause abdominal pain and bloat [4]. Also, gum contains artificial sweeteners that may trigger stomachache.

4. Protein Bars

The majority of the protein bar brands available in shops are filled with artificial sweeteners and additives such as erythritol (sugar alcohol or polyol) that can hurt the tummy [5]. If you still want to enjoy protein bars, eat half at a time to allow the stomach to digest the substance easier.

5. Dairy

Dairy products (that are not fermented) can irritate the stomach and cause abdominal pain, mainly due to the presence of lactose [6]. Lactose is a type of sugar that is broken down in your body into energy by an enzyme called lactase. If an individual lacks lactase, dairy and milk products will cause significant gas, bloating, and diarrhoea. In addition to this, many cow's milks contains hormones, which can irritate the stomach linings.


6. Carbonated Drinks

A regular in the list of foods to avoid (irrespective of reason), carbonated or fizzy drinks can lead to stomach problems, as the bubbles can create air in our stomachs and lead to gas [7]. If you are someone who is prone to stomach aches, stick with flat drinks, such as water and fresh juice.

7. Alcohol

Alcohol, when consumed, passes through the digestive tract quickly and can cause stomach pains, nausea and abnormal bowel movements, such as diarrhoea [8]. Moreover, alcohol is low in nutrients and can cause inflammation in our guts, leading to discomfort and bloating. It can also lead to inflammation and irritation in your stomach because it can erode your stomach lining [9].

8. Spicy Foods

Consuming spicy foods in large quantities can irritate the lining of your oesophagus and stomach, which in turn increases acid production in your stomach while simultaneously decreasing the pressure in the lower oesophageal sphincter resulting in an upset stomach [10]. Some of the common stomach-related issues that are caused by spicy foods are gastritis and gastric ulcer.

9. Butter

Although we had mentioned dairy above, butter requires a special mention for its role as a high-fat food. Too much butter can affect our gut microbiome and cause stomach pain [11]. You can use olive oil or coconut oil when cooking instead of butter.

10. Gluten

Gluten is a protein found in many grains, including wheat, barley and rye and is common in foods such as bread, pasta, pizza and cereal [12]. Studies point out that gluten can cause stomach aches and lead to abnormal bowel movements, diarrhoea, and cramping.


Why Does Your Stomach Hurt After Eating?

One of the common reasons for the stomach to hurt after eating could be dyspepsia, which is another word for indigestion. Dyspepsia can cause abdominal pain, bloating, and a feeling of fullness after you eat.

Apart from indigestion, your stomach might also hurt after you eat because of an underlying condition and several other reasons [13].

  • GERD: One of the main reasons why this can occur is if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease. Also known as GERD, this condition can occur when the stomach acid irritates the lining of your oesophagus, creating heartburn and stomach pain in the process. You are likely to suffer from GERD if you tend to overeat or love spicy foods that allow the acid to flow up into your oesophagus and thus can be very painful [14]. If you think you're suffering from GERD, then you must try cutting back on spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol.
  • IBS: Another condition is when you have irritable bowel syndrome. IBS is an intestinal disorder that can cause pain in your stomach, gas, diarrhoea and constipation. This can show up in different ways. If your stomach keeps hurting after you eat, then you could be struggling from constipation or diarrhoea [15].
  • Coeliac disease: If you have coeliac disease, then the chances are high that your stomach may hurt after you eat. Coeliac disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten that can impact sufferers in different ways. One is the stomach pain that occurs after you eat gluten. But your stomach can also hurt if you have a mild gluten intolerance [16]. But with coeliac disease, a person's small intestine gets damaged when they eat gluten. Some people might have a physical reaction like diarrhoea or gas after eating gluten.
  • Ulcer: Another one of the reasons can be when you have an ulcer. If you are struggling with chronic pain after you eat and are also dealing with weight, loss, anaemia, vomiting, etc., then it could be a sign of an ulcer [17].
  • Inflammation: Spicy food, indigestion, and gastroenteritis can cause inflammation in the abdomen, thus causing pain.
  • Constipation: Hard stool is caused due to constipation. When the bowel movement is not regular and weak, you can suffer from abdominal pain, especially in the lower abdomen. This is because of constipation and the exertion of pressure to pass the stool [18].

How To Avoid Stomach Pain After Eating?

  • Do not stuff yourself: Overeating can cause stomach pain so, eat small meals at a time. You can control your food cravings by eating at small intervals [19].
  • Eat slowly and chew the food: If you do not chew the food, the digestion becomes slow. If you eat slowly, you chew the food properly and also aid in weight loss. If you eat fast, you will interfere with the smooth functioning of the digestive system [20].
  • So, eat the right food and drink lots of water. If you stuff yourself and the stomach pain starts, go for a walk to feel light. If the pain is too acute, consult a doctor immediately.


On A Final Note…

An unhappy stomach results in an unhappy you. So, it is important that you watch what you eat and how these foods impact your overall health and mood. Consequently, the reason for stomach pain after eating can vary due to simple factors like overeating. It is considered best to go for medical advice if the problem is prolonged.

Story first published: Thursday, July 29, 2021, 14:30 [IST]