Why Healthy Eating Can Distress Your Stomach

Hey Angels and Alphas,

There’s definitely a big irony in the world of nutrition in which when you make the decision to commit to whole, nutrient-dense foods and a lot of fruits and veggies, you expect to feel better than ever. But that’s not always the case.

Suddenly, you might find you’re feeling bloated all the time, feeling nauseated, or having other forms of GI distress.

It’s important for you to know this is referred to as the “transition” phase in which your body’s digestive system will essentially adjust to these new food choices.

When you start eating healthier, either by consuming more fruits and veggies or swapping the refined carbs for some whole grains, you might find that your stomach gets upset. You might feel full all the time, feel bloated, or have nausea.

But this is a short-term effect – don’t ditch your healthy strategies.

Let’s dive deep inside the reasons why this happens and how you can make this transition smoother and easier.

If you have food sensitivities or allergies…

You might be one of those lucky people that never experience food allergies, intolerances, or sensitivities. But did you know almost half of these allergies start once you reach 18?

Especially if you’re trying a broad variety of foods that are completely new to you, there is a huge possibility that you might encounter new sensitivities or intolerances you didn’t know about. And while a true food allergy will cause a dangerous, potentially life-threatening situation, here we’re talking about much milder forms that leave your stomach upset or cause inflammation in the body.

Your best bet here would be to introduce new foods one at a time and see how your body responds to them. Instead of starting a completely new meal plan out of the blue, start introducing one new food every couple of days and see how well you tolerate them. This will help you pinpoint and immediately remove foods that don’t serve your health.

If you’re not consuming enough fiber…

A lot of people tend to tailor their “diet makeover” by turning to more juices or reducing carbs. But what this leaves them with is a diet stripped of fiber from fruits and veggies.

Even though countless experts have proven that juice “cleanses” are not as productive as marketed, they’re still extremely popular as a “reset” eating plan. And sure, they do stack your body with vitamins and minerals, but they can be extremely tough on your digestive system. Because you’re stripping your diet of fiber, your digestive system is fighting back.

When you’re not consuming enough fiber, you will notice that you’re getting constipated or experiencing mild crams. And not to mention, juice “cleanses” don’t support the optional function of your body’s natural detox organs (the liver, kidneys, and intestines) which all rely on fiber to operate correctly.

If you’re getting in too much fiber…

Let’s say you’re one of those people that decides to go the healthy, whole-food route and include more pasta, lentils, chickpeas, veggies, and whole grains in any form, inside your diet. In that case, you should know that ramping up your fiber intake too quickly can cause GI distress.

Fiber has countless benefits for the body, one being helping keep us full for longer. It helps us manage insulin better. And regulate blood sugar. And reduce the risk of chronic diseases. What doesn’t fiber do? It also aids your digestive system in processing and moving food in and out of the body.

Here’s a pro tip: as you’re increasing your fiber intake, always focus on increasing your water intake, as well. When you’re not hydrating enough, fiber won’t move through your system as well as it should. And that’s when nausea, constipation, and GI distress kick in.

Keep in mind, increasing your water intake is always a good idea if you’re changing your diet. It will help you adjust to new food choices more quickly and, if you’re someone who wants to enjoy the best of both worlds, you can try vegetable-based soups and other similar choices to ensure proper hydration during dietary transitions.

Bringing it all together…

Integrate healthy choices into your diet slowly and consistently, and you should have no problems during these short transition phases from one diet to another.

When you try to make big, dramatic changes to your diet overnight, your digestive system will fight back, and you will need to make adjustments to your hydration and fiber intake just to keep your body on track. Even though you might need to make some adjustments, this will resolve within a few weeks and you will be well on your way toward a healthier diet.