Body & Fitness

Banish your belly, give up gum

Experts reveal the surprising causes of that spare tyre. This week, bloating.

A big belly can be a build-up of gas in the bowel, says Dr David Forecast, a gastroenterologist at St Mark’s Hospital and  The London Clinic. Bloating  affects up to one in four people but there’s usually a simple solution.

Common causes are constipation, eating gas-forming foods such as sprouts, and swallowing air through activities like chewing gum or smoking. Less common causes include lactose intolerance, IBS and indigestion.

SOLUTION: Use your bathroom scales. “Gas doesn’t weigh anything, while fat does,” says Dr Forecast. Often men who complain of bloating discover their gas is actually fat. Gas is usually released while you sleep. Fat will still be there when you wake.

If bloating is the issue, keep a food diary, consider a probiotic supplement, and if you smoke, see your GP for help giving up.

-Matthew Barbour

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