High Sodium, High Fiber Both Increase Bloated Feeling

Findings based on patient reports, although effect greater in men

WEDNESDAY, July 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Both high-sodium and high-fiber diets increase patient reports of bloating, according to a study published in the July issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Allison W. Peng, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues randomly assigned 412 healthy adults to a high-fiber (32 g/day) Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet or low-fiber (11 g/day) Western diet (control). Within the assigned diet, participants (mean age, 48 years; 57 percent women; 57 percent black) ate three sodium levels (50, 100, and 150 mmol/day at 2,100 kcal) in random order for 30-day periods, with five-day breaks between each period.

The researchers found that 36.7 percent of participants reported bloating at baseline. Regardless of the diet assignment, there was an increased risk for bloating with high sodium intake (risk ratio, 1.27). Across all sodium levels, the high-fiber DASH diet also increased the risk for bloating (risk ratio, 1.41). The association between high fiber and bloating was greater in men versus women.

“Bloating is one of the leading gastrointestinal complaints in the United States and can be exacerbated in some people by a high-fiber diet,” a coauthor said in a statement. “Our results suggest that they might be able to reduce that bloating, without compromising on healthy fiber, by lowering their sodium intake.”

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