Does sugar cause bloating?

Yes, sugar can cause bloating. Scientists have shown that dietary sugars can cause gut inflammation, bloating, and gas1, 2, 3.

Our digestive system breaks down complex sugars into simple sugars in order to make energy.

This process can cause gut inflammation – particularly if you have an intolerance or allergy to certain sugars.

This is because your body will trigger an immune response when it meets the sugar, thinking it’s a foreign body or disease-causing microorganism.

The gut then inflames in order to isolate the sugar and get immune cells to come and destroy the threat.

It’s this inflammation that causes some of the symptoms of bloating.  

References

  1. Casen, C., Vebø, H.C., Sekelja, M., Hegge, F.T., Karlsson, M.K., Ciemniejewska, E., Dzankovic, S., Frøyland, C., Nestestog, R., Engstrand, L. and Munkholm, P., 2015. Deviations in human gut microbiota: a novel diagnostic test for determining dysbiosis in patients with IBS or IBD. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics42(1), pp.71-83.
  2. Cheng, W.L., Li, S.J., Lee, T.I., Lee, T.W., Chung, C.C., Kao, Y.H. and Chen, Y.J., 2021. Sugar fructose triggers gut dysbiosis and metabolic inflammation with cardiac arrhythmogenesis. Biomedicines9(7), p.728.
  3. Della Corte, K.W., Perrar, I., Penczynski, K.J., Schwingshackl, L., Herder, C. and Buyken, A.E., 2018. Effect of dietary sugar intake on biomarkers of subclinical inflammation: a systematic review and meta-analysis of intervention studies. Nutrients10(5), p.606.

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