Food gives us nutrients, energises us, and can fight disease. Not all foods have these benefits. Some foods can cause health problems, inflammation, and fatigue. High doses of these foods can strain your stomach, a major digestive organ.
Simple carbohydrates in refined grains and processed foods cause bloating, gas, and cramping. Poor food choices may not cause gut inflammation. Gut microbes love sugary foods and can overwhelm good microbes.
A can of soup has 700 milligrammes of sodium. A ham sandwich has 1,117mg. TGI Fridays Chicken Parm Pasta has 4,130 mg of sodium, almost double the daily limit. "High salt diets can damage the stomach lining, causing ulcers and stomach cancer."
High sugar content in some dairy products can upset your stomach even if you're not lactose intolerant. Consider fat-free yoghurt. A cup can have 6 teaspoons or 24 grammes of sugar. It's like cotton candy, not a healthy snack.
Some people benefit from spicy foods, but others get "burning diarrhoea." A BMJ study found that people who ate spicy foods almost every day had a 14% lower risk of death than those who rarely ate chilli peppers. However, a Neurogastroenterology & Motility study found that the more spicy food eaten, the higher the risk of death.
According to surgical gastroenterologist Madhan Kumar, MD, of iCliniq.com, the list of stomach-irritating foods is long and varied. Even healthy foods like citrus fruits, orange juice, and tomato juice can irritate the stomach lining.
Sensitive people, especially those with irritable bowel syndrome, may experience gas and bloating from these carbohydrates. Johns Hopkins Medicine defines FODMAP as short-chain sugars that the small intestine absorbs poorly.
Artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame, which are FDA-approved, can cause gut microbiome imbalances. In a 2018 study, researchers found that only 1 mg/mL of artificial sweeteners made digestive bacteria toxic.
Energy drinks contain caffeine, other stimulants, and niacin. High caffeine and/or niacin content can cause upset stomach and nausea. Niacin toxicity is rare, but it can happen, says Philadelphia nutritionist Beth Auguste, RD.