Why Frozen Bread Makes You Bloat – And How to Stop It

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If you’ve ever found that you experience bloating after eating bread, don’t assume that it’s common culprits like wheat or gluten in the bread. If you’re eating toast or sandwiches from bread that has been frozen, the issue could be resistant starch that forms when you freeze bread. Here’s what you need to know…

Bright red toaster with two pieces of white toast sticking out of the top

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This article was reviewed by Jennifer May, Clinical Nutritionist. See more about her and our editorial accuracy process here

Why Frozen Bread Can Lead to Bloating

It’s not surprising if you’re blaming wheat or gluten for your post-bread bloating – they are common bloat triggers and, so, it’s normal to think of them as the obvious cause – and the reason that frozen bread can trigger bloating isn’t so well known. So, let’s explain it…

Frozen bread can trigger bloating because the act of freezing converts starch in bread to a form known as resistant starch, which, although fine for most people, can aggravate those who have digestive problems like IBS as it is prone to fermenting in the bowel.

And fermentation leads to gas and bloating. And that, in someone with IBS, leads to pain.

I’d never heard about this until I started reading the book ‘Natural Solutions To IBS‘ by women’s health expert Marilyn Glenville – and there it was, on page 74. ‘Be careful when freezing bread.’

So, there you have it – if you’ve ever wondered why some days you’re fine with toast or sandwiches and others you’ve puffed up like the Marshmallow Man, whether the bread is fresh or frozen could be your answer.

Marilyn also points out that some supermarket ‘freshly baked’ bread is also often cooked from frozen dough so you could also find that this causes you problems.

This could be why some people who find that bread makes them bloat have no problems if they buy more expensive artisan bread, or, find they don’t suffer the same issues when they go on holiday to somewhere like France or Italy. It’s nothing about fancy strains of wheat, it might just be because you might be buying bread made from scratch and baked fresh on the premises.

What Else is Resistant Starch Found In?

Other than frozen bread, resistant starch is also created in other carbohydrate foods that have been cooked and cooled, particularly dishes containing pasta, rice, and potatoes – which might explain why some ready meals or your lunchtime pasta or potato salad could also leave you feeling somewhat puffed up.

Some other foods naturally contain resistant starch – no matter how they are prepared.

Oats can contain resistant starch – and the amount can be higher in cooked, cooled oats like Bircher Muesli or overnight oats.

The greener the banana the more resistant starch it contains. Green banana flour is also a good source.

Potato starch which is added as a filler to some yoghurts or other processed foods as a thickener is extremely high in resistant starch.

Finally,  chia seeds, beans, and legumes are also high in resistant starch which is one of the reasons why these can also make you bloat.

Although it’s not the only reason why this happens with chia seeds so if you also suffer bloating from those, have a look at this piece on why chia seeds cause bloating.

The Positive Benefits of Resistant Starch

While bloating is a downside of resistant starch, you might not want to avoid the foods that contain it completely.

Resistant starch is so named because it resists digestion by your body. It simply passes out of you. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t do some good while it is in your system.

For starters, the healthy bacteria in your gut thrive on resistant starch, so, by consuming foods that contain it you’re helping feed the microbiome that experts now believe plays an important role in everything from digestive health to weight control and even depression and anxiety.

As the microbiome feeds on resistant starch something else beneficial happens – they produce an anti-inflammatory compound called butyrate which helps boost the health of the gut itself – and may help reduce inflammation elsewhere in the system.

Resistant starch is also converted more slowly to glucose in your system which means foods containing it keep you fuller for longer and are less likely to cause spikes in blood sugar that drain energy or encourage the production of higher levels of insulin.

How to Reduce Your Risk of Bloat from Resistant Starch

The good news is that resistant starch absorbs and ferments slowly so, most people can consume it without problems. If however, you do find that it bloats you, a few things might help you have your starch – and not puff up.

First, chew well – the more broken down something is before it enters the gut the less work your body has to do in it, and so, potentially, the less gas will be created.

Eat small portions of resistant starch foods at a time and vary the sources you consume.

If you still get problems even with a small amount of resistant starch. This can be a sign of a bacterial imbalance in the gut like SIBO – so consider whether you really have IBS or if it’s something else causing problems and perhaps have a chat with your doctor.

Peppermint tea and peppermint capsules are very good at helping the body release gas so, drinking a cup of tea or taking a peppermint capsule after meals might help.

We also have a whole article on releasing gas which has some other solutions in it. So, if it’s a common problem for you, you might want to check that out

Natural Solutions to IBS is available at Amazon. I’ll keep reading my copy and let you know if I find out anything else that surprises me.

If you’re interested in the different types of food – and other lifestyle factors that can lead to bloating, have a look at our ‘nutrition and wellness’ sections which cover a lot of different reasons for bloating including how going to the gym might cause your stomach to look bigger before than after (which sucks) and why mushrooms might lead to gas

NB: I am an Amazon Associate so if you do click the links above I do make a small commission if you make a purchase.

Who is The Wellness Nerd?

My name is Helen Foster, and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail, and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.

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