Why Snacking is Causing You to Get Bloated
Updated: May 27
I've had a pretty lengthy history of bloating. I have memories of being embarrassed in college at pool parties because my belly was so extended from intestinal bloating. Not only did it lower my confidence, it also was uncomfortable. The bloating sensation can range from an uneasy pressure to sharp pains. Bloating isn't fun and it isn't good for your health either. Daily bloating leads to increased intestinal inflammation and inability to absorb nutrients which can cause nutritional deficiencies.
In the past, I've shared a variety of tools to aid in decreased bloating - proper nutrient timing, Intermittent Fasting, and decreased sugar intake to name a few. However, today I'm sharing an extremely underutilized and misunderstood strategy ~ increasing the function of your Migrating Motor Complex (aka MMC) by getting rid of snacking.
Hang on a sec... what is the MMC?!?
The MMC (Migrating Motor Complex) is essentially the cleaning crew for your GI tract. It pushes left behind food particles and bacteria out of the small intestine. Unlike regular peristalsis which moves food through the intestines, the MMC is initiated when you haven't eaten in a while. It stimulates your small intestine, pancreas, and gall bladder to sweep out the excess bacteria and clean house. The entire process takes about 3 hours and 45 minutes. If you eat during that window of time, then the MMC shuts off.
What happens when this isn't activated?
If your MMC isn't activated, then bacteria and small parts of food particles remain left behind in your small intestine. Unlike your large intestine (colon), you don't want very much bacteria in your small intestine. This is where the majority of your nutrient absorption happens, so you don't want to be competing with bacteria when it comes to the food you eat.
Okay... but how does this cause bloating?
That leftover food is essentially an all you can eat buffet for the bacteria that was also left behind in your small intestine (remember, you DON'T want much bacteria in your small intestine!). The bacteria rapidly feeds on the food in your small intestine and as a by-product forms gas... which causes bloating.
This small intestinal gas can also lead to pressure on your stomach and push gastric acids into your esophagus and cause acid reflux/GERD (check out Kat's story on how she reversed her GERD HERE!).
How do you increase MMC function?
Boosting your MMC function is important for preventing and healing bloating, IBS, IBD, GERD, acid reflux, and a variety of other GI tract conditions. There are two ways to boost your MMC function NATURALLY. First, get rid of snacks between meals. Remember, the MMC takes 3 hours and 45 minutes to run it's course, so snacking between meals will shut it off. Second, utilize the healing powers of Intermittent Fasting and proper nutrient timing with the 21 Day Intermittent Fasting Program. And no - you don't get hungry during fasting! Check out why HERE. Both of these tools combined aid in boosting your MMC and healing your natural gut pathways. This doesn't mean you have to give up your treats forever! I suggest pairing your typical snack food with your meal so that you can still reap the benefits of the MMC. Plus, with Intermittent Fasting, you'll receive plenty of activation of your MMC!
Get started on healing your gut TODAY with the 21 Day Intermittent Fasting Program! Join hundreds of others from around the world like Kat, Elizabeth, and Xiomara who have achieved their wellness goals through the Program! Plus you get to eat amazing recipes like LA Street Tacos, Superfood Pancakes, Pumpkin Chili, homemade whipped cream and berries, and MORE!
Learn more HERE!
Autumn Elle Nutrition