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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Johns Hopkins: With High Fiber Diets, More Protein May Mean More Bloating

People who eat high fiber diets are more likely to experience bloating if their high fiber diet is protein-rich as compared to carbohydrate-rich, according to a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The researchers, whose findings were published online January 15 in the journal Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology, analyzed data from a clinical trial of high fiber diets. They determined that when the 164 trial participants ate versions of a heart-healthy, high-fiber diet that was relatively rich in plant protein, they were about 40 percent more likely to report bloating symptoms than when eating a carbohydrate-rich version of the same high fiber diet.

The study suggests that people who want to eat a high fiber diet would be less likely to experience bloating if the diet were relatively carb-rich versus protein-rich.

High fiber diets are believed to cause bloating by boosting certain populations of healthful fiber-digesting gut bacteria species, which produce gas as a byproduct. The findings thus also hint at a role for “macronutrients” such as carbs and proteins in modifying the gut bacteria population — the microbiome.

Dr. Noel Mueller, an assistant professor in the Bloomberg School’s department of epidemiology, and colleagues have been re-examining data from past clinical trials to find dietary factors that might modify bloating frequency in the context of a high fiber diet.

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