South Beach Diet Side Effects - Tummy Trouble

south beach side effects
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A reader reached out to me and told me that she is losing weight on the South Beach Diet. But, she says,  "I am experiencing some South Beach side effects and I don't know that I'll be able to stick to the diet if they continue." Specifically, the reader mentions bloating in her abdomen and constipation.

Are these side effects common on the South Beach Diet? And how do you manage them to stay on the program for weight loss?

 Dr. Agatston addresses the issues in his book, The South Beach Diet Supercharged, and I have experience of my own.

Common South Beach Diet Side Effects

From my own personal experience, I know this wasn't an easy question to ask. But dieters should know that certain South Beach Diet side effects can be very common among those of us who follow a carb-reduction diet.

The abdominal bloating you are experiencing may be due to the daily food changes you've made in your diet recently. Although it can have other causes, abdominal bloating is typically the result of intestinal gas. When you change what you eat, like suddenly increasing fiber, excess gas may build up in your digestive system.

So which changes can cause bloating? Eating more veggies and beans than usual may be the primary cause. Certain vegetables like cauliflower, asparagus, and broccoli are known to cause excess gas. Additionally, increasing whole grains in your diet can cause gas, especially if you are used to eating refined grains.

And lastly, eating dairy foods can cause gas to build up.

How to Manage Bloating on the South Beach Diet 

From personal experience, I can recommend two ways to cope with bloating on the South Beach Diet.  I found a product called Beano was very helpful. It is available at virtually any drug store and is reasonably-priced.

This product is particularly helpful if you eat a lot of beans or legumes. 

It might also be helpful for you to read more about getting rid of gas if you continue to experience this South Beach diet side effect. I learned plenty of tips to reduce bloating and gas from Amber Tresca, an About.com Health Expert.

Constipation on the South Beach Diet

Constipation is a common problem for low-carb dieters. Why? Because during the initial phases of a low-carb diet, you make drastic changes to your diet. If you're used to eating a lot of fruit, fiber-rich carbs, and vegetables, the fact that these foods are no longer allowed might mean that your regularity becomes, well, irregular.

So how do you reduce constipation if you experience this side effect? Drinking enough water each day is important may help. Proper hydration is important whether you're dieting or not, so be sure you're getting in at least eight glasses a day.

And be sure to eat enough vegetables. The South Beach Diet recommends that you eat four to five cups of vegetables daily.

These vegetables may help get your digestive system moving along and give you some relief from constipation.

Lastly, you may want to consider a fiber supplement. In his book, The South Beach Diet Supercharged, Dr. Agatston says that during Phase 1 "a fiber supplement could help restore normal bowel function" for people suffering from constipation.  He says that "fiber supplements, such as plant-derived psyllium or synthetic methylcellulose or polycarbophil are safe and effective." He recommends, however, that you take them with plenty of water.

If you continue to have bloating, constipation, or other unfavorable symptoms, such as abdominal pain, it's important that you speak to your doctor, as these could be symptoms of an underlying health condition.

*This article was edited by Malia Frey, About.com Weight Loss Expert

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