By Danielle Moore // SWNS
‘Tis the season for overeating.
Three quarters of Americans say that, around the holidays more than any other time of year, their eyes are bigger than their stomachs.
And this year that might be a bigger problem than usual, as 64% have also experienced an increase in digestive upsets since the beginning of the pandemic.
A new survey of 2,000 Americans, who experience some form of digestive discomfort, reveals that the average person after eating feels uncomfortable at least three times per week.
Seventy-eight percent of respondents say they consume foods that cause them discomfort at least a few times per month, and a full 28% admit to consuming them weekly.
Moreover, 66% say the possibility of a flare-up due to food triggers makes them dread eating meals they haven’t prepared themselves.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of the heartburn medicine Acidil, the survey also dug deeper into why respondents voluntarily eat foods that irritate them.
When it came to why respondents eat foods that cause them digestive distress, about a third say it’s because their “trigger foods” are inconsistent.
Trigger foods are also some of the favorite foods of an unlucky 23% of respondents.
Sixteen percent, moreover, cite peer pressure as the reason they continue to consume things that may upset them -- saying they eat trigger foods when everyone else is eating that food at a gathering of family or friends.
A valiant 78% try their best to avoid trigger foods regularly, but admit that sometimes the temptation to indulge is just too great.
While 77% of respondents claim to be “somewhat” or “very” in tune with their digestive health, seven in 10 claim to not realize how full they are, causing them to overeat.
But the discomfort resulting from digestive upsets can have social consequences in addition to physical ones.
Forty-five percent of respondents have missed out on a social or family function due to a desire to avoid food that could cause discomfort for them, and nearly half have even missed out on a date or other romantic opportunity due to a flare-up.
Forty-three percent say they’ve been made to feel guilty about, or ashamed of, their digestive discomfort by friends (54%) and siblings (53%).
“When it comes to digestion, everybody, and every body, is different. No one should make you feel bad about the things you are and aren’t comfortable eating, especially during the holidays,” said Janick Boudazin, pharmacist and CEO of Boiron, manufacturer of Acidil.
“But that also means being prepared ahead of time for the possibility of a flare-up if you do indulge as it’s one of the best ways to manage any digestive discomfort.”
Preparation was indeed a key factor in respondents’ mitigating digestive discomfort.
Over-the-counter medications (47%), prescription medications (42%), exercise (37%) and homeopathic medicines (35%) were among the top ways respondents actively managed their digestive health.
Yet only six in 10 say they only purchase digestive relief products when they have symptoms.
“What many people don’t realize is that certain forms of digestive relief such as homeopathic medicines can actually be taken beforehand to lessen the symptoms,” Boudazin said, adding that with “the right degree of preparation, and using the right medicines, can help manage your digestive health and therefore ease the anxiety it can cause.”
TOP DIGESTIVE DISCOMFORT TRIGGER FOODS DURING THE HOLIDAYS
Mac & Cheese (29%)
Creamy soups (29%)
Spicy Foods (27%)
Carbonated drinks (17%)
Fried Foods (17%)
Milk or dairy products (16%)
TOP CAUSES OF INCREASED DIGESTIVE DISCOMFORT SINCE COVID-19
Eating more in general (56%)
More frequently eating at odd times (49%)
Eating more trigger foods (49%)
Pandemic-related stress (46%)
Holiday stress (24%)