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The equivalent of 96 days of our life is spent in pain because of food, research has shown. A love of takeaways, fizzy drinks and spices means the average person endures 44 minutes of discomfort a week.
Our love of indulging in curry, pizza and onions leads to a gut-wrenching 2,307 hours of food-induced side effects.
In fact, half of the 2,000 respondents studied knowingly scoff their way through their favourite foods only to endure stomach cramps, bloating, bad breath or wind soon after.
The research, which was commissioned by abdominal pain remedy Buscopan Cramps, found nearly half of respondents experienced food-related pain at least once a fortnight.
Hazel Richards, Buscopan Cramps Brand Manager comments:
“According to the survey, it seems it’s common for us to eat foods that cause unwanted complaints even when we know they may cause us pain and discomfort.
“However it can be difficult to identify the foods that trigger abdominal cramps as it varies from person to person, but sufferers may find keeping a diary of foods that trigger discomfort helpful.
“If you do suffer from abdominal pain after eating something that doesn’t agree with you, there are antispasmodic treatments available to help relieve the pain.”
The survey shows we are most wary of spicy cuisine, fatty foods, dairy products and alcohol, but over a third opt to undergo regular discomfort rather than completely avoid the foods they love.
Brit’s love of takeaways definitely goes beyond the pain barrier – just a third would give up a Chinese takeaway if they found it disagreed with them, and only a quarter are willing to avoid pizza for good.
Professor Peter Whorwell, Professor of Medicine and Gastroenterology at Wythenshawe Hospital comments:
“Abdominal cramps are characterised by spasms that occur in the bowel and it is often difficult to identify the specific cause of them.
“People are usually surprised to find everyday foods including fruits and juices high in fructose such as apples and pears can sometimes trigger abdominal discomfort.
“In addition those that eat diet foods, chewing gum and fizzy drinks which contain the sweetener sorbitol may suffer from abdominal complaints.”
It appears there are particular foods Brits can’t live without; half the study said they would continue to eat chocolate, bread and cheese, even if it carried painful repercussions for them.
Professor Whorwell continues:
“A common misconception is that spice causes discomfort, however usually it is the fat in popular spicy foods such as curry that can trigger bowel health issues like abdominal cramps.
“Those that are likely to suffer should also be aware of foods with a hidden fat content, eg butter in mashed potato or mayonnaise on a salad.
“Other dietary triggers people are often unaware of include the skin on a baked potato, wholemeal bread and cereals with high fibre content.
“However, it’s not advisable to remove certain foods from your diet completely without talking to a healthcare professional first.”
However, no-one does politeness like the British, as the study reveals three in ten have felt forced to eat something they knew would likely cause them discomfort, but persevered so as not to seem awkward or cause a fuss.
It would seem certain social situations require more manners than others when it comes to ‘eating through it’ – a visit to the in laws was the most common place to take a food gamble, rather than cause a stir.
A wedding or dinner party also gives little room for menu manoeuvre, with one in ten Brits admitting they would indulge in risky food on a date, braving the unwanted side effects.
TOP PAIN-INDUCING FOODS BRITS CAN’T RESIST
2. Chinese takeaway
3. Fizzy drinks
5. Chilli peppers
7. White bread
10. Red meat