ArticlesIcon chevron right
Tips

How to prevent the stomach from growling during intermittent fasting?

Because stomach growling occurs when the stomach is empty, intermittent fasting can cause the stomach to growl.
Icon check
Include trusted sources
Summary

Stomach growling occurs when the stomach is empty. Because intermittent fasting includes fasting for many hours every day, it can cause stomach growling. But some tricks help you prevent this noise.

Written by
Dr. Sara Diana Garduno Diaz
PhD & Senior Nutrition Consultant

Intermittent fasting is a form of eating that has been followed historically and is becoming ever more popular in recent years. While weight loss is one of the main reasons why people carry out intermittent fasting, other potential benefits include detoxification, increased physical performance and improved energy regulation.

Nevertheless, some symptoms or side effects may also be experienced by those trying out intermittent fasting. One such symptom is stomach growling.


What causes stomach growling when intermittent fasting?

Stomach growls are set off as food, liquid, and gas go through the stomach and small intestine. The medical term to refer to this grumbling sound that comes from your insides is "borborygmi". Usually that noise is excessive gas moving back and forth in the intestines. 


Having your stomach growl or rumble is a normal part of the digestive process. Since there is nothing in the stomach to muffle these sounds they can be heard by the person experiencing them and on occasions also by surrounding individuals. Among the causes for stomach grumbles are hunger, incomplete digestion, or indigestion (1). 


While the real reason for why you experience stomach growling is not fully understood, it often does when you haven't eaten in a long time, for example during intermittent fasting. It can also signal low blood sugar and an inability of your intestines to absorb sufficient nutrients from your blood.

Putting food into your system often stops the noise, since the food takes up space and your digestive muscles become more focused on breaking down and absorbing the food than on moving air around (2).


Once you become familiar with your body’s response to intermittent fasting, you will be able to differentiate between real hunger and the occasional “hunger pangs” which make themselves present in the form of stomach growls (3).

While these stomach noises are mostly harmless, they can be inconvenient and even embarrassing at times. Not to worry, because there are various ways in which you can manage your stomach growls.

Join 100s of women getting in
better shape with intermittent fasting
The confidence boost you need to get results.
Woman laughingWoman laughingWoman smilingWoman with glasses laughing
Already +55 000 subscribers on board 🙌
Share your email, and you will get access to our private community

of women achieving results with intermittent fasting

How to manage your stomach growling


There are various steps that you can take to manage your stomach growls when intermittent fasting. 


Drink some water

Water with lime and mint.

One of the simplest and perhaps more efficient ways in which to do this is to drink water. This can be either plain water or water mixed with some apple cider vinegar. 


Psyllium husks

Another strategy is to mix your water with some psyllium husks. This is a type of fibre which will cause your stomach to expand and feel full, thus reducing hunger symptoms including the stomach growls.

While psyllium husks do provide some calories, these might be negligible depending on the rest of your fasting plan. As always, it is best to test this option out and adjust your fasting practice accordingly. 


Sparkling water or black coffee

Cup of black coffee on a desk.

Depending on what your intermittent fasting practice looks like, you may also try drinking some sparkling water or even some black coffee. This will cause your muscles to relax and stop them from growling.

Some people who practice intermittent fasting incorporate bulletproof coffee to avoid hunger pangs and their manifestation; bulletproof coffee is simply a mix of black coffee with a source of fat, usually in the form of oil or butter. 


Eat slowly

If we remember that the stomach growls also happen because air is moving around in the intestines, a strategy to reduce them is to limit the air that gets in there in the first place. One thing you can do is to slow down while eating.

Chewing and swallowing each mouthful completely before opening your mouth for another bite may help reduce the amount of air that enters your system. You can also try drinking with a straw, which can limit the amount of air you gulp down. 


Try to ignore the stomach growling

Finally, you can always sit and ride it out. While your stomach growling may be something you would prefer to avoid, nothing is really going to happen if you hear them for a bit. You might be perfectly fine simply with occupying yourself and waiting for them to pass. 


Although stomach growling is usually associated with hunger and an absence of food in the stomach, it can occur at any time, even without hunger.


References:

  1. Murray, Melinda, and Zata Vickers. "Consumer views of hunger and fullness. A qualitative approach." Appetite 53.2 (2009): 174-182.
  2. Tomomasa, Takeshi, et al. "Gastrointestinal sounds and migrating motor complex in fasted humans." The American journal of gastroenterology 94.2 (1999): 374-381.
  3. de Bruin, Willemijn E., et al. "‘Am I really hungry?’A qualitative exploration of patients’ experience, adherence and behaviour change during hunger training: a pilot study." BMJ open 9.12 (2019): e032248.

Signup for our Newsletter

Value bombs, straight to your inbox.
You may also be interested in...