I have an answer guys!
First of all, African children bloat because their bodies are extremely malnourished to the point where their bodies stop creating the enzymes required to break food down because it is too much work (and because their bodies can tell they're not using the enzymes anyway.) For this reason, when a starving child DOES get a meal, their body has to do a whole lot of extra work to digest the food, causing a lot of gas and water to be retained in their stomachs.
I am a recovering anorexic and I will be the first to tell you that this DOES HAPPEN to anorexics too.
It DOES IT DOES IT DOES SO MUCH AND IT SUCKS SO SO MUCH.
Before I started refeeding, I could see my ribs and my hipbones very clearly. I never got bloated because I never ate anything that was hard to digest because things that are hard to digest typically have more calories (and I learned what foods made me balloon up). If I did make a mistake and ate something wrong, I would take like twelve gas-x and starve myself again until the bloating went down, and I would take diuretics to get rid of the water or I would exercise to sweat and get rid of the water that way. (Many anorexics also may limit their water
intake as well. Generally, I only drank coffee or tea because I knew the caffeine would flush it all out anyway. If I got really dehydrated and drank a bottle of water, I would panic and throw it up or take diuretics.)
Once in recovery, when I started eating again it was hell. Every single meal I would lie down in pain for hours afterwards. I was bloated all the time and I was literally unable to carry out every-day tasks because I was in so much pain. (Before this, I was unable to carry out every-day tasks for lack of energy. Needless to say, the bloating alone caused countless relapses.)
If someone in recovery adds in a new food, and DOESN'T do all of the things to avoid the bloat (which is actually what you're supposed to do but it's just so hard to ignore it) they will seriously look just as bloated as those African children. One time my boyfriend actually seriously asked me if I was pregnant.
(relapsed: ate an apple over the course of two days):
(ate a bowl of cereal with flaxseed milk and an apple for breakfast, and a serving of chicken two servings of vegetables for lunch and then took this picture.)
Now, I'm still in recovery and I'm almost up to the minimum requirements for a 'regular diet.' (set by my recovery program: I work with a dietitian, therapist, psychiatrist, and medical doctor. I have three appointments per week and an additional two every month.) I still get bloated, but not nearly as badly and only when they're adding new things to my diet. So in short, YES this DOES happen to anorexics, but it is only visible if they are RECOVERING. And even when they're recovering, it might not be visible because of all of the things you'll do to avoid the bloating-- like relapsing or taking gas-x and diuretics.
As we speak, I'm farting up a storm.