Foods That Cause Gas (Flatulence)
Foods that can cause flatulence (gas) in the digestive tract in some people may not produce flatulence in other people. It all depends on the amount and type of bacteria each person has in the large intestine. Gas producing foods may not need to be eliminated completely, unless you have problems of food intolerance (or food sensitivity), sometimes eating smaller amounts will help to reduce flatulence.
Usually, most foods that contain carbohydrates can cause gas, and proteins and fats cause little gas.
- Raffinose is a sugar found in mushrooms, beans (beans contain large amounts of this complex sugar) and in smaller amounts in brussels sprouts, cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, other vegetables, and whole grains. The human body lacks the enzyme called alpha-galactosidase to digest raffinose, so it ends up in the large intestine undigested which causes flatulence (gas) to occur.
- Fructose is naturally present in onions (very gassy), pears, artichokes, and wheat. Fructose is also used as a sweetener in some soft drinks and fruit drinks.
- Lactose is the natural sugar found in milk (very gassy), cheese (very gassy) and ice cream (very gassy), and processed foods, such as bread, cereal (somewhat gassy), and salad dressing.
- Sorbitol is a sugar (which humans can not break down) found naturally in fruits, including pears, apples, peaches, and prunes. Sorbitol is also used as an artificial sweetener in many dietetic foods and sugar free gums and candies.
Most starches, including pasta, potatoes, corn, and wheat and wheat products including, pastries, bagels, pretzels, produce gas as they are broken down in the large intestine. Rice is the only starch that does not cause gas.
Many Foods Contain Soluble and Insoluble Fiber
- Soluble fiber dissolves easily in water and takes on a soft, gel like texture in the intestines. Soluble fiber is not broken down until it reaches the large intestine where digestion causes gas (flatulence). Soluble fiber is found in such foods as oat bran, beans, peas, and most fruits.
- Insoluble fiber often called roughage, does not dissolve in water. Insoluble fiber passes essentially unchanged through the intestines and produces little gas. Insouble fiber helps move waste through the digestive tract decreasing the time that potentially harmful substances may stay in the colon. Insoluble fiber is found in wheat bran and some vegetables.
Fiber in the diet is good for us. It produces a soft satisfying stool, cleanses and keeps your digestive tract in good working order, helps prevent constipation and maintains regularity (keeps the bowels moving), helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels which helps reduce the risk of heart disease, improves symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome, may help people to lose weight, helps control blood sugar in people with diabetes, protects against colon cancer and may protect against stroke and heart attacks and other heart problems. Increase your intake of water to at least eight glasses a day.
Many people complain that adding fiber to the diet causes gas. Adding “too much” fiber in the diet “too quickly” can cause constipation, diarrhea and bloating, intestinal gas (flatulence) and other digestive discomforts. This problem can usually be reduced by increasing fiber in your diet “slowly” over a period of weeks which helps your health and your body to adjust. When fiber is increased, water must be increased. If you use fiber supplements, be sure to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water a day, if you don’t, fiber supplements may make you constipated. Follow fiber supplement directions and always check with your doctor when starting any new supplement. Remember to continue to try to get most of your fiber from foods.
Here are some foods which can cause gas in the digestive tract:
- Brussels sprouts
- Pan fried or deep fried foods
- Rich cream sauces and gravies
- Bran, nuts, popcorn
- Prune juice
- Fizzy medicine
- Garlic, leeks and some seeds such as fennel, sunflower and poppy all produce a lot of gas in the colon.
- Sodas and other carbonated beverages.
- Beer causes belching because it produces gas (carbon dioxide) in the stomach. It produces smelly hydrogen sulfide in some people.
- Fatty meats, fatty foods can delay stomach emptying and cause bloating and discomfort, but not necessarily too much gas.
- Legumes (very gassy) (all types) especially dried beans and peas, baked beans, soy beans, lima beans. Beans pass through the * small intestine and arrive in the large intestine undigested which causes flatulence (gas) to occur, also, beans contain more indigestible carbohydrates than most foods.