Foods that Cause Flatulence

Flatulence (gas) is caused by undigested or partially digested foods traveling to the large intestine, where they are fermented (digested & metabolized) by the bacteria that colonize our colon, often producing gas in the process.

According to the American Gastroenterology Association, the most common gas producing foods include: brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, dried beans and bran.

Foods that Cause Flatulence

Cooking vegetables (steaming is best to retain nutrients) & soaking and draining beans may help somewhat. If you eat these foods often and find they are strongly associated with gassy symptoms, you may want to consider taking an over-the-counter product which contains a natural enzyme to help break down these foods more effectively.

Eating too much fructose, one of the sugars in fruit, table sugar & high fructose corn syrup, can also cause excess gas as the body can only absorb a certain amount of fructose daily.

Sugar-sweetened beverages & fruit juice should be reduced as much as possible, and you may want to cut back slightly on fruits that are higher in fructose including apples, pears, bananas and grapes to see if that helps.

Low-calorie sweeteners ending in "ol" (sorbitol, mannitol, etc.) can also cause gas, especially when consumed in larger portions. If you eat packaged foods, especially sugar-free baked goods and candies, check labels carefully and try to cut out these foods for a few weeks to see if flatulence decreases.

Dairy is also a major culprit due to lactose intolerance (a condition in which the body lacks the enzyme to break down milk sugar). If you eat a lot of dairy, I would try eliminating that for a week or two to see if your symptoms improve. Yogurt contains less lactose than milk so it may be a better option.

If you have taken antibiotics recently and your flatulence subsequently increased, you might want to try taking probiotics or eating a probiotic fortified food for a few weeks.

Antibiotics can change the bacterial flora in your gut, so restoring the flora may help with flatulence. It can be very useful in helping with diarrhea and constipation after taking antibiotics. A trial of probiotics may be worth trying even if you have not taken antibiotics, as there are essentially no side effects and numerous health benefits.

29 November 2011