Acid Reflux / GERD GastroIntestinal / Gastroenterology

Which foods cause gas and bloating?

The foods that can cause gas often contain substances that have one of the following characteristics:

  • hard to break down
  • produce gas when the body breaks them down
  • cause the person to swallow air while eating

Beans and legumes

Variety of beans and lentilsShare on PinterestBeans and legumes can cause gas.

Beans and some other legumes, such as peas and lentils, have a reputation for causing gas.

Beans contain high amounts of a complex sugar called raffinose, which the body has trouble breaking down. Beans are also rich in fiber, and a high intake of fiber can increase gassiness.

However, not all legumes increase flatulence equally. A 2011 study found that people who ate baked beans and pinto beans were more likely to notice increased gassiness than people who ate black-eyed peas.

Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables

Like beans and legumes, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain large amounts of raffinose and fiber.

Other cruciferous vegetables that contain raffinose and have a high fiber content include:

  • cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cabbage
  • asparagus

Some of these foods, such as asparagus, may cause particularly odorous gas.

Wheat and other whole grains

Wheat and other whole grains, excepting rice, all contain raffinose along with large amounts of fiber. Both of these can lead to increased gas and bloating.

Some whole grains, such as wheat, barley, and rye, also contain a protein called gluten. Some individuals are sensitive to gluten and may experience gas and bloating after eating it.

Gluten sensitivities range from gluten intolerance to celiac disease, which is a serious autoimmune disorder.

Onions

Onions are a common food that features in many different types of cooking. People can eat onions raw or cooked.

Onions contain fructose, which the intestine breaks down during digestion. The breakdown of the sugar causes gas to form.

The gas from onions is also likely to cause an odor.

Garlic

Garlic is another food that people all around the world use in a wide variety of cooking, and it can also cause excess gas. In rare cases, a person may have an allergy or intolerance to garlic that causes bloating and gas.

People who are gassy due to garlic consumption may notice some odor.

Dairy

Various dairy productsShare on PinterestPeople who cannot digest lactose may develop gas if they consume dairy

Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, are often excellent sources of protein and calcium.

However, according to a 2013 study, up to 75 percent of the world’s population will lose the ability to digest lactose, the sugar in dairy products, as they age.

A person who loses the ability to digest lactose will suffer several potential symptoms, including smelly gas, if they consume dairy.

Sugar alcohols

Sugar alcohols are growing in popularity as a substitute to sugar.

Sugar alcohols remain mostly undigested before reaching the large intestine. When they arrive there, the bacteria that live in the intestine will start to break them down. These bacteria are ultimately responsible for causing excess gas.

Soda

Soda is a carbonated beverage. When people drink soda, they consume excess quantities of gas. As a result, they will often belch to relieve the gas pressure that builds up in their stomach. In some cases though, the air can become trapped and cause bloating in the gut.

Some diet sodas also contain sugar alcohols. These can cause excessive flatulence as they pass through the digestive system.

Beer

Beer is a carbonated beverage that people produce by fermenting various grains from around the world. The gas from both the fermented carbohydrates and the carbonation process can lead to excess gas and bloating in the gut.

People who are sensitive or allergic to gluten may experience these symptoms due to the presence of gluten in beer.

Chewing gum

When people chew gum, they tend to swallow a lot of air, which can build up in the stomach and potentially become trapped in the gut.

Many chewing gums also contain sugar alcohols. On ingestion, sugar alcohols can cause gas and bloating in the large intestine.

Hard candy

As with chewing gum, sucking on hard candy can cause gas as a person is more likely to swallow air that then gets trapped in the digestive tract.

Many hard candies also contain a lot of sugar alcohols, which can lead to gas and bloating.

Fatty foods

Fatty foods slow digestion. When the body has to work very hard to digest food, as is the case with fried foods, gas may become trapped in the gut.

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