Does fiber cause gas

Why Protein Makes Your Farts Stink and How to Treat Flatulence

While protein can cause flatulence and smelly farts, this doesn’t mean you’re stuck with this problem just because you eat more protein for your dietary needs. Below are some of the ways you can ease protein-induced flatulence.

Eat more fiber

When you trade in carbs for protein, you may shed pounds and build muscle, but you also give up some of the dietary fiber naturally found in grains, legumes, and produce. This can cause you to get backed up, and may eventually lead to constipation.

Left untreated, constipation causes more gas and some uncomfortable cramping.

On average, adult women need 25 grams of fiber per day, while men need 38 grams. While not enough fiber can cause gassy constipation, too much fiber can have the opposite effect, producing even more gas.

Switch your protein powder

Whey protein is a key ingredient in many type of protein shakes, bars, and snacks. The problem is that not all whey protein is created equal. Some are made from concentrate, which are high in lactose.

Whey protein isolate has less lactose, which your body might digest more easily. Another option is to switch to non-milk sources of protein powder, such as pea and soy.

Take probiotics

An imbalance of gut microbes is said to be one cause of gas and other gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea and constipation. If you eat a lot of protein, then you may compound flatulence issues.

One way to solve this is by taking probiotics. These are made with gut-friendly bacteria that can solve microbial imbalances in your digestive tract. Over time, you’ll experience less gas and more regularity.

Probiotics are naturally found in fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, but you can also take them as supplements. The Mayo Clinic recommends probiotic supplements with the following ingredients:

  • Bacillus coagulans
  • Bifidobacteria
  • Lactobacillus
  • Saccharomyces boulardii

Add herbs to your diet

Certain herbs may potentially help gastrointestinal issues, thereby relieving symptoms such as excess gas and bloating. Consider drinking ginger or peppermint tea to sooth your gut, especially after meals.

Cut other gas-inducing carbs

Before you trade in protein for more carbs, you’ll want to make sure you avoid some of the more gas-inducing culprits. These include:

  • cruciferous veggies, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts
  • cheese, milk, and other lactose-containing products
  • beans and peas
  • lentils
  • garlic
  • onions

Manage your protein intake

Another way to avoid gassy issues from protein is to manage your daily intake. This is based on weight. To figure out your daily protein needs, multiply your body weight in pounds by 0.36 to see how many grams you should consume.

For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you need 57.6 grams of protein per day. A doctor may recommend slightly more if you engage in intense exercise on a regular basis.

Drink more water

Water does more than hydrate your body. It also helps you digest your food more effectively. This is why many makers of protein shakes suggest that you also drink a glass of water.

You may apply this rule of thumb to other high-protein meals to speed up the digestion process, too.

Eat and drink slowly, and don’t overeat

Your parents may have told you not to inhale your food, and for good reason: Not only can eating quickly give you a stomachache, but it can also make you swallow air.

Protein shakes are no exception here. The more air you swallow, the more you’ll have gas.

If you don’t want to cut down on protein, you may consider eating your meals and snacks a bit slower. This can also help prevent you from overeating, which is considered another cause of gas.

Get enough exercise

Regular exercise is good for your heart, and can also be good for your farts by easing up on constipation and other digestive ailments. Make sure that you get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day.

OTC remedies

Over-the-counter (OTC) remedies may help ease flatulence. Look for ingredients such as charcoal or simethicone. Read the instructions carefully. Some remedies are intended for use before you eat, while others should be taken after your meals.

How to Eat Enough Fiber Without Gas and Bloating

Getty Images

I know I should be eating more fiber…but it gives me gas. Any advice?

You’re right that fiber is extremely important—and not only for your gastrointestinal system. It can help with cholesterol and weight management, too.

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that women who ate the most fiber (around 25 grams a day) were 22 percent less likely to die from any cause, compared with women who ate just 10 grams.

But some people do develop gas and bloating when they up their fiber intake. One trick is to start slowly: Let your body get used to increased fiber in small amounts, rather than loading up on the stuff all at once.

RELATED: 7 Health Benefits of Kale

As your digestive system adjusts, it may be helpful to keep in mind that foods with soluble fiber (such as fruit, oats, beans and peas, and nuts and seeds) tend to produce more gas than foods with insoluble fiber (a.k.a. roughage, including whole grains and veggies).

But don’t give up on fiber! Your body needs both types. With time and experimentation, you will find high-fiber foods that agree with you.

RELATED: 6 Health Benefits of Mangoes

Until you hit your fiber mark (the daily value is 25 grams), taking a probiotic may help with regularity. Sticking to an exercise routine and drinking more water should make a difference too.

Health’s medical editor, Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, is an associate professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine and a cofounder of TULA Skincare.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter

Protein Farts: 3 Reasons Flat Abs Cause Bad Gas

Fitness folks always have two things in common — muscle mass & bad gas. How can some look so good but smell so bad? Answer: protein farts.

Everyone knows people that are into fitness generally eat more protein. From protein shakes to egg whites to an insane amount of chicken, fit people need protein to maintain and build muscle mass. Also people who are solely trying to lose weight often experience these obnoxious fumes as higher protein diets are effective in long term weight loss programs (more on this in my ebook “The Art of Losing Body Fat!”).

Butt does protein really cause foul fitness farts?

First, Let’s briefly touch on some fart facts!

Did You Know:

  • An average person farts 14 times a day
  • Men and woman fart equally.
  • Most farts take place at night.
  • Farts are made up of mostly nitrogen and only 1% hydrogen sulfide .

The breakdown of food emits gas and your body attempts to rid it through flatulence. Certain foods can cause more flatulence than others and eating habits can be a catalyst to more tooting.

Protein Farts & Fiber Intake

Protein intake is vital to any gym -goer. You go to the gym to build muscle and in order to maximize that result, you should be eating anywhere between 0.8-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.

Sources of protein include steak, chicken, fish, beans, and protein shakes among many other sources. When protein is broken down, it emits different gaseous like nitrogen, methane, and hydrogen sulfide. Certain foods contain more of the smelly sulfur like steak and eggs and can really make anyone near you miserable.

Not only can gas be smelly, but it can also be painful.

Excess protein and not enough fiber can cause food build-up in the large intestine which causes a gas build up, giving you that awful bloated feeling. Being backed up can cause food to sit too long and rot. The benefit of protein and fiber is that it has a high thermic effect as the body has the hardest time breaking it down. The benefit of this high thermic effect is increased calorie burn.

The downside is the backside byproduct.

Unfortunately, foods like cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, steak, and beans are serious precursors to gaseous grenades so if tooting is taxing your relationships, it may be time to switch up your protein sources.

Protein Farts & Lactose

Fit people often turn to dairy products like milk, greek yogurt, and cottage cheese because of their high protein amounts. Sadly, 30% of people have some level of lactose intolerance, leading to some of the worst protein farts imaginable.

You’ve probably heard of lactose intolerance, but may not know exactly what it really is. Lactose intolerance is characterized by the symptoms that occur when your body does not make enough of a digestive enzyme called lactase to digest a sugar called lactose, which is found mainly in milk and other dairy products.

Normally, our body produces lactase, which breaks down lactose into two simple sugars, glucose and galactose. These two sugars can then be absorbed into the bloodstream. People whose bodies don’t make enough lactase can’t fully digest lactose, causing mild to uncomfortable side effects— gas and bloating being the main ones.

Protein powders often have some form of lactose in them if they aren’t an isolate protein. Yes, most protein powders with a concentrate protein source contain lactose and can be a cause of bad gas as concentrate proteins are more difficult for your body to break down.

Here is a list of the major lactose based foods that are notorious for thunder farts:

  • Milk at (the most at 12 grams of lactose per cup)
  • yogurt
  • baked goods
  • chocolate
  • butter
  • coffee cream
  • sour cream
  • Cream cheese
  • Cheese(the least at 1 grams of lactose per serving)

Other Reasons

Size of Meals

Having too large of a meal is a common cause of digestive problems and excessive flatulence. Undigested foods can putrefy in the heat of the large intestine and, with bacterial action, lead to the production of gases like hydrogen sulphide, insoles, skatoles and mercaptans. It only takes a small amount of these gases to create some really bad smelling flatulence.

Chew Your Food

Are we even tasting our food anymore or just shoveling it in out of habit?

If we want to avoid indigestion, stomach gas, bloating and flatulence, it’s worth remembering to slow down when eating, taste and enjoy the food and start chewing each mouthful more thoroughly.

Digestion starts in the mouth, not in the stomach. Chewing breaks up the food into more manageable pieces, increases its surface area and mixes it with saliva.

This saliva contains the enzymes amylase, which starts breaking down carbohydrates in the meal and lingual lipase to begin the proper digestion of fats. The whole digestive process can impaired when we are eating too fast.

Gastro Problems

Potential conditions underlying flatulence range from temporary conditions, such as constipation and gastroenteritis, to food intolerances, such as lactose intolerance. Digestive problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and celiac disease, can also lead to flatulence. Certain medications and steroids can cause pretty awful gas too.

Tone Down Your Toot-Tuba

As funny as protein farts can be, sometimes it’s just too much (ask my girlfriend). Causes of excess gas in the digestive tract range from swallowed air, breakdown of undigested foods, lactose intolerance, and malabsorption of certain foods.

Here are a few ways you can reduce your gas passing:

  1. Be sure to chew your food enough and don’t eat so fast. If you are going to keep your protein intake high, make it a little easier for your body to process by not swallowing 3oz of barely-chewed steak at a time — no matter how delicious it may be.

  2. Keep your meal sizes a bit smaller so your body can keep up. When you chug a 50g protein shake post leg day then run to a local Outback Steakhouse for a 12oz ribeye, that is a recipe for some major love puffs that, well, aren’t so lovely.

  3. If you are like a lot of people and don’t respond well to dairy, it might be time to switch to lactose free foods. Try lactose free milk life Fairlife and other lactose free alternatives. Be sure your protein is from an isolate source and not a concentrate so you can avoid any trouble from lactose.

  4. Getting enough fiber in your diet may help move things along. Some of the worst foods for excessive protein farts include beans, dairy, sulfur-containing vegetables, FODMAPs, starchy fiber foods, and processed, artificial and high-fat foods. In attempt to lower protein farts, try an elimination diet, probiotics, spices, digestive enzymes, exercise and more water.

Gut Pain? What to Eat and What to Avoid

A registered dietitian explains how eating whole grains can cause abdominal pain in some people. The good news is there are plenty of grain-free options available today.

Whole grains can be a healthy part of a balanced diet but if you suffer from chronic gastrointestinal tract pain, some grains can wreak havoc with your gut.If you’re one of the 60 to 70 million Americans living with digestive diseases, chances are that common grain foods have become a pain in your gut. Here’s what you need to know about which grains to include in your diet and which you may want to avoid.

For most people, whole-grains are a healthy part of a balanced diet. They provide vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber necessary to keep the gastrointestinal tract healthy and functioning properly. Whole grains, especially oats, play an important role in maintaining the gut microbiota, or the balance of bacteria that keeps the digestive system healthy and potentially helps prevent chronic disease. If your gut issues are limited to constipation or diverticulosis, a high-fiber diet that includes plenty of whole-grain and multi-grain foods can help your digestive tract run smoothly and prevent flare-ups.

But if you suffer from celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, wheat intolerance, leaky gut syndrome, or any chronic condition that affects your gastrointestinal tract, some grain foods can wreak havoc with your gut and also cause discomfort in other parts of your body. You know the symptoms: abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, intestinal gas, fatigue, brain fog, and sometimes headaches and musculoskeletal pain. Not fun!

Allergy, Intolerance, or Leaky Gut?

Proteins like gluten, found in wheat and other grains, can cause a variety of allergic responses in susceptible people, including stuffy or runny nose, skin rashes, lung irritation, and even an anaphylactic, or whole-body, response that could lead to death. But gastrointestinal discomfort is not usually a symptom of wheat allergy.

Wheat intolerance, which is a different condition than wheat allergy, is associated with several medical conditions, including celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. These chronic inflammatory disorders cause intestinal pain and distress whenever a variety of wheat or other gluten-containing grains is consumed. That includes rye, barley, malted barley, oats (unless labeled gluten-free), Kamut, spelt, triticale, emmer, einkorn, farro, graham flour, pastas and breads made with semolina or durum wheat, couscous, and matzo meal. It is important to check the ingredient list on all processed foods as well, since many commercial products contain some form of wheat or other grain.

Leaky gut syndrome—a condition that allows undigested food particles and other potentially harmful substances to pass through the intestinal wall and into the blood stream—has been linked to inflammatory bowel disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, asthma and other inflammatory conditions, as well as autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. Leaky gut is associated with the protein lectin, which, like gluten, is found in wheat (especially wheat germ), rye, and barley, as well as oats, corn and rice.

What You Can Eat

Although all of these gastrointestinal issues have been associated with the protein components of wheat and other grains, it is still not crystal clear whether any of the non-celiac conditions are actually caused by gluten or lectin, or by other substances found in grains. Researchers are still trying to figure that out.

Meanwhile, if you’re plagued with chronic stomach and intestinal issues, you’re probably less concerned with which part of the grain is causing your problem and more concerned with knowing what you can and cannot eat. To best answer that question, it helps to know exactly what’s wrong with your health. If you don’t, it’s best to avoid any potential offenders until you get a clear diagnosis.

The following alternative grains and “pseudo-grains,” which are actually seeds that are used like grains, can be substituted in different ways for many of the more common grains that are known to cause digestive problems. All of these can be found in health foods stores and many large supermarkets, in the form of whole-grains and flours, and they also used in commercial gluten-free products. Overall, they provide most of the same nutrients found in the more common grains.

  • Amaranth is a “pseudo-grain” that is popular in Latin America, South America and India, where it is often used to make hot cereal. Cooked amaranth retains some of its crunch so it can also be sprinkled over soups and salads for added texture. Amaranth flour is used to make breads, cookies, crackers, muffins and pancakes.
  • Buckwheat is not a type of wheat, but a small, pyramid-shaped seed Buckwheat seeds, known as kasha, or roasted buckwheat groats, are used to make pilafs, salads, and noodle dishes. Buckwheat flour is often used to make pancakes, muffins, crepes, and blinis.
  • Millet is a small, pale yellow grain used to make hot and cold cereals and pilafs or other dishes normally made with rice or cracked wheat. Millet flour is used to make bread, cakes, cookies, and other baked goods.
  • Oats are naturally gluten-free but are often grown or processed alongside wheat or other grains where they are cross-contaminated with gluten. It is now possible to buy a wide variety of oats labeled “gluten-free,” which have not been contaminated by other grains. Use these oats as you would any other oats, as hot cereal or in baking.
  • Quinoa is another “pseudo grain” from South America that can be substituted for rice or bulgar (cracked wheat) in pilafs, grain salads and side dishes. Quinoa flakes are used to make an instant hot cereal and quinoa flour is used to make all kinds of baked goods.
  • Sorghum flour is used in place of wheat flour and in combination with other alternative flour to make bread, cookies, pie crust, pancakes and other baked products. It is also used to make homemade noodles. In whole-grain form, sometimes called milo, sorghum can be used in salads and casserole dishes.
  • Teff is an ancient Ethiopian grain that is now produced in the United States. Tiny and seed-like, teff comes in pale ivory or darker brown color. The paler grain is milder and less earthy in flavor. Teff grain is used to make a porridge cereal or a polenta-like base for sauces and stews. Teff flour is used to make pancakes, waffles, breads and other baked goods.

If you have celiac disease or any chronic gastrointestinal problems, or you don’t normally eat a lot of grain fiber, try these alternative grains in small amounts before you make them a regular part of your diet. Adding new or additional fiber to your diet too quickly can cause bloating, gas and other types of gastrointestinal distress.

For more information, tips, ideas, and recipes for using alternative and common grains, check out Oldways Whole Grain Council.

Updated on: 10/24/17 View Sources

1. Digestive Diseases Statistics for the United States. NIH. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. September 2013.

3. De Punder K and Pruimboom L. The dietary intake of wheat and other cereal grains and their role in inflammation. Nutrients. March 2013;5(3):771-787.

5. Abdominal pain impacts quality of life in women with irritable bowel syndrome. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2006;101:124-132

Continue Reading: Gastrointestinal Pain Overview

Getting Fiber Without Excessive Gas

Many people have an image of bland, tasteless foods when they think of fiber. And according to the American Dietetic Association, the typical American eats only about 11 grams of fiber a day, even though most adult women should shoot for over 20 grams and men should aim for over 30 grams.

But fiber doesn’t deserve its dull rap — in fact, when you eat a balanced diet that’s rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, you’ll likely get most of the fiber you need. Fiber has also been shown to help manage weight and lower your risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Unfortunately, when you start to include more fiber-rich foods in your diet, you may start to notice an undesirable side effect: excessive gas. Flatulence and bloating can result, which can be embarrassing and uncomfortable, to say the least.

Foods That Cause Gas

Many carbohydrates can cause stomach gas, as they can be tough for the digestive system to process. Some common high-fiber foods that can cause excessive gas include:

  • Beans
  • Whole-wheat products, such as cereals, breads, and pastas
  • Bran products
  • Oatmeal and oat bran
  • Vegetables, especially asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage
  • Fruits, especially pears, peaches, prunes, and apples

Fortunately, you don’t have to eliminate these healthy, tasty foods from your diet to get relief from excessive gas.

Ease Into High Fiber

Converting to a high-fiber diet is a great idea, but you can have too much of a good thing when it comes to fiber. One way to prevent uncomfortable intestinal gas is to slowly increase the fiber in your diet.

Rather than adding high-fiber foods all at once, add just one or two servings a day to your regular diet for a week — maybe switching from white to whole wheat bread for your sandwich at lunch, or adding a salad at dinner. Let your body adjust, then add another serving the following week, and so on. Giving your body a chance to get used to processing the increase in fiber will make the transition easier and reduce the amount of intestinal gas you’ll have to deal with.

Ward Off Excessive Gas

There are a few other things you can do to prevent a gastrointestinal protest as you introduce more high-fiber foods to your diet:

  • Eliminate other foods that cause gas. If you’re already overwhelming your gut with fiber, cut out other foods that create gas. Try limiting or avoiding sugar-free candy and gum that contain sorbitol and gassy carbonated beverages.
  • Load up on water. Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water will help to prevent uncomfortable intestinal gas and bloating.
  • Watch your air intake. When you eat, drink, and chew gum, you swallow a lot of air, which can result in excessive gas. Eat slowly, avoid smoking, and spit out the gum to cut down on how much air gets into your belly.
  • Keep a list of what you eat and when you experience excessive gas. Maybe some foods affect you more than others, and simply cutting out those specific items can help reduce intestinal gas. Keep a journal of the foods that you eat, and write down when you get a bad bout of stomach gas — look for patterns that tell you which foods to avoid.

Most importantly, just give your body a chance. Once you’ve had time to get used to digesting all of this bulky fiber, you’ll probably notice that your excessive gas symptoms subside. Don’t give up on your healthy, high-fiber diet — know that this gas too shall pass.

9 Tips To Avoid Bloat & Gas From Eating Fiber

Editor’s note – Don’t miss Kris Carr’s inspiring talk today at the Hay House World Summit, “Say Yes To Your Crazy Sexy Life” available until May 26th, 2016.

Sometimes when folks add more veggies and fiber-filled foods to their plate, their digestive system doesn’t cooperate very well and uncomfortable physical issues crop up. These not-so-awesome bathroom trips and embarrassing gassy moments have given fiber a bad name. But fiber really is your friend — you just have to get to know it a little better and learn a few simple fiber guidelines. Today, I hope to mend any grudges you have against fiber and show you how to live in harmony with it. C’mon, give fiber a chance!

What is fiber?

Quite simply, fiber is plant roughage — the part of veggies, fruits, beans, grains, nuts and seeds that resists digestion. So why would you go out of your way to eat things that just come out anyway? For precisely that reason. Fiber helps clean out your digestive system and get rid of things (namely extra hormones, cholesterol, toxins and waste) that shouldn’t be there.

Fiber also provides a plethora of other health benefits, including proper colon health and intestinal bacterial balance. In addition, fiber-rich foods are essential for a strong immune system, faster metabolism and weight control, diabetes and cardiovascular disease prevention, beautiful skin and better overall health. Are you beginning to see why I’m so passionate about fiber?

What’s the difference between soluble & insoluble fiber?

Insoluble fiber has a laxative effect and is found in fruit and vegetable skins, wheat, wheat bran, rye and rice. It doesn’t readily dissolve in water so it adds to fecal bulk (poop mass). It’s crucial for hearty, healthy bowel movements, which should be excreted at least once or twice a day.

Soluble fiber absorbs liquid, swells and is readily digested by intestinal bacteria. It ferments and produces gases in the digestive tract. I know this doesn’t sound so sexy, but it’s very important for colon health. Soluble fiber creates a feeling of fullness and is the kind of fiber responsible for lowering LDL “lousy” cholesterol. You have to look a little harder for soluble fiber in the diet, but champions include chia seeds, flax seeds, oats, oat bran, barley, beans, lentils, psyllium and most fruits — especially berries.

How much fiber do you need to eat?

There’s a big difference between how much fiber the average person is eating and how much they should be eating for optimal health. The recommended intake for disease prevention is 14 grams of fiber for every 1000 calories consumed, which averages to at least 38 grams per day for men and 25 grams per day for women. Many health authorities, however, recommend eating even more fiber to better your chances of overall health and wellness. However, the average American fiber intake is about half of what’s recommended —16-18 grams of a day for men and 12-14 grams per day for women.

And let’s not leave out the kiddos! Kids eat less food and should naturally have less fiber in their diet. But, fiber is still important for their overall health, and it’s important for them to have a mix of insoluble fiber-rich veggies, wheat bran, and rice as well as soluble fiber-rich beans, seeds and berries. Loose stools are often the first sign that a child may be getting too much fiber, or an improper balance of soluble and insoluble fiber.

Why does fiber cause gas and indigestion?

Too much added fiber, too fast

An increase in total fiber, especially a jump too quickly can cause gas and bloating. But, it’s really the fermentation of soluble fiber in the colon that produces these issues. Soluble fiber hits the colon undigested, and when the gut bacteria works to break it down, gas results. A-ha! This is why the childhood song pokes fun at beans as the “musical fruit” and not lettuce — beans have a great deal of soluble fiber, lettuce has mostly insoluble fiber. Keep in mind that beans or no beans, it is actually normal to pass gas 13-21 times a day. Yes, I said it’s normal. Fart-tastic!

Digestive disorders

Irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders affect how much gas moves through the intestinal tract and can increase intestinal gassiness as well as bloating and painful discomfort. Like anyone new to a high-fiber diet, folks with sensitive or otherwise challenged digestive systems should increase fiber intake slowly and ensure a mix of both insoluble and soluble fiber-rich foods.
Soluble fiber like the kind found in chia seeds and flax seeds helps to soften stools and make happy bowel movements with minimal discomfort. Raw vegetables and cruciferous vegetables may provide special challenges for those with digestive disorders. If this is the case, eating smaller quantities or cooking veggies thoroughly may give some relief.

You’re not drinking enough water

To avoid constipation (which often goes along with extra gas and bloating), be sure to increase fluid intake as you increase fiber intake. If you’re dehydrated, your body pulls water from your food waste, making your poop more difficult to pass. Women need (on average) at least 2 liters of water a day and men need at least 3 liters a day. You can also calculate this by dividing your body weight in half and drinking that quantity of water in ounces (a person who weighs 200 pounds needs to drink 100 ounces water daily).

The rest of the culprits

Eating too fast, smoking, chewing gum, not chewing your food thoroughly, drinking carbonated beverages, eating lactose found in dairy products, even chowing on too much fructose (fruit sugar), and loading up on too many raffinose-heavy foods like beans, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage can increase gas production. In case you’re curious, raffinose is a hard-to-digest sugar. Kombu (a seaweed) helps break it down, therefore making it easier to digest. (I share my tip for using kombu while cooking below.)

A diet too high in fatty foods can also increase bloating and digestive discomfort. Fatty foods (even of the healthier fat variety) slow down stomach emptying and lower the transit time of foods through the digestive system. This gives the body extra time to get gassy and uncomfortable.

Do the root causes we just covered sound familiar? If so, read on and learn how to live a thriving and comfortable high-fiber life.

How to calm digestion and prevent gas while eating fibrous foods

Here are 9 tips for increasing your intake of fibrous foods while avoiding the pesky digestive issues:

  1. Ease into eating more fiber slowly. Add 5 grams of fiber (the amount in 1 large serving of vegetables, 1/3 cup of cooked beans or lentils, or 1 ½ servings of fruit) no sooner than every 3 days. Trampolining into too much fiber too fast is a guarantee that you’ll get gassy, bloated, and perhaps have too many bathroom trips. And chances are, you’ll blame the fiber and go back to your old low-fiber ways. Once your system is used to the added 5 grams of fiber, add another 5 grams. The minute you feel discomfort, scale back slightly and try again in 3 more days. Keep going until you’re fiber-strong! It often takes a month or more to fully transition to a superpower high-fiber diet. And don’t forget to increase water intake as your fiber intake increases — at least 2 liters for women and 3 liters for men daily.
  2. Balance soluble and insoluble fiber. If gas persists, replace some of the soluble-fiber rich foods (beans, lentils, split-peas, berries, chia seeds, oats, flax) with foods rich in insoluble fiber (veggies, fruit, wheat, wheat bran, and brown rice). Soluble fiber is often to blame for gassiness and insoluble fiber helps move things out more quickly allowing for less gassy time potential.
  3. Cook beans with kombu. After soaking dried beans overnight (or at least a few hours) and before boiling them, drain the soaking water (it contains some gas-causing compounds), add new filtered water and a strip of dried kombu seaweed (found at any health food store). The kombu contains enzymes (unlike our digestive tracts) that breakdown the gas-causing raffinose simple sugars in beans and cruciferous veggies.
  4. Eliminate high-fat and fried foods. Fat slows stomach emptying and can increase gas and bloating. Reduce even healthy fats like nuts, avocados, seeds and healthy oils to see if fat may be the culprit.
  5. Chew slowly and avoid carbonated beverages and gum. The less gas you consume, the less gas that has to get out. Simple!
  6. Add fresh ginger to meals. Ginger is a big-time gas reliever, digestion easer and nausea and motion sickness remedy. Add ginger to stir-fries, green juice and bean dishes. Enjoy hot ginger tea before and after meals or a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger before meals.
  7. Take a probiotics supplement and eat probiotic foods. Probiotics help restore good bacteria and ease digestion. Foods that are naturally high in probiotics include pineapple, tempeh, kimchi, natto, sauerkraut and miso. Or supplement with a high-quality probiotic like Dr. Ohirra’s, Primal Defense, Healthforce Nutritionals (Friendly Force) and MegaFood’s Megaflora.
  8. Exercise. Any cardiovascular exercise that strengthens your abdominal muscles (walking, running, bicycling) also helps strengthen your digestive muscles. This eases digestion. Plus, getting your heart rate up also increases your intestinal speed. Less time in the tract can often help alleviate gas. Certain yoga poses that increase blood flow to the digestive tract like the seated spinal twist can also help soothe indigestion.
  9. Wheel out trapped gas. Lay on the floor, legs up in the air and move them in a bicycle motion. Wheee! Trapped gas can be really painful, and this exercise will help you get some relief.
    Now that we’ve covered the benefits of fiber and how to overcome the common issues associated with eating fiber-rich foods, do you think you can try to make things work with this amazing and essential part of your diet?

Feeling bloated? Sometimes the key to a less bloated tummy (if you don’t suffer from food intolerances or digestive issues, of course) is pretty straightforward: eat more fibre, and more anti-inflammatory foods.

Fibre is a pretty game changing nutrient. It increases the feeling of fullness, which is good for general satiety when you’re eating meals, but it also 🙅 REAL TALK KLAXON 🙅 softens your stools which makes them easier to pass – which in turn stops bloating.

So to decrease the bloating in your life, nutritionist Tom Oliver gave us the low down on fibre-rich and anti-inflammatory foods that should be your flat tummy weapons:

1. Oats

Instagram

Oats are full of fibre, and also beta-glucans, which are amazing for your digestion. The easiest way to get your oats in the morning is a creamy serving of porridge, or oats with greek yoghurt. But if you’re not a porridge fan, or can’t digest dairy, try oat milk in your coffee, tea, cereal or protein shake (we like Oatly).

2. Avocado

Getty Images

Avocado naturally detoxifies the body, and recent studies have shown that the dietary fibre in avocados also regulate your immune system and inflammation. Tom recommends an avocado every other day.

3. Citrus Fruits

Getty Images

Oranges, Lemons and grapefruits relieve bloating as they are citrus fruits that are rich in water. Fruits that are high in water content help to hydrate you, which also encourages your body to let go of excess water. Lemons are a gently laxative and diuretic when you add it to a warm glass of water, additionally lemon water eliminates salt retention which stops bloating. Tom says: ‘If you struggle to eat 3 citrus fruits a day, that you try infusing your water with a lemon, orange or a grapefruit.’

4. Greek Yoghurt

Getty Images

Greek yogurt is already pre-digested, meaning the milk sugar is broken down and ensuring you don’t have the same bloating or gassy response you can often have to milk. Active cultures lactobacillus and acidophilus found in yogurt can ease symptoms of bloating, too. Tom recommends Fage Greek Yoghurt, which has a lower sugar content than most brands.

5. Sweet Potato

Getty Images

Sweet pots are packed full of fibre, are very filling and will also fix your sweet tooth and satisfy your chip craving. Tom suggests getting creative with sweet potato noodles or toast.

6. Melons

Getty Images

Honeydew melon offers an easy way to help detox and flush out excess toxins from the body while providing an additional natural source of water. A compound found in these melons called Cucumis melo acts as a natural diuretic causing you to urinate excess water and salt out of your body. Whilst you may be flushing excess toxins from your body, these fruits also act as a natural electrolyte replacement due to the high level of potassium, relieving uncomfortable systems of bloating.

Related Story Lauren Smith Head of Social Lauren Smith is Cosmopolitan UK’s Head of Social, and looks after the site’s social media accounts, as well as occasionally covering fitness, health, lifestyle, and travel on the site.

Ask the experts

When I’ve tried to put extra fiber in my diet, my gas level gets even worse. Is there a product that will help increase fiber but not increase gas?

Doctor’s response

Fiber is defined as material made by plants that is not digested by the human gastrointestinal tract. Fiber is one of the mainstays in the treatment of constipation though it also may have additional uses such as the treatment of diverticular disease of the colon. Many types of fiber bind to water and keep the water within the intestine. The fiber and water adds bulk (volume) to the stool, and the water softens the stool. Increased gas (flatulence) is a common side effect of high-fiber diets. The gas occurs because bacteria within the colon produce gas as a by-product of their digestion of fiber.

There are different sources of fiber, and the type of fiber varies from source to source. Some types of fiber are digested to a greater extent by colonic bacteria than other types of fiber. The better-digested fiber produces more gas.

All fibers, no matter their source, can cause flatulence; however, since bacteria vary in their ability to digest different types of fiber, different sources of fiber may produce different amounts of gas. To complicate the situation, the ability of bacteria to digest one type of fiber can vary from individual to individual. This makes the selection of the best type of fiber for each individual (i.e., a fiber that improves the quality of the stool without causing flatulence) more difficult. The choice becomes a matter of trial and error.

What are the different types of fiber?

Types of fiber can be categorized in several ways, for example, by their source. The most common natural sources of fiber include fruits and vegetables as well as wheat or oat bran. These fibers are most likely to cause flatulence. Fibers used medicinally to treat constipation include psyllium seed, synthetic cellulose (methyl cellulose), and calcium polycarbophil. (A lesser known source is an extract of malt; however, this extract may soften stools in ways other than by increasing fiber.) Psyllium and methyl cellulose (and probably calcium polycarbophil) do not increase the production of gas; however, they still may result in the sensation of bloating. This may be due to an effect of these fibers that slows the transit of gas through the intestine.

The different sources of fiber should be tried one by one. The fiber should be started at a low dose. The dose should be increased every 1-2 weeks until either the desired effect on the stool is obtained or troublesome bloating or flatulence (or other gastrointestinal symptoms) supercedes. (Fiber does not work overnight!) If bloating or flatulence occurs, the dose of fiber can be reduced for a few weeks, and then the higher dose can be re-instituted. (It generally is said that the amount of bloating or gas that is produced by fiber decreases when it is ingested for a prolonged period of time; however, this has never been carefully studied or proven.) If bloating or flatulence remains a problem and prevents the dose of fiber from being raised to a level that affects the stool satisfactorily, it is time to try a different source of fiber.

When using increasing amounts of fiber, it is recommended that increasing amounts of water be ingested, presumably to provide water for the fiber to bind and prevent “hardening” of the fiber and obstruction of the intestine. This is simple and reasonable advice; however, it has never been shown that the amount of ingested water has any beneficial effect. (There is a lot of water in the normal intestine, and extra water is just absorbed and excreted in the urine.) Despite the lack of demonstrated benefit, it probably is a good idea not to become dehydrated while taking fiber supplements.

Get your fiber without the flatulence

We all know the benefits of eating enough fiber: lowers cholesterol, helps control blood sugar and keeps us regular. So why do we have such a hard time eating enough of it? It may be due to thinking of cardboard-tasting food and flatulence when we think of fiber. Fiber does not deserve its dull reputation.

So what exactly is fiber? Fiber is found in plant foods only. It is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. As a result, it passes through the body undigested.

Most children and adults need at least 20-30 grams of fiber per day. However, most Americans consume only 15 grams a day. Foods that are a good source of fiber include legumes, fruits, vegetables and grains. When you eat a balanced diet that includes all of these foods, you will likely consume the adequate/suggested amount of fiber. You will not need to add a supplement of fiber to your diet.

When you start including more fiber-rich foods in your diet, you may start to notice more flatulence (gas and bloating), which can be very uncomfortable, to say the least.

Certain foods can cause excessive gas for various reasons (the type of carbohydrate, digestive issues, etc.). However, there are a few steps you can take to reduce flatulence when you consume fiber-rich foods:

  1. Add fiber-rich foods to your diet gradually. For example, if you consume white bread on a regular basis, try switching to at least one serving of whole-grain bread a day for the first week, two servings a day the second week, etc. until all your bread is whole grain.
  2. Stay hydrated by drinking water. Doctors recommend that when you increase your fiber intake, you also increase your water intake. This allows the fiber to bind and prevents it hardening. It is also important to avoid carbonated drinks as they can cause excessive gas.
  3. Avoid certain behaviors that can cause you to swallow extra air. When we eat, we naturally tend to swallow air as we’re chewing. Chewing slowly, avoiding chewing gum, and avoiding smoking can help with swallowing less air.
  4. Prepare dried beans by soaking them overnight to make them more digestible. Discard the water the next day and cook the beans in fresh water. This will help get rid of some oligosaccharides (the sugars that exist in beans that cause flatulence). Rinsing canned beans can also help get rid of some of the oligosaccharides.

For more information on eating healthy, please contact your local Michigan State University Extension office.

Another week, another new study touting the benefits of a high-fiber diet. Fiber may not be the sexiest nutrient, but with all its superpowers—from lowering inflammation to boosting metabolism—it certainly proves itself as of the most vital when it comes to keeping your body in top form.

The World Health Organization recently published the findings of a study that suggests increased fiber intake is linked to reduced risk for stroke, heart disease, breast cancer, and diabetes. Pretty major! According to the study, the target is about 25 to 29 grams of fiber a day. But there’s a common roadblock that confronts people trying to include more fiber in their diets: bloating. Whether you up your fiber in the form of grain bowls or salads, bloat can be counted on to rear its ugly head.

It’s a complaint fiber queen and The F-Factor Diet founder Tanya Zuckerbrot, RD, is all too familiar with. Fortunately, she has plenty of tips. “If you’re not used to eating a lot of fiber, add it in slowly,” she says. “Think of fiber like a sponge in your gut. It swells up, and too much too fast can lead to distress and bloating. By adding a little bit each day, you can build up tolerance to more fiber. Any potential bloating or distress goes away once your digestive tract adapts to the recommended amount of fiber.”

To combat bloat, you’ll need to drink plenty of water, shooting for three liters each day. “Water plays a role in nearly every bodily function and fiber needs water to work its magic,” says Zuckerbrot. “When fiber combines with water it forms a soft gel, which leads to firm stools and allows for easy bowel movements. If you don’t drink enough water while eating a lot of high fiber foods, it can lead to constipation and bloating.”

Wellness expert Lindsey Elmore, who regularly talks with people about how to minimize bloat, echoes Zuckerbrot’s advice: “When the body is even minimally dehydrated, it pulls water from food waste,” she says. “This contributes to constipation, which can cause bloating and discomfort.” Elmore also recommends taking a probiotic, which can help to minimize digestive issues.

Zuckerbrot also recommends varying your source of fiber by consuming a balance of soluble (like beans and lentils) and insoluble (like wheat bran) varieties. “Too much of one type of fiber may lead to constipation or diarrhea, so a combination is recommended,” she says. “Both can contribute to healthy weight loss by increasing feeling of fullness and satiety and promoting regularity.”

If you increase your fiber slowly, drink plenty of water, and are mindful about your fiber sources, chances are those uncomfortable balloon-like feelings will, well, pop!

If you’re experiencing bloating on the reg, it could be one of these surprising reasons. And here are some ways to fix it—fast.

Ever wonder why you tend to get gassy at the worst possible moments?

Your farts are a combination of two things: the air you swallow (say, by eating too quickly) and the food you eat, says David Poppers, M.D., Ph.D., gastroenterologist and clinical associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Health.

Farting is completely normal and healthy. But it’s also extremely inconvenient, and some foods may affect you more than others. That’s because everyone harbors different bacteria in their gut, says Dr. Poppers, which are typically responsible for the gas you produce.

The following foods, however, seem to be common offenders. Here’s why they make you gassy — and what you can do about it.

CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES

Getty Images

Cruciferous vegetables — like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts — are particularly high in fiber, a type of carb your body can’t digest.

“Unlike most other components of food, fiber reaches the large intestine intact,” explains Myers. “The majority of the bacteria in the GI tract live in the large intestine. Bacteria have the capacity to utilize fiber for energy, but the byproduct of their metabolism is gas.”

OATS AND WHOLE WHEAT BREAD

Getty Images

Whole grains make you gassy for the same reason the vegetables listed above do: they’re equally high in fiber.

You don’t want to skimp on fiber, though, since it’s great for your heart, digestion, and weight. Instead, increase your intake slowly by eating an additional serving of a high-fiber food per day until your stomach gets more comfortable with it.

Drinking enough water during this process will help ease the gas, so for every 5 grams of fiber you add, increase your fluids by 8 ounces, says Myers.

MILK, CHEESE, AND YOGURT

Getty Images

Dairy contains a type of sugar called lactose, but many people have trouble digesting it because they have insufficient amounts of an enzyme called lactase, explains Myers, which can lead to bloating, gas, or even constipation.

In fact, about 65 percent of people have trouble digesting dairy as they grow older, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re completely lactose intolerant or allergic, though. Some people are merely sensitive to it, so you can try drinking reduced-lactose milk or taking lactase supplements (like this one) to see if that eases your stomach problems, says Myers.

If you experience severe abdominal pain, though, you should check in with your doc, ideally a gastroenterologist, so you can rule out the possibility of other serious health issues, says Dr. Poppers.

APPLES, BANANAS, AND PEACHES

Getty Images

Your body loves fruit — most of the time. If your stomach feels a bit rumbly after your daily apple, it could come down to the fiber, says Myers.

Fruit is also high in natural sugar, like fructose. “Although it’s less common than lactose intolerance, some people experience gas and bloating from fruit because their GI system doesn’t break down all the sugars in fruit properly,” he explains. “So these carbohydrates reach the large intestine and serve as food for bacteria, which produce gas as a byproduct.”

The biggest offenders include apples, peaches, raisins, bananas, apricots, prune juice, and pears, according to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders.

BEANS

Getty Images

Beans get their bad reputation for a reason. Most legumes — including lentils, nuts, and peas — are high in fiber, along with sugars your body can’t digest properly, like raffinose and stachyose, according to a study published in the Nutritional Journal.

Bacteria in your intestines break down these sugars, resulting in all sorts of gas, like hydrogen, methane, and even sulfur (responsible for that rotten egg smell).

Rinsing and draining canned beans can help reduce some of these gas-causing properties, says Myers.

SODA AND SELTZER WATER

Getty Images

Carbonated drinks can make you gassy because they cause you to swallow extra air, which gets trapped in your GI tract, says Myers. That air eventually has to be released, and the only way out is in the form of gas.

If you must have a fizzy beverage, go with a sugar-free seltzer.

PROTEIN

Getty Images

Protein is important for maintaining and building muscle, but eating too much of the nutrient can lead to major gas.

That’s because protein is broken into amino acids and absorbed into the bloodstream when you eat a normal amount, about one gram per kilogram of body weight, according to Kate Scarlata, R.D., author of The Low-FODMAP Diet Step by Step.

She previously explained to Men’s Health that excess amounts of protein goes right to your colon, where gut microbes have a feast. This makes your body produce hydrogen sulfide gas and leads to farting.

If you’re consuming protein shakes and bars, gassiness may be exacerbated. That’s because they’re often made from the milk proteins casein and whey, which is full of lactose, a major contributor to flatulence.

ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS

Getty Images

Those sugar-free products may have fewer carbs and calories, but they could cause you to pass gas. Artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol, erythritol, and xylitol aren’t completely absorbed by your intestine. This causes you to absorb fewer calories, but the alcohols are feremented by bacteria instead, which can cause more flatulence, bloating, and diarrhea, explains WebMd.

Artificial sweeteners are common in many low-sugar or sugar-free foods, like gum, diet soda, cookies, and protein bars.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF GAS IS A CONSTANT ISSUE?

Getty Images

If gas is becoming a consistent problem, taking a tablet like beano with your meals may help, since it contains an enzyme that makes fart-inducing foods easier to digest, says Dr. Poppers.

You may also want to try keeping a food log for a few weeks, he suggests. Write down what you eat, how much of it, and how it makes you feel. This can help you pinpoint the worst offenders. Once you have that down, a doc or an R.D. can help you figure out the best way to approach your diet if you want to minimize gas.

Take note of any other bothersome symptoms, like constipation, stomach pain, or heartburn, or nausea, says Dr. Poppers. This way, your doctor can rule out other serious GI issues, like irritable bowel syndrome.

Alisa Hrustic Senior Editor, Prevention.com Alisa Hrustic has spent her entire career interviewing top medical experts, interpreting peer-reviewed studies, and reporting on health, nutrition, weight loss, and fitness trends for outlets like Women’s Health and Men’s Health, where she both interned and worked full-time. Melissa Matthews Health Writer Melissa Matthews is the Health Writer at Men’s Health, covering the latest in food, nutrition, and health.

ABC Health & Wellbeing

Lifting the lid on farting and flatulence

by Cathy Johnson

Love the idea of a healthy high-fibre diet but not so keen on its after effects? Fear not. There’s more to farting than meets the eye (or even the nose).

Does eating a chickpea curry make you fearful of sharing a confined space like a car, office or elevator with others?

Or perhaps you steer clear of cabbage, onions and baked beans to avoid ‘trouser coughs’.

All these high-fibre foods get the nutritionist’s tick of approval. But they also have a well-deserved reputation for generating intestinal gas, says Gut Foundation president Dr Terry Bolin, who confesses to a strong personal interest in farting, flatulence and bloating.

Why farts smell (or don’t)

While we all pass wind – no-one is immune – incredibly, as many as 60 per cent of us never produce smelly farts because we don’t have the particular bacteria responsible for the bad odours living in our guts, Bolin says.

“About 40 per cent of the population produce smelly gas, others don’t.”

If you’ve got the smell-producing bugs – and it shouldn’t be hard to tell – it pays to know they love sulphites, which are present in large amounts in foods like cabbage, broccoli, onions, brussel sprouts, peas, leeks and garlic. There are also lesser amounts in eggs, milk, nuts, seafood and meat. Sulphites are also added to some processed foods during manufacturing, for example long life fruit juices and dried fruit as well as deli meats and wine.

Spices can also contribute to the bouquet of your gas so a curry of any type may be a valid reason to avoid those shared confined spaces. When the curry contains chickpeas, there’s double the reason to seek time alone.

But it’s the fibre in foods that’s the biggest trigger for farting and yes, if you increase your fibre intake, you will produce more gas. But Bolin says it’s a small price to pay for the benefits a high fibre diet brings. It wards off constipation and also generates fatty acids that nourish the lining of colon and help prevent diseases like bowel cancer.

Excessive sugar, especially artificial sweeteners, can also give you flatulence, however – even fruit can be problematic if you eat a lot – as can large amounts of milk and ice cream if you’re lactose intolerant.

But the idea swallowed air from things like carbonated drinks could increase farting doesn’t wash with Bolin. “I don’t think there’s much truth to that. I don’t believe it anyway.”

Why do we fart?

Most of the gas we pass is produced in the colon (part of the large intestine) by bacteria which feed on dietary fibre and some types of starches and sugars.

Some of the gases the bacteria make are absorbed in the blood and eventually expired on our breath, others are used as energy by the bugs themselves. The rest, about 1500 millilitres a day, is passed out through the anus as “flatus”. (Any associated noise is dependent on factors including the volume of gas and your anus size; with a relaxed, large, anus giving a lower pitch than a smaller tight one.)

There’s a huge range of what’s considered normal; it can range from – “some people say nothing, but that’s hard to believe, to up to 50 times a day,” Bolin says. “Women do pass less gas than men, but whether that’s social responsibility or less gas, no-one knows.”

Women average seven farts a day and men about 12, he says. (Yes, it’s actually been counted. He and nutritionist Rosemary Stanton once did a landmark study in which participants were given hand held metal counters to click each time they broke wind.)

Should you worry about your farting?

Farting is perfectly normal and certainly never life-threatening – although those around you may at times feel otherwise. But if you want to reduce it, you need to know that each of us responds differently to different foods.

So you probably need to experiment with cutting out potential offenders and reintroducing them one at a time to see which ones affect you.

The same advice applies to those whose problem is not so much the gas that gets out, but rather the gas that stays in, making them feel bloated and uncomfortable. (Holding farts back for social reasons can sometimes cause this problem, Bolin says.)

Any reintroduction of fart-inducing foods, or indeed any attempt to eat more fibre generally, should be gradual – over a period of weeks or months as this helps your body learn to tolerate it better.

You don’t need to switch to a poor diet, just to eat foods you find problematic in moderation; “beans, chickpeas and lentils are notorious,” Bolin says (although soaking them for long periods and throwing away the soaking water before cooking helps).

You could try changing your bread to those made from grains such as spelt (an ancient form of wheat) or rye as these are still high in fibre, but for some reason seem to generate less gas in most people, he says.

“You’ve got to eat enough fibre to overcome constipation, but avoid fibre that’s going to give you symptoms of bloating and pain . You have to match your fibre to your stool output. The aim of everyone is to produce a sausage a day at least – preferably a kransky rather than a chipolata.”

Fart fighting drugs

There are numerous over the counter and prescription medicines – including those based on charcoal and peppermint – that may reduce wind and farts. Even drinking peppermint tea can help, Bolin says.

“There’s also a pancreatic supplement you can take that will improve digestion of fibre in the small intestine, so you get less fibre reaching the colon to be fermented and produce gas.” But the most potent form of this supplement is available on prescription only.

As for foods containing live bacteria like acidophilus that claim to reduce gas, Bolin says it’s hard to translate the limited research evidence to real life.

“There is a lot of hype about probiotics . Some of them might work for some people. It’s a matter of trial and error.”

Published 24/09/2013

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *