Your body naturally releases gas as a byproduct of undigested foods. It’s normal to experience burping and flatulence as most people produce about 1 to 4 pints a day and pass gas about 14-20 times a day.
The most common symptoms of gas are flatulence, abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, and belching. Foods that produce gas in one person, might not produce gas in another. Mainly because each person is unique.
There are two major sources of intestinal gas, such as air swallowed through mouth and gas formed by bacteria that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract. Usually, a small amount of gas is swallowed during ingestion of food and drinking of water, which is then passed out either as burping or though rectum. Burping, or belching, is the way most swallowed air, which contains nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide, leaves the stomach.
Portions of foods that can’t be broken down and digested by the intestines travel to the colon, which is full of bacteria. The bacteria in your colon ferment these undigested particles of food, resulting in gas, burping, and flatulence. The maximum amount of gas is released by the intestinal bacteria while breaking down the undigested food particles that contain complex carbohydrates and fiber.
The unpleasant odor of flatulence, the gas that passes through the rectum, comes from bacteria in the large intestine that release small amounts of gases containing sulfur. A person who produces methane will have stools that consistently float in water.
Foods May Cause Gas Include
Beans, such as the assorted colors and types of dried beans pictured, are a well known high fiber food source that can cause gas and increased flatulence.
High fiber foods that are rich in soluble fiber (e.g. oat bran, beans and some fruits) can also be a cause of excessive gas formation. There is a lot of fiber in the skin of the fruit (around 5.5 grams of fiber) along with some sugar.
Vegetables such as beans, cabbage, cauliflower, potatoes, artichokes, onion, peas, celery, asparagus, carrots, corn, broccoli, radishes and other legumes are found to cause gas.
Lactose, a natural sugar present in milk, is one of the most common causes of gas. Gas formation due to consumption of dairy products is usually higher among people who have lactose intolerance symptoms. When we get older, our ability to breakdown lactose decreases and causes people to get more bloated. Lactose is a sugar that bacteria eats, so products like milk, cheese and ice cream can cause gas.
Prunes, apples, raisins, bananas and apricots as well as juices made from prunes, grapes and apples can cause gas.
Other foods that cause gas are sweeteners, fatty foods and carbonated beverages.
Artificial sweeteners like mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol may aggravate gas production in some people.
Intestinal Gas and Bloating
If you suffer from intestinal gas and bloating, you may find reassurance in the fact that treatment is available.
Reducing gas and bloating is not just about changing what you eat. Other options are available, such as making some simple behavior changes or taking an over the counter (OTC) supplements. Doctors may prescribe medicines to help reduce symptoms, especially for people with a disorder such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Remember that gas is normal, and there is a huge health benefit to eating a lot of fiber. But, if these foods cause you to have frequent, persistent gas or pain in your abdomen, you may have to find some dietary alternatives.
Although gas may be uncomfortable and embarrassing, it is not life threatening. Understanding causes, ways to reduce symptoms, and treatment will help most people find some relief.