Gas causes that uncomfortable feeling we’ve all experienced at some point or another, some of us more often than others. What is gas? Gas is usually a by-product of your body breaking down food. Once that gas is trapped in your digestive tract, there are only two places it can be released from. If you’re lucky, the gas is released from the body via the mouth in the form of a burp, which you can politely excuse yourself from. On the other hand, more complex gas may fight its way out the other end, leaving you and those around you in a smelly situation. If you suffer from frequent gas and its lovely symptoms, fear not. We’ve got you covered with our list of top seven foods that make you fart, which you should probably avoid consuming before going out in public.
The idiom “cut the cheese” is often used to describe passing gas, and for good reason. It references the foul smell emitted by some cheeses when the rind is cut open, a foul smell that is similar to the stench of flatulence. Cheese can also be the source of flatulence. Dairy products like cheese, which are derived from milk, contain a sugar known as lactose. Lactose is broken down in the gut by an enzyme called lactase. If lactose isn’t broken down sufficiently, it proceeds to the colon where it ferments and produces gas. If you suffer from lactose intolerance, a condition in which you’re lactase deficient, your symptoms may be even worse. Additionally, some cheeses are high in fat, and high-fat products can also contribute to gassiness since they delay stomach emptying. Therefore, it’s best to stick with low-fat cheeses and other dairy products if you’re trying to reduce gas.
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Beans are well known for being the magical fruit that makes you toot, but what is it about this legume that causes an awful stench? Certain types of sugars in beans aren’t easily digested, and can lead to increased gas production. Additionally, while their high soluble fiber content may help your heart, it certainly doesn’t help your gas. In fact, increasing your soluble fiber intake too suddenly causes the bacteria in your digestive tract to work in overdrive, fermenting left and right to help break it down, and therefore causing excess gas. Beans are a cost-effective source of protein and fiber, so we’re not recommending cutting them out of your diet. If you’re not much of a bean eater but want to be one, just be sure to slowly increase your intake of beans, and drink lots of water with them to help keep things moving along in your digestive tract. Also, the liquid beans are canned is also full of gas-causing sugars, so be sure to discard it and rinse the beans thoroughly prior to eating them.
Apples, like prunes and pears, contain both fiber and sorbitol, which equals a recipe for stench. A high-fiber intake, while providing numerous health benefits such as weight control and improving cholesterol levels, can also cause gas—especially if you don’t typically follow a high-fiber diet. Sorbitol, a sugar alcohol, exhibits laxative effects because the body has a hard time breaking it down. It’s incompletely digested and fermented by bacteria in the gut, and also draws water into the large intestine, thereby promoting bowel movements and flatulence. Of course, we don’t recommend eliminating apples from the diet, or even avoiding them. Apples are an excellent source of pectin, a type of fiber that supports a healthy and properly functioning digestive system. Just be sure to consume them well in advance of a date night, or worse, an interview.
High fructose corn syrup plus carbonation can certainly add up to flatulence. Fructose is found naturally in foods like honey and fruits, and it’s also the main ingredient in high fructose corn syrup. Fructose is another one of those sugars that’s not easily digested by the body. It empties from the stomach more rapidly than other sugars, yet is more slowly absorbed. Therefore, it can linger in your gastrointestinal tract undigested, causing gas and bloating. High fructose corn syrup is the second ingredient listed in cola, making up the almost 40 grams of sugar in just one, 12-ounce can. The first ingredient listed is carbonated water, another culprit that can cause flatulence. Carbonated liquid can cause a buildup of air in the stomach, leading to bloating, abdominal pain, cramping, belching, and of course, flatulence. This is one beverage we certainly don’t recommend keeping in the diet. To eliminate it from your diet, try slowly swapping out one cola at a time for fruit-infused water or naturally flavored waters, until you no longer need it.
Yes, something as small as a stick of sugar-free gum can lead to big gas buildup. Chewing any type of gum in general can lead to gas buildup. That’s because with each chew you swallow air, which then builds up in the stomach. Sugar-free gum has another caveat when it comes to flatulence. It contains the sugar alcohol sorbitol, which is also found in some fruits like apples, prunes, and pears. Since the body has a hard time breaking down sorbitol, it travels undigested into the bowel where it’s broken down by bacteria. The bacteria then pass their own gas, which ends up as your flatulence. Chewing a piece of gum here and there is nothing to be concerned about, and it may even help improve your concentration, stress, and eating habits. You may just want to stick with the sugared kind if you’re extra cautious about farting.
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Have you ever lit up a room after downing a batch of kale chips? That’s because cruciferous vegetables, like kale, broccoli, and cauliflower, are rich in sulfur. Sulfur is a chemical compound that, when broken down in the large intestine, produces hydrogen sulfide, a gas. Not only can it cause flatulence, but also very smelly flatulence, often described as the smell of rotten eggs. However, cruciferous vegetables should be included in the diet because research has repeatedly linked them to lower cancer risks. To get kale in your diet without the embarrassment, we recommend adding it to a breakfast shake or smoothie. Not only will doing so mask kale’s somewhat unpleasant, bitter taste, you’ll also be able to fart away the hydrogen sulfide produced in peace during your car ride to work.
For those of you unfamiliar with this one, you’ll probably find it at the beginning of the ingredient label on your protein and energy bars, or other food items branded as “high-fiber” or “gluten-free,” like breakfast cereals and breads. Chicory root, also listed as “inulin” on ingredient labels, is popular among food and nutritional supplement manufacturers thanks to its ability to successfully mix with many other ingredients and its versatility in boosting fiber content of a wide variety of products. Chicory root is a prebiotic fiber, meaning it feeds the good bacteria inhabiting your gut, also known as probiotics. Essentially, it goes undigested until it reaches the colon, where it’s fermented by bacteria. The more fermenting the bacteria are doing, the more gas that’s being produced as a byproduct, resulting in uncomfortable symptoms like flatulence and bloating. When it comes to chicory root, it appears people either tolerate it quite well, or not at all. If you’re experiencing gas every time you eat a particular high-fiber packaged product, you may want to check the ingredient label, because chicory root or inulin may be lurking inside.