8 Foods That Can Give You Gas

If You're Looking To Avoid Gas, These Foods Should Be Off Your Plate

Some people are surprised to learn that everybody has gas. The creation of intestinal gas is part of the normal digestive process. The amount may vary from person to person, but no one is immune!

Many of us feel that gas is embarrassing and is something to hide. What's more, it can be a source of discomfort for some people, and​ as a result, they want to know how they can have less of it. For people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), gas and bloating during flare-ups are a common problem. While there's no way to get rid of intestinal gas completely, avoiding or cutting back on foods that cause gas may help relieve some discomfort. As always, be sure to check with a physician before cutting a food group out of your diet entirely.


Barbecue baked beans
Beans are a wonderful addition to your diet, but they could cause gas. Jacob Snavely/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Most people know that beans tend to cause more gas than other foods. The reason why is that beans contain raffinose, a type of sugar that cannot be broken down or digested in the small intestine. This sugar then passes undigested into the colon, where it is fermented by "good" bacteria, with gas as a byproduct. You can avoid gas from beans by taking an enzyme supplement, such as Beano, that breaks down the raffinose in beans.

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Mushrooms are used as a flavorful addition to many dishes, but they are potentially gassy. Photo © Dirk Ziegener

Mushrooms, like beans, contain the sugar raffinose. Eating mushrooms can cause gas because the raffinose does not fully digest but instead undergoes fermentation in the large intestine. Mushrooms could also be a problem for people who have strictures or scar tissue from previous abdominal surgery.


Milk can cause lactose intolerance. Photo © Steve Woods

If you're one of the many adults who are lactose intolerant, dairy products can cause a significant amount of gas and bloating. People who are lactose intolerant lack the enzyme lactase, which is necessary to break down lactose (milk sugar). This results in gas and bloating, among other symptoms. If you avoid dairy completely, you will want to find other food sources for your daily calcium intake. (Note that lactose intolerance is different than a true milk allergy. People with a milk allergy should avoid milk in any form, at all times.)

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Wheat Bread
Wheat, which can be found in many foods, may lead to excess gas. Photo © Svein Johannessen

Wheat is not often thought of as a food that causes gas. However, the starch in wheat creates gas when it is broken down in the large intestine by good bacteria. Wheat also contains fructose, a natural sugar that is can be found in fruit (see below). Any undigested fructose from the wheat may ferment in the large intestine and lead to gas.


Potatoes are a staple of many people's diets, and they can cause gas. Photo © Monika Henkel

Potatoes are another food that aren't often thought of as first on the list as a potential cause of gas and bloating. However, potatoes are a starch, and starches can produce gas in the large intestine. Many people eat potatoes on a regular basis without issue, but for some, they can cause a troublesome amount gas.


Fruit is a healthful addition to the diet, but it can lead to gas. Photo © Antonella Falbo

Apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, pears, plums, and prunes are especially well-known for causing excess gas. The reason is that fruit (like wheat) contains fructose, and if you ingest more than your body can digest, the remaining fructose is broken down by fermentation. A byproduct of fermentation in the large intestine is gas.


Broccoli is a very healthful food that gets quite a bad rep because it also causes gas. Photo © Colin Higgins

Broccoli is a healthy food, but it is also notorious for causing gas. The fiber in broccoli is not completely digested in the small intestine, so when the good bacteria in the large intestine goes to work digesting it, gas is created as a result.

Eating large amounts of broccoli will cause more gas. Some people find that eating small amounts of broccoli and increasing the amount slowly over time, may help reduce the amount of gas. However, others will find that the amount of gas caused by broccoli never abates.

Sweeteners (Xylitol, Maltitol, Sorbitol, Erythritol)

Some sweeteners can really cause gastric upset. Photo © Sanja Gjenero

Many foods labeled as "sugar-free" or "diet" often contain sweeteners such as xylitol, maltitol, sorbitol, or erythritol. These are naturally-occurring sugars that are added to foods and drinks to make them sweeter. When these sugars are broken down by bacteria in the large intestine, gas results. If you're trying to avoid these sugars, it's important to read food labels closely.

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