How Can I Have Less Gas and Bloating?

If Gas And Bloating Are Problems For You, Watching Your Diet Is A Good Start

Chewing Gum
Do you chew gum? You might find that it causes you to burp or to have some excess gas in your stomach. Image © Maximilian Stock Ltd. / Photolibrary / Getty Images

Gas is a fact of life -- everyone has gas! In fact, many of us think that we have more than we should. In reality, most people pas gas 14 times a day for a total of 1 to 3 pints of gas. Although gas is normal for everyone, you can do some things to reduce the amount of gas that you have each day. Some of the things you can do to reduce gas including making changes in your diet and avoiding certain behaviors when you eat.

What Causes Gas?

Gas is a normal part of the digestive process -- you're not going to be able to stop having gas entirely. When food breaks down in the digestive tract, it doesn't break down entirely. There are byproducts. And one of those byproducts is intestinal gas. If you think about it, this is a good thing: having gas means that your digestive tract is doing what it is supposed to do, which is removing nutrients from the food you eat.

Gassy Foods 

Reducing the amount of "gassy" foods in the diet may help. Every person reacts to food differently, but some foods that commonly cause gas are:

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn
  • Fructose (found in tree fruits, berries and melons)
  • Potatoes
  • Wheat

Dairy

Dairy may cause gas if you are lactose intolerant. Eating and drinking fewer dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt) may help. Beware of hidden sources of dairy, and read food labels carefully to see if milk is an ingredient.

Sugar Substitutes

Yes, those "low-fat" or "reduced-calorie" foods contain a hidden gassy danger in the form of a sugar substitute. These food additives are notoriously hard on the digestive tract and include:

  • Sorbitol
  • Mannitol
  • Xylitol

Carbonation

Carbonated beverages can be a real culprit for causing gas.

Even bottled water may now contain carbonation. Reduce the amount of carbonated beverages you drink every day to eliminate this as a source of gas.

Other Ways To Have Less Gas

Chewing gum. The act of chewing gum can introduce gas into the digestive tract. If you're a gum chewer, cutting back on this habit may help reduce gas.

Smoking. We all know that smoking isn't the best choice for a healthy lifestyle. It can also introduce gas into the digestive tract. Stopping smoking has a variety of health benefits, and it can also cut down on the amount of gas you have.

Drinking with straws. We all drink through a straw when we go out to eat, because who wants to put their mouth on a glass? However, drinking draws can cause you to take more gas in, and result in belching.

Sucking on candy. A mint after a meal, or a piece of candy as a treat or to keep your mouth busy while dieting or while stopping smoking can also cause gas. It might be a trade-off: bad breath or some gas? But at the very least you might want to cut back, or cut back during those times when you are having gas for another reason.

Sources:

Larson J. "Sugar & Artificial Sweeteners." Ask the Dietitian. 2012. 25 Nov 2015.

National Institutes of Health. "Gas in the Digestive Tract." National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases 02 Jan 2013. 25 Nov 2015.

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