The Foods Most Likely to Cause Gas

1
Gassiest Vegetables and Legumes

Crock of baked beans.
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We all know the jingle about beans, but there are plenty of other gassy foods -- foods that have the potential for contributing to intestinal discomfort, bloating and flatulence. If gas has become a problem for you, knowing about these gassy foods can help you make better food choices.

In general, gassy foods are those that contain certain sugars (fructose, lactose, raffinose and sorbitol) and/or soluble fiber. These substances are not digested at the level of the stomach and thus make their way down to your intestines where bacteria break them down. The end result of this breakdown is the release of gas.

The following vegetables are those most likely to give you gas due to the fact that they contain the sugars raffinose and/or fructose. Remember these vegetables are actually very good for you, so just avoid them on those occasions when you absolutely need to be gas-free.

Gassy Vegetables:

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Sweet potatoes

Gassiest Legumes:

  • Baked beans
  • Black beans
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Butter beans
  • Cannelinni (white) beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Lima beans
  • Navy beans

2
Gassiest Fruits

orange, apple and pear
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The following fruits have a reputation for being gas-producing as they contain fructose, sorbitol and/or soluble fiber. Again, these fruits are good for you, so try to eat them on days when it is okay if you are a little gassier than usual.

Gassy Fruits:

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Mango
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Watermelon

Dried fruits:

  • Apricots
  • Prunes
  • Raisins

3
Gassiest Dairy Products

milk and various cheeses
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Even if you have not been diagnosed with lactose intolerance, you may find that eating dairy products results in unwanted gas. As our bodies age, we tend to produce less of the enzyme lactase that is necessary for digesting lactose (the sugar found in milk and other dairy products), and thus gassiness resulting from dairy foods may become a problem. Here are some dairy products to skip to avoid having gas:

  • Buttermilk
  • Cream cheese
  • Heavy cream
  • Ice cream
  • Milk
  • Processed foods containing milk products
  • Ricotta

4
Whole Grains

bread, grains and pasta
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Although whole grains contain some helpful vitamins and are a source of dietary fiber, the soluble fiber content of some, as well as the presence of  raffinose, a type of sugar, can create intestinal gas. Here are those to avoid when if you don't want to experience unwanted gassiness.

  • Barley
  • Flax seed
  • Rye
  • Wheat

5
Gassiest Drinks

soda bubbles
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The following beverages may contain fructose, sorbitol, or carbonation, all of which can contribute to intestinal gas:

  • Beer
  • Fruit juices
  • Soda (regular and diet) 

6
Sugar-Free Foods

sugar-free candy
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Sometimes the thing that is giving us gas is something we have not paid any attention to. Many people do not know that a big gas-producer is sugar-free gum. 

Many sugar-free food products contain sorbitol, which can be fermented by gut bacteria, resulting in unwanted gas. Read labels carefully when purchasing sugar-free gums, candy, and snack foods to ensure that they don't contain sorbitol. 

7
Chronic Problems with Gas?

overweight unhappy man
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Avoiding food is also not the only way to reduce intestinal gas. There are many effective over-the-counter treatment options that help your body to digest the offending sugars so that you can eat these gassy foods without having a gas problem.

You will see that many of the foods on the above list are those that are quite good for you -- that is, they offer significant nutritional benefit. Thus, it is important to accurately pinpoint which foods are specifically a problem for your body, rather than to unnecessarily put yourself on a restricted diet. The use of a food diary will help you to accomplish this. Once you have identified a problem food, try to see if your body can tolerate smaller amounts of that food, so that you can still benefit from its nutritional components.

You may also want to speak to your doctor about possibly going on the low-FODMAP diet. This diet was designed as a dietary treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It calls for a short-term restriction of FODMAPs, which are carbohydrates found in common foods that have been found to contribute to IBS symptoms, including those of gas and bloating. After the restriction (or elimination) phase, you would slowly start to introduce high-FODMAP foods back in your diet to find out which FODMAP type is still problematic for you.

8
Other Causes of Intestinal Gas

Bloated stomach
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It is also important to keep in mind that food is not the only cause of intestinal gas. The following habits can cause air to be swallowed which can contribute to belching, bloating, and excessive gassiness:

  • Chewing gum
  • Eating too quickly
  • Drinking carbonated beverages
  • Sucking on hard candies
  • Dentures that don't fit well.
  • Smoking

Sources:

Nanayakkara WS, Skidmore PM, O’Brien L, Wilkinson TJ, Gearry RB. "Efficacy of the low FODMAP diet for treating irritable bowel syndrome: the evidence to date." Clinical and Experimental Gastroenterology 2016;9:131-42.

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC) Gas in the Digestive Tract.

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