Weight Loss Wednesday: Got Gas?
Beans, Beans, They’re Good For Your Heart!
The more you eat, the more you… Oh, hello there! Today we discuss a topic usually confined to bathrooms and not often discussed in polite company. Gas is a topic favored by pretty much no one, yet we all can relate. Rest assured that if this is a problem for you, you aren’t alone. This week I break down what gas is, what causes it, and how we can combat it.
Bowel gas is caused by the presence of air on the digestive tract. It gets there when you swallow air or when bacteria in your digestive tract break down certain foods. This gas often contains traces of sulfur, which is responsible for the odor we are all too familiar with. According to the U.S. department of health, most people pass gas between 13-21 times per day.
Some foods are known to cause more gas within the intestines. Got gas? Moderate your intake of foods like carbonated beverages, fried or high fat foods and foods high in soluble fiber such as dried fruits, nuts, as well as fresh apples and pearsThat third thing might be a shocker, but its true. Although fiber has many benefits to it, the consumption of too much soluble fiber can be an issue. Since humans cant break down some fibers on our own, we rely on bacteria living in our intestines to do it for us- this process produces gas (and accompanying social awkwardness).
Beans, long known to be a gas producing food, give you a one-two punch in the gut, as not only do they contain high amounts of soluble fiber, but also natural sugars that are difficult for the body to break down. Therefore, extra effort from your gut= extra gas. These sorts of sugars are also found in some vegetables and whole grains.
So how do you get rid of gas? There are several strategies. Here are a few:
· Eat mindfully. Slow chewing means less air swallowed and less gas potential
· Decrease the amount of soluble fiber in your diet. (see link below for a chart to help you out)
· If the above steps don’t work for you, consider Beano, a product that helps you break down the gas causing sugars and fibers before they reach your gut.
o Take it at the beginning of each meal for best results and remember that one dose is only enough to help digest about one serving of hard to digest foods, so you’ll need more if you are eating more than one serving of pro-gas foods.
· Still no luck? Get tested. Lactose intolerance and Irritable Bowel Syndrome can also cause gas.