Gas is one of the most common digestive symptoms globally. Many things can cause gas, but the food you eat is a large culprit (7).
It is essential to always consider other things that can cause gas, too. Some include not chewing properly (30), which can negatively affect digestion, lack of movement, gut dysbiosis or imbalance, (1) and overeating or binge eating (2).
Did you know that one of the most common reasons many experience gas is due to improper eating? (3) One easy way to counter that is to make sure you are chewing your food well before swallowing. A good rule of thumb is to count between 20-30 chews until the food is as much of a liquid as possible (8), (9).
Excessive gas can also indicate health issues that you may need to monitor. Although there can be many culprits to gas, food is a huge contributor (7). The food you eat can either help to create harmony in the body, or it can wreak havoc on the body. When you eat food that does not agree with your unique body, it can cause unruly and unpleasant symptoms like gas, diarrhea, and other stomach issues (9).
Tip: Chewing your food adequately, regular physical activity, gastrointestinal balance, and eating the right portions of food can help reduce excessive gas symptoms. Certain foods can also cause gas, so it’s best to eat those foods in proper servings.
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Foods that Cause Gas
Is it time to revamp your diet to relieve gas? Find out some of the most common foods that cause gas and see for yourself.
Dairy is one of the most common culprits of not only gas, but also other more serious gastrointestinal distress, too. The reason is that a large portion of the population is lactose intolerant, which means they have a hard time digesting lactose in dairy, leading to GI symptoms like gas (10), (11).
But some dairy is hard for many to digest, even if you are not lactose intolerant. The most common gas culprit is dairy from cow’s milk because it has a harder to digest A1 casein protein. (4) Dairy from sheep or goat milk is typically easier to digest (12).
Many foods, especially processed foods, contain dairy in the ingredients even if they are not dairy food. Dairy is often in bread, boxed foods, and more. It can be easy to overlook these because many people do not assume dairy would be in there, to begin with. If you know you have a dairy allergy or intolerance or if you have gas often, see if cutting out dairy helps reduce it.
Tip: If you have a dairy allergy or intolerance, it’s best to avoid it and switch to other calcium-rich beverages like soy or almond milk. Dairy from sheep or goat milk is also easier to digest than regular cow’s milk.
Wheat can be another food that can affect many people in regards to gastrointestinal issues like gas, bloating, diarrhea, and more (13).
Many people suffer from celiac disease, which means any intake of wheat will set off a series of gastrointestinal symptoms such as excess gas (14). But more people beyond celiac disease can be sensitive to wheat and gluten, resulting in similar symptoms (13). Everyone reacts to wheat and gluten differently. It is up to you to listen to your body and what it needs.
Wheat can be a healthy addition to many diets, even though some do get symptoms like gas. Wheat is most commonly present in bread, cereals, common sauces, starches, and more. Be sure to read the ingredients on your food well if you have celiac disease or if you have a food sensitivity to gluten that may result in bloating, gas, or diarrhea.
Tip: If you are celiac or have a sensitivity to wheat products, focus on incorporating gluten-free grains such as sorghum, teff, brown rice, quinoa, oats, or amaranth.
While onions are extremely healthy food for most, they are high in FODMAPS, which are a group of foods that can lead to digestive distress for some (15). This can include irritable bowel syndrome flareups, which usually includes gas (7). Those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome who cut down on foods like onions that are high in FODMAPS cut down their symptoms (5), (15).
For those who do not get severe gas from onions, they can be a part of a healthy and nutritious diet. Onions are anti-viral, antimicrobial, and full of many important nutrients and antioxidants (16), (17).
Onions can be a powerful addition to your diet for these reasons and more. Beyond their nutrient profile, onions can also help to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases (6).
Tip: If regular onions give you gas, use chives or green onions (the green tips, not the white bulb) to flavor food instead.
Garlic is also high on the list of high FODMAP foods. That is because they are high in Fructans, part of the group called oligosaccharide, which represents the ‘O’ in FODMAP (18).
Fructans are typically more difficult to digest because they are sometimes not well-absorbed in the small intestine. This is more so the case for those who already suffer from gastrointestinal issues, so the garlic can make it worse for those individuals (15).
Tip: Garlic is highly nutritious, but may also cause gas for some. To get the garlic flavor without developing gas, cook with low FODMAP friendly garlic-infused oils or add chives to your favorite dishes.
5. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables are naturally high in the carbohydrate raffinose, which leads to gas and occasionally bloating for some. They are also high in fiber, so the combination can create a buildup of gas (7).
The most common cruciferous vegetables include cauliflower, cabbage, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, and bok choy. Just because these vegetables can cause gas does not mean you should never eat them. Not all food that causes gas is an issue.
Remember that many factors contribute to excess gas, too. Eating too much, even of these healthy vegetables, can cause gas too. Also, eating your food too fast, without chewing properly, can lead to more gas. Eat mindfully and slowly. Plus, always change up the type of vegetables you eat to best avoid gas from occurring (7).
Tip: Eat smaller portions of cruciferous vegetables, consume one cruciferous vegetable instead of multiple during a meal, and change up the type of vegetables you eat to avoid gas from occurring.
6. Whole Grains
Wheat is a type of whole grain, but many others can cause gas, too. Wheat is typically the largest culprit for many, especially those with celiac disease (13).
The most common types of whole grains include quinoa, buckwheat, barley, millet, maize, farro, amaranth, and much more. While some of these contain gluten, some do not, so gluten is not the only thing that can bring up gas symptoms (7), (21).
Whole grains can cause gas because of how they digest in the intestines. Like other foods on this list, whole grains contain fiber, starches, and raffinose, which can cause gas. Although whole grains should be able to get broken down by bacteria in the gut, some do suffer from gas (22).
Tip: If whole grains cause gas, stick with a portion of 1/4 cup or less at a time, and drink plenty of water when you consume them.
Beans are high in insoluble and soluble fiber, making them a common gas culprit. They even have a short song to signify that fact (7).
So, you do not always have to avoid beans to prevent gas. There are a few things you can do to make sure you do not get gassy when enjoying all the nutrient beans have to offer.
From kidney beans to navy, baked, black, pinto, and more, beans are one of the most versatile foods that are naturally high in many vitamins and minerals. You can still enjoy beans without the gas. Make sure to soak dried beans overnight or for a few hours before cooking to remove as many lectins as possible. Beans are typically high in lectins, which can lead to excess gas and bloating (22). You can also add a teaspoon of baking soda when cooking beans. This can be a helpful way to de-gas your beans (23).
Tip: Soak dried beans overnight or for a few hours before cooking to remove lectins, which in high amounts causes gas. Or add a teaspoon of baking soda when cooking beans. Baking soda breaks down gas-inducing sugar in beans.
Legumes have simple sugars, galactooligosaccharides (GOS) and Fructans, making them a high FODMAP food as well (24).
Along with beans, legumes include a few other types of foods as well. Some of the most common legumes that can cause gas include chickpeas and peas.
Like beans, legumes like chickpeas and peas do not have to be left out of your diet altogether. They are an excellent source of plant-based protein, essential nutrients, and they can be a part of a healthy diet. How can you eat more without getting gassy? Simply take the bean soaking tip from above. Add baking soda if you want to make sure you will not get gassy after, too (23).
Tip: Soaking or adding baking soda when cooking legumes helps to reduce gas. Canned legumes are also generally lower in FODMAPs, which may also reduce symptoms.
9. Foods with Artificial Sweeteners
Refined sugar and many artificial sweeteners are difficult to digest (25). Many foods contain artificial sweeteners like baked goods, canned foods, boxed foods, pudding, jams, and more. These can include sugars like lactose, fructose, sorbitol, sucralose, and sugar alcohol to name a few (25).
It is important to make sure you read all the ingredients on your food, especially if you purchase boxed, canned, and baked goods often. The additives in these foods can contribute to gastrointestinal issues like gas.
Even simple snacks like candy and gum are full of artificial sweeteners and refined sugar can negatively affect your digestive system.
Tip: Read the ingredients list on your baked goods, candies, and canned or boxed foods. Look for high amounts of lactose, fructose, sorbitol, sucralose, and sugar alcohols if you experience gas, and avoid consuming them in large amounts.
Meat is not always an issue for everyone when it comes to gas. But fatty pieces of meat can be a major reason for gas.
Fatty meat is often hard to digest because the body cannot handle too much fat in the intestines at once. The gut especially does not appreciate unhealthy fats, because it cannot break these down well, resulting in gas and other gastrointestinal issues (26).
This does not mean you have to cut meat out of your diet for good to avoid gas. Make sure to always choose lean, grass-fed meat whenever possible to avoid gas and get the most health benefits from your animal protein.
Tip: Consume lean cuts of meat, such as “loin” or “round” cuts. White poultry meat is also a great lean protein choice.
11. Fried Foods
Fried foods are also high in unhealthy fats, which results in extremely poor digestion. Try to avoid fried foods any chance you can (27). Your body will thank you for it.
Fatty foods like fried foods include common standard American staples like French fries, hushpuppies, mozzarella sticks, fish and chips, churro, fried chicken, and much more.
These foods are saturated in unhealthy oils as well as unhealthy fats, which lead to a higher risk of heart disease, hypertension, and many other chronic diseases (28), (29). Do not fret-you can enjoy healthier versions of these foods. Try to get an air fryer and choose healthier flours and oils to make your healthy version of your favorite comfort food.
Tip: To enjoy the crispness of fried foods without experiencing gas, invest in an air fryer. It will add a crunch to your favorite foods without the excess fat.
Gas can be a complex gastrointestinal issue, but it can also sometimes be a simple food switch or lifestyle change. Not all foods that cause gas are unhealthy, and there are many tips to avoid healthy foods giving you gas.
Check out the tips in each food healthy food above and see how you can incorporate more healthy food without having to deal with the unpleasant and common side effect, gas.
Always remember to chew your food properly to avoid gas. This practice will also help you to process your food better, which can help to avoid gut imbalances and dysbiosis (30). Gut health is important for so much of the body’s natural processing, so make sure to take good care of yours.
Excessive gas can be an indicator of an existing or new health issue. If cutting out these foods and/or trying to relieve gas does not work for you, make sure to consult your doctor.