Beans aren't the only culprit behind your non-stop farts. Find out the primary foods that make you gassy — and what to do about it.
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After a few decades on this planet, you probably have a solid understanding of how specific foods and drinks affect your body and mood. Some have welcome effects: A slice of avocado toast, for example, may leave you feeling energized and ready to tackle the day. Others, however, aren't exactly pleasant. A side of beans or bowl full of ice cream, for instance, may make you straight-up gassy. No, thank you.

So, why do certain foods make you break wind, anyway? Here, digestive health experts share the primary foods that cause gas, how quickly you might notice this side effect after eating, and what you can do to minimize your risk of letting one lose.

What Is Gas, Anyway?

Essentially, gas is air within the digestive tract that's composed of a mixture of odorless vapors, including carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and sometimes methane, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Gas can enter your body when you swallow air (think: while eating or chewing gum), and this kind typically exits the body via belching. But gas can also develop internally, specifically when certain foods are broken down by bacteria in the intestine, and this type is released through the rectum (think: flatulence), according to Johns Hopkins Medicine

Though it can feel embarrassing, passing wind is totally normal, says Leigh Merotto, M.H.Sc., R.D., a registered dietitian who specializes in digestive health in Toronto, Canada. "[It's] a sign that your body is breaking down and digesting foods," she says. "If you didn't have any gas production, this could actually be very serious and indicate a blockage in your digestive tract." In fact, most people produce one to four pints of gas daily and pass it via the rectum 14 to 23 times per day, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. (Related: What Your Farts Can Tell You About Your Health)

What Foods Cause Gas?

Foods to Which You're Intolerant

The foods that have the most potential for causing gas are simply the ones you're intolerant (read: sensitive) to, says Nidhi Singh, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Northwestern Medicine. Folks who are lactose intolerant, for example, don't produce enough of the digestive enzyme needed to break down lactose, a sugar found in dairy products, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Similarly, people who have histamine intolerances lack the necessary diamine oxidase enzyme that processes histamine, which is found in fermented foods and processed meat. And those who suffer from non-celiac gluten sensitivity simply have a harder time digesting gluten — a protein found in wheat and other grains.

After eating any of the substances you're sensitive to, you could experience gas, diarrhea, heartburn, abdominal pain, and other GI symptoms, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Depending on the specific intolerance, these foods can cause gas:

  • Lactose, found in foods such as milk, whey, cheese, butter, yogurt, and ice cream
  • High-histamine foods, such as fish, aged cheese, sauerkraut, wine, and processed meat
  • Gluten, found in wheat and its derivatives, rye, barley, triticale, and malt

High-FODMAP Foods

Noshing on foods that are high in FODMAPs can also cause gas, says Merotto. FODMAPs include fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols — short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed by the small intestine and, in turn, are fermented by intestinal bacteria. As a result, they can cause digestive distress, including gas, in some people, adds Dr. Singh.

These carbohydrates can be found in a plethora of foods, including those containing lactose, fructose, fructans, galacto-oligosaccharides, and polyols, according to research published in the journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology. Specifically, the high-FODMAP foods that can cause gas include:

  • Oligosaccharides: veggies such as asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, garlic, and onion; legumes such as garbanzo beans, red kidney beans, and lentils; grains such as wheat and rye
  • Disaccharides: mostly foods that are high in lactose, including cheese, milk, and yogurt
  • Monosaccharides: fruits high in fructose such as apples, mangos, and watermelon; sweeteners such as high-fructose corn syrup
  • Polyols: artificial sweeteners, including maltitol, sorbitol, and xylitol; fruits such as avocados, cherries, and peaches; veggies such as cauliflower, mushrooms, and snow peas

Fermentable Fiber-Rich Foods

Wolfing down foods that are packed with fermentable fiber can also make you a bit gassy, says Merotto. ICYDK, fiber is the part of plant foods (think: fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes) that your body can't digest. Fermentable fiber, in particular, is a type of fiber that's readily metabolized by your gut microbiota. After it passes through the stomach and small intestine, bacteria in the colon work to ferment and break this fiber down, according to Oregon State University's Micronutrient Information Center.

And, most importantly for this article, "when the bacteria in your colon break down fiber, they produce gas as a byproduct," adds Merotto. Types of fermentable fiber (aka some of the foods that cause gas) include:

  • Beta-glucans, which are found in oats and barley
  • Inulin
  • Wheat dextrin
  • Oligosaccharides, which are found in wheat, rye, onions, garlic, artichokes, and legumes
  • Resistant starches, which are found in unripe bananas, white beans, peas, lentils

When You'll Experience Gas After Eating

If those aforementioned foods make you gassy, there isn't an exact amount of time after eating that you may experience any side effects. Generally, though, the majority of solid food will exit the stomach within two to four hours after you finish your meal, so you could start to experience gas after that period of digestion, says Dr. Singh. "If it's caused by an intolerance with dairy or gluten, gas can definitely happen sooner."

That said, the type of food on your plate isn't the only factor at play. "You can also increase your chances of experiencing more gas from different factors, such as eating too quickly and swallowing air, chewing gum, and sitting for long periods of time, so this might impact when someone would experience gas," says Merotto. (Related: Here's Why You're So Gassy At Night)

What's more, some folks may be more likely to experience the GI effects of foods that cause gas than others. Specifically, people who have digestive disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, Celiac disease, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth have an increased risk of experiencing gas after eating, says Dr. Singh. The same goes for folks with motility disorders (i.e. conditions that affect the speed contents move through the digestive tract), diverticulitis, and intestinal methanogen overgrowth, adds Merotto. 

How to Minimize the Effects of Foods That Cause Gas

Though these foods may make you more likely to experience gas, it's not a guarantee. And there are steps you can take to potentially reduce your odds of needing to break wind.

If you're amping up your fiber intake, make sure to do so gradually over the course of a few weeks, which will give your digestive tract some time to adjust to these tough foods, says Merotto. "Too much fiber too quickly can result in diarrhea or constipation and more uncomfortable gas," she adds. "I recommend increasing fiber slowly, adding in one new fiber-rich food every two to three days and drinking plenty of water to help the fiber move through." Cooking those fiber-rich foods, rather than eating them raw, can also make them easier to digest and, in turn, potentially minimize their gas-producing effects, says Dr. Singh. 

Focusing on thoroughly chewing the foods that cause gas may also help minimize their side effects. "Digestion starts in the mouth, and if we are missing this important step, it makes more work for our digestive tract and could result in more gas," says Merotto. "Take the time to slow down at meals, eat mindfully, and chew your food to applesauce consistency."

If your gas is causing severe pain or you're also experiencing diarrhea, losing weight, or having bloody stool, chat with your doctor to ensure no other medical conditions may be at play, says Dr. Singh. That said, the occasional painless fart is totally normal, and you don't have to avoid the main foods that cause gas if you don't want to. After all, you can always blame it on your dog.