8 Foods That Can Give You Gas

If you're looking to avoid gas, keep these foods off your plate

While gas may be embarrassing, the truth is, everybody has it. Gas is a normal result of the digestive process. The amount may vary from person to person, but no one is immune.

Yet, many people feel that gas is something to hide. What's more, it can be uncomfortable. For people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), gas and bloating are common problems during flare-ups.

This article lists some of the most common foods that cause gas. While there's no way to completely get rid of intestinal gas, avoiding or cutting back on foods that cause it may help relieve some discomfort.

As always, be sure to check with a physician before cutting a food group out of your diet entirely.

1

Beans

Barbecue baked beans

Jacob Snavely / Photolibrary / Getty Images

Most people know that beans tend to cause more gas than other foods. That is because beans contain oligosaccharides, including raffinose. These are large sugars that cannot be broken down or digested in the small intestine.

Instead, the sugar passes undigested into the colon, where it is fermented by the "good" bacteria in your gut. Gas is produced as a byproduct of this process.

Fermentation

Fermentation is a chemical process where microorganisms (like gut bacteria) break down sugars and starches in foods.

Some people find relief from gas when they take an enzyme supplement such as Beano. This product breaks down the sugars in beans to make them easier to digest.

2

Mushrooms

Fresh Mushrooms

James Tse / Getty Images

Mushrooms also contain sugars that are difficult to digest. Therefore, eating mushrooms can cause gas because the small intestine does not fully digest these sugars.

Instead, it undergoes fermentation in the large intestine. The gas produced by fermentation then exits as intestinal gas.

Even so, mushrooms are a healthy food with disease-fighting properties. A 2021 study suggests eating more of them can significantly reduce the risk of developing cancer.

So, unless eating them is too uncomfortable for you, it's likely best not to cut them out completely.

3

Milk and Milk Products

Milk

Sasta Fotu / EyeEm / Getty Images

If you're one of the many lactose-intolerant adults, dairy products can cause a significant amount of gas and bloating.

People who are lactose intolerant lack the enzyme lactase, which is necessary to break down lactose (milk sugar). This results in gas and bloating, among other symptoms.

Besides milk itself, dairy products such as ice cream, cheese, and yogurt contain lactose. In addition, there may be dairy ingredients in other products, so it's essential to read labels carefully.

You may find that taking lactase supplements helps reduce or prevent gas symptoms when you eat dairy.

If you avoid dairy altogether, you will need to find other food sources for your daily calcium intake.

Note that lactose intolerance is different than a true milk allergy. People with a milk allergy should avoid milk in any form at all times.

4

Wheat

Whole Wheat Version of Harvest Bread
J.McGavin

People don't often think of wheat as a food that causes gas. However, the starch in wheat creates gas when it is broken down in the large intestine by good bacteria. Whole wheat and bran, in particular, may be the culprits.

Wheat also contains a natural sugar called fructose. Any undigested fructose from wheat may ferment in the large intestine and lead to gas.

5

Fruit and Fruit Juice

Fruit Bowl

Westend61 / Getty Images

Fruits are especially well-known for causing excess gas. The reason is that fruit (like wheat) contains fructose. Some common fruits that lead to gas include:

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Cherries
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Prunes
  • Juices and fruit drinks

If you eat more fruit than your body can digest, your body breaks down the remaining fructose by fermentation. This process can result in gas.

6

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cabbage in a basket

Diana Miller / Cultura / Getty Images 

These healthy vegetables are notorious for causing gas. That's because the small intestine does not completely digest the fiber in them.

The large intestine creates gas when the good bacteria go to work digesting these vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables include:

  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts

Eating small servings of these vegetables and increasing the amount slowly over time may help reduce the amount of gas they produce.

Other vegetables that often cause gas include asparagus, artichokes, and onions.

7

Sugar-Free Sweeteners

Close-Up Of Sugar And Sweetener Packets In Container At Cafe
Sharon Pruitt / EyeEm / Getty Images

Many foods labeled as "sugar-free" or "diet" often contain sweeteners such as xylitol, mannitol, sorbitol, or erythritol. These are naturally occurring sugar alcohols that are added to foods and drinks to make them sweeter.

When bacteria break these sugars down in the large intestine, gas results. If you're trying to avoid these sugars, it's important to read food labels closely.

8

Drinks with High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Cola in Glass

Jose Luis Pelaez / The Image Bank / Getty Images

High-fructose corn syrup can produce gas as your gut breaks down the fructose. Many sweetened drinks and sodas are made with high-fructose corn syrup instead of sugar.

The effects can be even worse if it's in a carbonated drink, which often introduces additional gas into your intestinal tract. So, if you don't burp the excess gas out, it will come out the other end.

Summary

Many foods can contribute to excess gas. Most of the time, gas is caused when undigested sugars or fiber reach the large intestine and are broken down by bacteria. Common gassy foods include dairy, specific fruits and vegetables, beans, and sugars.

A Word From Verywell

Excess gas can be both embarrassing and uncomfortable. Look over the list of common food culprits to see if reducing certain foods helps. In addition, some supplements may help you be able to eat the foods you love.

Most often, it's not a good idea to cut out entire food groups. Therefore, finding a balance is usually your best bet. In fact, with some of the foods, slowly building up a tolerance can help.

Figuring out what is best for you can take some time and experimentation. So be sure to ask your doctor or nutritionist for guidance.

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8 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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