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Food and Flatulence


Causes of Flatulence

The flatulence it is mainly linked to the composition of the diet and only rarely arises due to a serious illness.

Increased production of intestinal gas is often caused by excessive ingestion of certain foods foods or from deficiency of some digestive enzymes. Without prejudice to the fact that intestinal gas also derives from swallowed air, there are foods, such as those rich in sugars, which enhance the fermentation processes and others, such as smoothies, which incorporate numerous air particles.

If produced in normal quantities, a good part of these gases is reabsorbed by the intestinal walls and eliminated from the blood through breathing. A small percentage (about one liter per day) instead finds vent via the rectum.

Foods Cause Flatulence

The foods capable of causing flatulence are above all those rich in carbohydrates, in particular oligosaccharides (small carbohydrate chains, often indigestible, which stimulate the proliferation of numerous bacteria present in the colon). The category includes foods such as beans, onions, yeast, milk and foods particularly rich in fibre.

Meteorism and intestinal fermentation can be avoided by prolonged soaking of legumes, consuming them in the form of purees or dividing them with a spoon halfway through cooking

However, we must not forget that individuality is a fundamental component of the disorder; lactose maldigestion, for example, can form significant quantities of gas, around 250 cc. for every undigested gram that reaches the colon. However, the deficiency of the enzyme capable of breaking down milk sugar (B-galactosidase or lactase) is subjective and as such causes abdominal disorders (bloating, flatulence and diarrhea) only in predisposed individuals. Often it is an acquired intolerance due, at least in part, to the reduction in milk consumption in adulthood, followed by an abrupt reintroduction of the food into the diet.

Similar examples could be made considering intolerance to gluten (celiac disease) or fructose.

Food associations

A certain amount of intestinal fermentation is often also due to an incorrect combination of various foods in the same meal. Combining many foods in a single meal, perhaps ending it with a bit of fruit and a slice of dessert, is often synonymous with increased flatulence.

Among the most prohibitive combinations are protein foods with sugary foods and the association of proteins of different nature (e.g. milk and eggs, legumes and meat).

Finally, it is also a good idea to pay attention to artificial sweeteners and diet foods that contain them (chewing gum, jams and diet juices, etc.). Polyalcohols (mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol), sugars with strong laxative properties and which are difficult to digest, belong to this category.

CONTINUE: Cures for flatulence »

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