Do you have problems with intestinal gas? You can’t really discuss such a topic in polite society. It may even be too embarrassing to ask your doctor about gas, with its attendant noise and odor. What should you know about flatulence?

What Do You Know About Flatulence and Food?

Q. I used to have a terrible problem with flatulence. It didn’t seem to matter what I ate.

When I found out I’m gluten intolerant, I cut bread and anything else made of flour out of my diet. All my gassiness went away!

My doctor wanted to prescribe Prevacid, but I followed a food allergy elimination diet instead. After two weeks, I gradually started adding things like eggs and milk back into my diet. Wheat was causing all my problems.

Keeping a Food and Fart Diary:

A. Your experience is not unique. A recent study of French women found that those who ate bread, sandwiches and pastries frequently were more troubled with gas (Holmes et al, Nutrition, March 2017). This connection might be something everyone should know about flatulence.

Other Foods Can Also Lead to Gas:

Other foods can also contribute to excessive gas. Beans, broccoli, onions and cabbage pose problems for many people.

The best way to identify the culprits is to keep a food diary. Your elimination diet strategy requires patience, but it makes a great deal of sense. For those who would like to read more about how to manage a food diary and what foods may cause gas, we offer our Guide to Digestive Disorders.

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  1. Jill
    Madison, WI

    After being diagnosed with colitis, my MD prescribed steroids. I gladly took them just to get some relief. After the 3 month course of sterioids, he advised me that this could be a isolated incidence. Unfortunately it was not the case and it flared up again later on. As anyone knows who suffers from it, it can take over your life, causing fatigue and a fear of going out. (What if my stomach gets upset, is there a bathroom close by etc.) Not to mention what it does to a body nutritionally.

    I put up with this for a few years until I decided to make an appointment with the dietician who put me on a Fodmap diet, which is essentially a gluten free diet plus. I got relief immediately. I was tested for celiac disease (just the blood test) and it came back negative. After being on the Fodmap diet, a diet that you can’t stay on permantly, my dietician and I decided that I would try organic wheats and other grains. It went very well.

    I should also mention that during my issues with colitis I was also diagnosed with lactose intolerance. This caused me to buy lactose free dairy products, which I tolerated very well. But after the success of organic wheats and grains, I decided to try organic milk. Again, I have tolerated it very well.

    The only conclusion I can see is that chemicals sprayed on crops (such as Round-up) are
    to blame. Cows in turn are eating feed that is also tainted, which in turn taints dairy products. I didn’t eat organic food before my digestive issues. Now I am a big advocate for organic food because I Feel Healthier and digestive issues are the exception now, not the rule.

    *One Caveat – not all organic foods are created equal, some are maybe not as organic as they claim. I stick with the brands that work for me, discarding the rest. I found the same thing with lactose free milk, some brands weren’t totally lactose free, and organic milk too.

  2. Michael
    Raleigh NC

    I had a period of very difficult flatulence which I am nearly certain was caused by aspartame. At that time I had been drinking a lot of mint tea sweetened with aspartame. I am talking about really bad, very smelly gas. I (and everyone else) wondered how could this be possible?

    At any rate I moved on to some other beverage preferences and the gas stopped. I now drink mint tea sweetened with sucralose and do not have problems. I get some aspartame in other foods (light yogurt) but am not affected by it.

    This is not definitive. I think one’s gut micro-biome is very important. May be, any change of dietary habit could have solved the problem. Nowadays my diet is very different, almost no prepared food, plenty of protein and fat, many active cultures from yogurt, cheese, kraut, kimchi, good quality olives, etc. I almost never have a smelly gas, like maybe once a month?

    If I were to have trouble again, I would shift my eating/drinking habits to see what would help.

  3. Jackie T

    I am amazed that no one has suggested sugarless (sugar free) gum and breath mints as their source of excessive gas. I can no longer use either of those. It is very hard to find any breath mints that are not sugar free.

  4. Gerry

    Had major flatulence problems when taking vitamin E. Never had it before; quit the Vitamin E and it stopped.

  5. Rick

    Flatulence is a normal operation of your G.I track.Passing gas is a heck of a lot better than being on proton pump Inhibitors,as you would be if you are constipated a lot of the time. Flatulence as with sneezing and coughing is your bodies defense mechanisms in action So let it rip the only person you may hurt by not is yourself

  6. Barbara

    Lactose intolerance, yeast will do it and if I want fried chicken i have to do it myself because what is already cooked at the grocery or restaurant
    has yeast in it to make a chrispy crust? And of course milk products. The lactase tablets do not take the entire problem away.

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