Everyone produces gas that leaves the body through belching or rectal passage. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, the average person produces anywhere from one to four pints of gas that is passed about 14 times per day. Every person reacts differently to foods, so there are no hard and fast rules about foods to include and exclude when following a diet to reduce gas. Effective changes to your diet require some trial and error, but start with foods that are the most common offenders.
Causes of Gas
Air swallowing and the breakdown of undigested foods cause gas. Certain foods contain sugars that digest poorly in sensitive people. Raffinose in beans, lactose in dairy, fructose in fruit and wheat and sorbitol also in fruit and artificial sweeteners are common gas instigators. Some people suffer from digestive disorders such as gluten intolerance, Celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn's disease that produce symptoms such as excessive gas.
Foods to Exclude
Eliminating offending foods sometimes helps reduce gas. Cutting out beans, onions, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, radishes, peaches, pears, apples, wheat, soft drinks and fruit juice, milk and dairy and foods artificially sweetened with sorbitol -- like sugar-free candy and gum -- may help reduce gas. Fatty foods take longer to digest and may cause food to remain longer in the digestive tract, encouraging gas. Raisins, prunes and other dried fruits often cause gas as well. If you suspect you have an intolerance to lactose or gluten, try eliminating the food for a few days to see if your symptoms subside. Read food labels carefully as these sugars show up as an additive in many products.
Although reducing your consumption of some vegetables, fruits and dairy may lower your flatulence, these foods are generally healthy additions to your diet. If you abruptly changed your diet to one including more fiber, you may be experiencing more gas. Ease up on the rate of adding fiber to your diet to help ease your gas pains. Adding a probiotic, such as acidophilus, helps regulate the bacteria in the digestive tract and may reduce gas. Consult a nutritionist or medical professional for recommendations regarding digestive enzymes that may be taken orally to help break down the sugars in dairy or beans to help reduce gas.
Adjusting your eating habits can sometimes help alleviate gas production. Smaller, regular meals ensure faster digestion -- meaning less time for food to sit and fester. Individuals should eat meals without drinks (even water) to avoid swallowing air. Take a walk after meals to stimulate digestion. Gas sufferers may benefit from giving up smoking and gum chewing -- both of which also encourage excessive swallowing of air.
If you experience additional symptoms with your gas, or dietary changes do not seem to alleviate the problem, check with your doctor. Some symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, weight loss, pain in the stomach or intestines, blood in the stool or urine and fevers are possible indications of a more serious condition.
- brussel sprouts image by Jale Evsen Duran from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.