Dr. Sonpal says the usual wind-producing suspects (like beans and cruciferous veggies) are in good company with several diet staples. Without further ado, here are the six foods to avoid for a silent and scentless gut.
Watch out for these 6 foods that make you gassy
"Beans contain a lot of fiber, but they also have sugars called alpha oligosaccharides. They get taken up by the bacteria from your colon and gas is a byproduct of the process," explains Dr. Sonpal. Over time, the digestive tracts of those who consume a lot of legumes will get used to processing chickpeas and other beans, but those who don't usually partake often may have digestive issues. "If you're someone who's not used to legumes, and then you take in, you'll notice that you're going to have a lot of bloating, gas, distention. You'll experience discomfort," says the gastroenterologist.
For the record, Dr. Sonpal says that pinto beans and black beans are much easier on your digestive system than kidney beans or mung beans. So keep that in mind for future takeout orders.
2. Carbonated Beverages
If you prefer your water with bubbles—listen up: Dr. Sonpal says that LaCroix, Spindrift, and your favorite spiked seltzers will come back to haunt you later. "I tell [patients] that the reason they're bloated is because of all the carbonation and gas in the actual water. I tell them that the best thing they can do is try to reduce the amount that they're drinking," the gastroenterologist says. Keep it at a minimum, folks.
Here's what a dietitian thinks about your favorite spiked seltzers:
3. Sugar-free chewing gum
"You swallow air while you're chewing gum. When that air goes down, it can either come out above, or —more commonly—from below," says Dr. Sonpal.
4. Sugar substitutes found in low-calorie foods
The artificial sweetener, Zorbitrol, takes the place of sugar in low-calorie ice creams, unsweetened chewing gum, and diet sodas. "Sugar substitutes like Zorbitrol, which are in diet sodas, diet foods, sweeteners, and gums can't be digested by your body. Zorbitrol actually gets fermented in your gut and creates diarrhea and very explosive gas," says the doc (very graphically).
5. Cruciferous vegetables
Broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and cabbage all contain polysaccharides—a carbohydrate that causes bloating. "It's just a matter of understanding which ones are triggers for you," says Dr. Sonpal. "What I tell patients who really like broccoli and cauliflower is to try switch to things like spinach and lettuce, to add roughage and reduce the amount of cruciferous vegetables on their salads."
Dr. Sonpal says that everyone's tolerance for lactose is a bit different, so a little bit of dairy exploration will help you decide how much cheese, milk, and ice cream belong in your fridge. "What I tell people is to find out how lactose-intolerant they are by doing what I call Netflix and Milk. Turn on a Netflix show on a Friday evening when you have nowhere to go and start consuming a lot of dairy until you find what you're set point is. Maybe it's a glass of milk, or two pieces of pizza, or three scoops of ice cream," he says. Sounds like my kind of experiment.
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