October 01, 2018

Take a pass on gas

You've amped up your bean intake to get more fiber in your diet, but that's left you more than a little gassy. While passing some gas each day is normal, you may be able to minimize it by:

  • Adding fiber gradually — Adding too much too fast can cause discomfort. Increase your intake of fiber-rich foods or fiber supplements, such as Citrucel or Metamucil, over the course of several weeks.
  • Experimenting with high-fiber foods — Some high-fiber foods, such as beans, onions, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and whole grains, may affect you more than others. Try removing one food at a time to see if your gas improves. Gas-producing foods may be less so if they're steamed, baked or boiled.
  • Cutting back on fried and fatty foods — Fat slows stomach emptying, delaying the time it takes for fiber to pass through.
  • Avoiding carbonated beverages — Fizzy drinks are a common culprit for gas and gas pains.
  • Limiting artificial sweeteners — Sorbitol and mannitol can produce gas.
  • Using gas-reducing additives — Although they won't stop all your gas, nonprescription products such as alpha-galactosidase (Beano) may reduce symptoms.

If these steps don't help, talk to your doctor. Excess gas, particularly if coupled with weight loss, diarrhea or abdominal pain, can be an indicator of serious conditions such as pancreatic disease, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (ISBO) or an inflammatory bowel disease.