• Brian Dooreck, MD

Gas, Bloating, Food Choices, and Eating Behaviors

Updated: Nov 17, 2019



"I feel like I am pregnant after I eat."

Everyone has gas. How do eating behaviors and habits cause gas? I'll explain.


Burping or passing gas through the rectum is normal.


If gas or bloating is an issue for you, then consider keeping a food diary. Look to patterns, trends, and dietary triggers. You may find a certain food or behavior triggering the sensation and felling or gas and bloating.


10 to 20 percent of adults have digestive complaints of belching or flatulence.

Normally you can pass gas or flatus up to12 to 25 times per day, typically later in the day than in the morning.


To minimize gas and its embarrassment, the first areas to focus on are diet and eating habits.

How do eating behaviors and habits cause gas?


Anything that causes us to swallow air, such as eating behaviors, chewing gum, gulping down foods fast, and drinking while eating can cause you to swallow air.


Bloating is a physical "sensation" that makes the abdomen "feel" larger than normal.

There can be an increase of swallowed air if you eat large pieces of bulky foods, like lettuce, cabbage, and pieces of bread that are not chewed well.


Swallowed air does not have the typical foul smell we associate with gas or flatus, but it does contribute to bloating, and the abdominal discomfort that can be associated with gas.


What behaviors lead to gas?


  • Chewing gum

  • Talking while eating

  • Smoking

  • Chewing tobacco

  • Drinking with a straw

  • Drinking from a sports bottle

  • Drinking from a water fountain

  • Overeating

  • Deep sighing and sucking in air through your mouth (not nose)

  • Drinking very hot or cold beverages (causing small sips)

  • Eating hard candy

  • Tight-fitting garments

  • Medications for relief of cold symptoms (look for sweeteners fructose and sorbitol)


What foods can cause gas?

  • Beans

  • Broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, onions, artichokes, asparagus

  • Pears, apples, peaches

  • Apple or prune juice

  • Dried fruits

  • Whole grains, whole wheat, bran

  • Soft drinks, fruit drinks

  • Carbonated beverages

  • Milk, milk products, cheese, ice cream

  • Packaged foods that have lactose in them (bread, cereal, salad dressing)

  • Dietetic foods, sugar-free candies, gums

  • Low-carb or sugar-free foods (containing sorbitol, mannitol or maltitol)


What is bloating?


Bloating is a physical "sensation" that makes the abdomen "feel" larger than normal.


Intestinal gas may cause a feeling of bloating.


Only once the volume increases by one quart will the abdomen get bigger. The feeling of being "bloated" may occur, even if the abdomen is not distended.



Key Points on Gas

  • Everyone has gas.

  • Changing what you eat and drink can help prevent or relieve gas.

  • Passing gas frequently is normal.

  • Cut down on the foods that cause gas.


Drink plenty of water!

Tips on Gas

  • Drink plenty of water. Try not to drink soda and beer.

  • Eat slower and chew more to cut down on the amount of air you swallow when you eat.

  • Try smaller, more frequent meals.

  • Avoid chewing gum.

  • Don’t smoke.

  • Make sure your dentures fit properly.

  • Keep a diet diary.

  • Drink beverages at room temperature.

  • Increase physical activity.

  • Sit up straight or take a short walk after eating.



Fiber and Gas


A high-fiber diet is important for bowel health, regular bowel movement, and colon cancer prevention. Yes, fiber is a carbohydrate or "carb." So, do not eliminate all fiber from your diet.


Not all types of carbohydrates are "bad" for you. Use high-fiber foods in smaller quantities, is gas and bloating is an issue. This portion control has other benefits too, such as weight management. Drink plenty of water and fluids to help to move the high-fiber based foods through the digestive tract.


Should I be concerned if I have gas and bloating?


Usually no. However, always seek medical attention when there is an increased frequency or severity of the symptoms, especially if there is any weight loss, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, anemia, vomiting, difficulty swallowing or heartburn.


Personally


I eat a high fiber, mostly plant-based diet, no red meat, drink 4 liters of water a day, exercise, and am focused on "nutrition simplified." No pills. No supplements. No purchased meals.


🥬 Join me when I post “Lunch 🥗 with @dr.dooreck” on LinkedIn.


Eat Smart. Eat Healthy. 🥬 🌾 🥦

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