Natural Gas, Part Pew…
Nearly three months ago we broached the uncomfortable for some, hilarious to others, topic of … ahem… human emissions. At the time we said we would consider revisiting the subject to talk about what types of foods may cause more flatulence than others.
But first to dispel some common fart myths:
1. Men do not pass gas more often than women (it just that many men often take more pride in it than most women).
2. Male-produced gas does not smell worse than female. Scientific studies of farts show that women’s farts have a higher concentration of odour-causing gases, but men’s farts have a larger volume. The two factors equalize out (the same number of stench molecules for both).
3. A fart is not just a burp that comes out the other end. A burp emerges from the stomach and has a different chemical composition from a fart. Farts have less atmospheric gas content and more bacterial gas content than burps.
4. Is it not true that some people never pass gas (they just might be better at hiding it, holding it in until later, or blaming someone else, including the dog, for their noxious fumes).
5. Yes, even celebrities, “serious” politicians, and grannies pass gas.
And now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, on to the more important stuff.
What foods cause gas?
Legumes contain sugars that we cannot digest. The most difficult of these are raffinose, stachiose, and verbascose – but they’re a feast for the bacteria that live in our intestines. The by-product of all the action is the gas we pass.
Other notorious fart-producing foods include corn, capsicum, cauliflower, cabbage, milk, bread, eggs, beer, and raisins. Lactose intolerant people unable often suffer extreme flatulence if they consume dairy products.
In addition to dietary intake, another cause of natural emissions is swallowing too much air. To alleviate this one should chew with one’s mouth closed, sit while eating, eat more slowly, and avoid gulping food or liquids. We can also swallow more air when we drink carbonated beverages, suck on sweets, chew gum, smoke or chug beer. Also, going up in an airplane or other low-pressure environment can cause the gas inside us to expand and emerge as flatus.
However, some diseases can also cause excess flatulence, so if you think you’re farting too much and have excluded all other factors, see your doctor.