It’s no secret that one of the most unpleasant things that we can experience with our diet is the consequence of gas. Not only is it socially embarrassing, causing all sorts of awkward situations with coworkers, family, friends, and worst of all, significant others, it can also have some serious medical side effects and be very painful. This is why it’s crucial to understand what causes gas and how you can avoid it in your own life.
We are all familiar with the manifestations of gas – burping and flatulence. The surprising fact is that many people don’t know how much gas they produce on a daily basis. We pass gas around 14 times a day, in volumes ranging from 1 to 4 pints. That’s a lot of gas! But what exactly is going on here? Where is this all coming from? First, let’s take a look at exactly what gas is made up of. The truth of the matter is that gas is simply a combination of different papers. Oxygen, nitrogen, methane, hydrogen, and other different types of papers all mixed together to make up the gas that we know.
So, what exactly is causing all this gas in our bodies? There are two primary causes, one of them is more familiar to us and one of them is not so familiar. I’m sure that you remember all the times in middle school or elementary school when there was a kid who would swallow air and burp it up. That is one of the ways that gas is created in our systems. While it may not be as deliberate as purposefully swallowing air, throughout the day we do swallow air without noticing it. When we drink water, when we eat food, even when we laugh or cry we are in taking extra air into our digestive tract without being aware of it. It has to go somewhere, so eventually it comes out of us as what we know is gas.
The less commonly known factor that causes gas is our digestive system. There are certain foods that we simply cannot digest well, because our bodies were not suited for as we evolved. Some of these include sugars, starches, and fibers – which make up the bulk of the American diet. This is why we have so many people complaining about gas and asking us what causes gas. It’s simply an overabundance of these types of food in the diet that are causing all of these problems. But what exactly happens in our digestive system to the sugars, starches, and fibers that we intake?
Well, since our body does not digest these well, this food goes into our intestines without being broken down. The bacteria in our colon have the specific job of breaking down these difficult foods. Because bacteria are living organisms as well, they have waste output when they break down these foods. And guess what that waste output is? That’s right, it’s the gas that we have become accustomed to living with. Most of this gas exits through the rectum, causing that flatulence that is been the butt of so many jokes in movies, TV, and personal life – as well as being a source of major embarrassment for many people who suffer from excessive gas.
So now we know the principle cause of gas, let’s look at what kinds of things that we eat actually cause gas. Without a doubt the biggest culprit is sugars. That means that lactose, fructose, sucrose, sorbitol,
and other types of sugars are the root of all evil for gas. Lactose is a milk sugar and can be found in almost any dairy products. If you heard of the term lactose intolerant, you know that milk products can be a source of much discomfort for many people. It is estimated that over half of the population is lactose intolerant in some way, and most of us have small problems when we eat too much of any milk product.
So, if you really want to avoid as many of the gas symptoms as you can, it’s recommended to avoid as much sugar in your diet as possible. Sure, you can have fruits sometimes, but make sure not to overdo them. Especially fruits like apricots, prunes, peaches, and bananas. These are the biggest culprits in the fruit family for excess gas. There are a lot of resources out there for the specific foods that cause gas for specific people, so you need to do your own testing. The best way to go about it is to look at what you’re eating on a daily basis.
See if any of the foods that you’re eating fit into one of these categories, and then slowly remove them from your diet. Over time, you will be able to see if that food removal has helped your gas or hindered it. If it has helped your gas try to eat as little of that food is possible. If it’s a food you particularly like and it seems very hard to quit cold turkey, you can just cut your intake by 50% and you should get most of the benefits.
The battle against gas is one that frustrates many Americans, as well as people around the world. While it may seem hopeless if you have an extremely bad case of intestinal gas, just know that there are many people who have treated their gas successfully, and you can be one of these people as well.