Leslie rarely had problems with flatulence, but she did struggle with her weight. When she wasn’t dieting, she and her husband could drive with the car windows shut. As soon as she’d start a diet she would become unbearably gassy, It was so bad she couldn’t even stand herself.
Desperate to lose weight and drive with the car windows closed to avoid freezing herself and her husband, she consulted her doctor. Her doctor offered insight and advice. She finally lost weight without losing the company of family and friends.
“Doctor, why does dieting make me so darn gassy?”
Most healthy weight loss diets include:
- drinking more water
- eating more fruit
- eating more vegetables
- eating breakfast
- increasing fiber
- low-cal sugar-free foods
You may not be surprised that eating more fruit, vegetables, and fiber cause gas, but it could be news to you that more water can create issues with gas. Well water is as much a flatulence factor as produce and fiber.
Sipping water throughout the day is a healthy habit. Many diets recommend drinking 8-6oz glasses of water daily. If sipped throughout the day, there is no problem with gas. Many dieters, however, don’t particularly enjoy water and want to get that requirement out of the way. It’s trying to drink all the water at one time to get it out of the way.
“If you drink too much water too quickly, it can cause bloating due to the large amount of air that’s being swallowed along with the liquid,” says Kiran Tiriveedhi, MD, of Mercy Clinic Gastroenterology in St. Louis.
Fruit is a healthy snacking choice. In fact, on the Weight Watchers points-weight-loss plan fruit has 0 points making it an obvious go-to choice to keep hunger at bay. There is fructose, or sugar in fruit. It’s naturally occurring in fruit and that makes it healthy and preferable to eating foods with added sugars. Fruit also is a good source of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants …. and gas.
The main gassy factor in fruit is the fructose. Fructose is often poorly absorbed by the small intestine. It can cause abdominal cramping, gas, and diarrhea. The amount of fructose the digestive system can handle varies from one person to the next, so there’s no magic upper limit for how much you should consume.
A good rule of thumb is eat only as much fruit as you need to avoid feeling hungry and pay attention to which fruits cause you abdominal discomfort and gas.
Eating a lot of vegetables is healthy and a proven weight loss strategy. Some vegetables, have a high fructose content and cause the same gassy issues as fruit. Another problem with vegetables is they are often eaten raw by dieters.
Other vegetables, such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and asparagus contain raffinose. Raffinose is a hard-to-digest sugar that’s notorious for causing gas. Cooking your vegetables may ease the problem or at least reduce the gas they cause.
Are you surprised breakfast can make you toot? It’s not exactly the breakfast that gives you gas, it’s eating it on the run. Many dieters are determined to follow their diets perfectly, but their diet isn’t a good fit with their lifestyle. People with too much to do and too little time to get it all done can’t easily slip the time to eat breakfast into their schedule.
Shoveling in breakfast while on the run makes you fart. You’re not just gulping your food, you’re gulping a lot of air too. If you can’t make time to eat breakfast at a slower pace, you might need to skip breakfast or if possible, eat it at your desk while checking email and organizing your day.
Cut back on top offenders like beans, lentils, and cruciferous vegetables. You might try sipping peppermint tea (can count towards your water on your diet), which can enhance digestion and relax intestinal muscles to allow the gas move along more quickly. There are also over-the-counter gas fighter such as Beano that might help.
Sugar free foods are a popular way to cut calories. Artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol, xylitol, or mannitol aren’t always the smartest way to reduce calories.
When we eat a lot of sugar alcohols at once, the normal bacteria that live in the gut are flooded with a large supply of their favorite foods, The gut bacteria quickly consumes the sugar alcohols in a process called fermentation. If you think fermentation sounds like a major culprit of gas, you’re right; it causes a lot of gas.
Cutting sugar is an effective weight loss strategy and to avoid gas, don’t replace sugary snacks and treats with a lot of sugar-free snacks and treats. It’s wiser to reduce the frequency you eat those kinds of foods altogether.
If gas is a problem of yours when dieting, follow Leslie’s doctors advice to lose more weight and while lowering gassy eruptions.