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Why Do Beans Make You Fart?

Find out why this fibrous legume is dubbed the musical fruit—and how to avoid the discomfort.
Why Do Beans Make You Fart?

Beans are packed with the waist-slimming combo of protein and fiber, potassium for keeping your blood pressure in check, and immune-boosting zinc, among other numerous nutrients. But if you suffer from bloating and gas after scarfing down refried beans or homemade chili, the legume’s plethora of benefits may not be worth the discomfort that follows. Hey, they’re musical fruits for a reason! But let’s cut to the chase—why do beans make you fart?

Why Do Beans Make You Fart

To demystify this age-old question, we consulted Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, who says, “Beans make some people fart because they contain sugar molecules called oligosaccharides.” Some people don’t have enough alpha-galactosidase enzymes to break them down, which can cause gas and bloat. During digestion, the beans go from the small intestine into the large intestine, where gut bacteria attempts to break down these problematic sugar molecules. “This creates carbon dioxide in the process which results in gas,” Shapiro tells us.

How to Avoid the Digestive Discomfort

“Fortunately, there are ways to lessen the side effects,” Marisa Moore, an Atlanta-based RD, reassures us. Before you put the fork down, heed this expert-approved advice: “Start slow. If you go from eating no beans to two to three cups a day, your body may not be able to handle all of the extra fiber with ease. Soaking or sprouting and cooking the beans thoroughly can help reduce the chances of gas and bloating. And even more good news, those indigestible sugars serve as food for the gut bacteria, so eating more pulses may help promote a more diverse and healthy gut microbiota.”

Need another reason to dig into beans? Legumes are just one of our 25 Best Carbs That Will Uncover Your Abs.

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