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Brown Rice & Digestive Gas

by
author image Barb Nefer
Based in Kissimmee, Fla., Barb Nefer is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience. She is a mental health counselor, finance coach and travel agency owner. Her work has appeared in such magazines as "The Writer" and "Grit" and she authored the book, "So You Want to Be a Counselor."
Brown Rice & Digestive Gas
Brown rice has more fiber than white rice. Photo Credit tunçsel ülkü/iStock/Getty Images

Gas is sometimes a natural byproduct of the digestive process. Symptoms of gas include feeling bloated, belching and flatulence. Many foods contribute to gas, particularly certain high-fiber items. Unprocessed grains such as brown rice have more fiber than processed varieties, which means they may trigger digestive gas if you add them too rapidly to your diet.

Definition

Fiber means dietary bulk or roughage in the form of plant-based material; there is no fiber in meat or other animal products like dairy or eggs. Legumes, vegetables, grains, fruits and nuts have fiber, and it is concentrated in skin, seeds and hulls. Processing grains into white flour or white rice reduces their fiber content significantly; brown rice still has the maximum amount of roughage because it retains its hulls. You should eat 14 fiber grams for every 1,000 calories in your overall food consumption, according to the Colorado State University Extension. This translates into roughly 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women. Fiber aids the digestive process, helps you control your weight and might help you lower your cholesterol.

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Gas Risk

Your body adjusts to a high-fiber diet over time if you were initially deficient in dietary bulk. But you run the risk of developing excess digestive gas if you add too many fibrous foods like brown rice too quickly. Your digestive system reacts with several uncomfortable symptoms when you suddenly overload it with fiber; these symptoms can include gas, bloating and abdominal discomfort. The symptoms last until the fiber passes through your body.

Other Causes

Brown rice and other high-fiber foods are not always the culprits behind too much digestive gas. If you get gassy even though you are used to a diet rich in roughage, another food may be the culprit. Starches and sugars such as lactose, raffinose, fructose and sorbitol can all cause gas, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, so examine your whole diet before you cut back on healthy, fibrous foods like brown rice. You may also be swallowing air while you eat, which leads to bloating.

Precautions

Replacing white rice with the brown variety and replacing other processed grain products with whole-grain versions is an easy way to get more fiber in your diet. You should not have a problem with gas if you work one new high-fiber item into your meals every week, which gives your intestines time to adjust. Keep adding new items slowly until you reach the recommended amount every day. Remove some of the fiber from your meals if you get gassy, then work it back in more gradually.

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References

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