Why Does Everything You Eat Give You Gas?

Different people have their own individual reactions to food. While some might be able to eat anything without experiencing indigestion, bloating or gas, others might get gassy from seemingly everything. If meals nearly always leave you full of air, it might be due to the types of food you eat. However, if you've tried eating a variety of foods, yet you still suffer from flatulence, you might be overlooking another cause.

Patient speaking with doctor in office. (Image: Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images)

What You Eat

Consider what you eat. Some foods are heavier or more dense, and will simply take a longer time to digest. Fatty meat, such as bacon, often remain in your digestive tract long enough to ferment and cause an excess of gas. Your body will expel this gas through belching or flatulence. Many legumes are also associated with gas. These include beans, peas and lentils. You might also get gas from leafy greens, such as lettuce and cabbage. Broccoli, cauliflower and even fruits such as apples, peaches and pears can give you gas as well. In addition, any food high in fat can slow your digestion and allow more time for food to ferment in your digestive system. Even fiber, which typically aids in digestion, is a gas producer. If everything you eat gives you gas, examine your diet and see if you can reduce or eliminate some of these factors.

How You Eat

Even when you eat a diet low in fats and other gas producers, you might still develop gas by virtue of the way you eat. Every time you swallow food, you also swallow some air. This air builds up in your digestive system and must later be released. When you eat quickly, take large bites and swallow without thoroughly chewing your food, the amount of air you swallow is likely to increase. Eating when you're stressed, or eating hurriedly, can also interfere with your digestion. Your habits between meals might also be a factor. For example, if you tend to chew gum, eat hard candies or smoke cigarettes, you tend to swallow excess air.

Drinking Tips

Your gas might also be a result of the way you drink during meals. Carbonated drinks, such as soda pop, deliver carbon dioxide into your digestive system by virtue of their bubbles. Beer has the same effect for the same reason. Also, as with food, when you drink too quickly or swallow too much liquid at once, you might swallow large air bubbles that your body must then expel. Drinking through a straw can also increase the amount of air you swallow while drinking.

Gastrointestinal Conditions

While swallowed food and the fermentation of undigested food are typical causes of gas, other gastrointestinal conditions might be at play. One condition, celiac disease, results in damage to the lining of the intestines, and people with this condition may experience gas. Bacteria that line your intestines and aid in digestion might be compromised or destroyed by antibiotics and certain other medications, and their loss can cause food to remain undigested long enough for fermentation. Carbohydrate malabsorption might also compromise these bacteria. Dairy can cause gas if you are lactose intolerant, and other digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome, might also cause you to become gassy after every meal. Once you have ruled out your diet and eating habits, and you suspect a medical cause, you should consult your health care provider to determine the cause of your gas and its possible treatment.

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