With their jewel-like color and sweet taste, strawberries, especially fresh strawberries, are a much-awaited summertime treat. These delicious red berries, however, may cause undo comfort if you suffer from a food intolerance, have trouble digesting fructose or are not used to eating large amounts of dietary fiber, all of which can cause gas and bloating.
Strawberries are not as high in dietary fiber as other foods, such as beans, but a 1-cup serving of sliced berries has 3.3 grams of dietary fiber. This still provides 8.7 percent to 13 percent of the recommended intake of fiber -- high considering the small serving size. Dietary fiber, especially foods high in soluble fiber, such as strawberries, can cause extra gas as your gut digests the material. This is especially true if you are not used to eating a diet high in fiber. According to Colorado State University, most Americans do not eat enough fiber, so it is recommended to gradually increase your fiber intake to reduce the risk of digestive trouble.
A food intolerance causes digestive upset rather than a reaction from your body's nervous system, as in the case of a food allergy. Food intolerances are also more common than food allergies, and gas, bloating and cramps are common symptoms. If you have a food intolerance to strawberries, you may experience these symptoms several hours after you've eaten the berries, making it difficult for you to determine the exact cause. If you suspect a strawberry intolerance, seek a medical diagnosis to be sure.
Fructose is a naturally occurring sugar in fruits, including strawberries. While fructose is supposed to be digested and absorbed by the small intestine, it is often not fully absorbed by your small intestine and passes whole to the colon. There, the bacteria in your large intestine break down the sugar very quickly, leading to gas production and bloating. In some cases, diarrhea may also occur due to undigested fructose. You may also have a fructose intolerance, which is not the same as fructose malabsorption, and is an inherited condition, most commonly affecting infants.
Other Causes of Gas
Gas may be also caused by eating your strawberries too quickly -- those berries are hard to resist. This can lead to excess swallowed air, which becomes gas in your digestive tract. Gas can also be produced from a number of digestive complications not directly related to strawberries -- even though eating the berries may cause a reaction, other foods will do the same thing. A blocked intestine, colon cancer or irritable bowel syndrome may all cause gas after eating strawberries, and you need a medical professional to diagnose these conditions.
- USDA Nutrient Databse: Strawberries, Raw
- National Health Service: Is It A Food Allergy or Food Intolerance?
- Colorado State University Extension: Dietary Fiber
- Amy Bukhardt M.D., R.D.: Fructose Malabsorption
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Gas in the Digestive Tract
- Super Nutrition for Women; Amy Louise Gittleman