Cramping from eating beets is not common and may be related to a digestive condition. Although stomach cramps are not always a sign of a more serious condition, talk with your doctor for an evaluation to determine the cause. Stomach cramps may be the result of increased fiber intake, gas pains, food intolerance or a food allergy. Avoid eating beets until your doctor can see you.
If you’ve consumed a lot of beets in one sitting, you may develop stomach cramps from the sudden increased fiber intake. According to the National Agricultural Library, 1 cup of beets contains 3.8 g of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is carbohydrates in plant-based foods that don’t get digested by the body and help maintain bowel regularity. Eating too much fiber too quickly, especially if your body isn’t accustomed to a high-fiber diet, may give you stomach cramps, abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea and bloating, according to National Institutes of Health online medical encyclopedia Medline Plus. If you continue to eat a high-fiber diet, these side effects will subside within a few days.
Gas pains are commonly confused with stomach cramps because they occur in the abdomen and cause sharp, jabbing pains that come and go, much like cramping. Gas can form from eating beets because of the fiber content, from eating them too fast or overeating. Gas pains are the result of trapped gas that forms during digestion. Most gas pains are alleviated by belching, passing gas or having a bowel movement. If you develop gas pains on a consistent basis, talk with your doctor because it may be a sign of a more serious condition.
If the cramping is severe or occurs every time you eat beets, you may have a food intolerance. Food intolerance is a common condition that can occur with any food. Food intolerances are the inability of the digestive system to break down the sugars, carbohydrates or proteins in beets. The remaining, undigested portion of the beets enters the colon and interacts with bacteria, causing bloating, cramping and abdominal pain, according to the American College of Gastroenterology.
If you have an allergy to beets, you will develop stomach cramps and other symptoms shortly after eating the vegetable. A beet allergy is different from beet intolerance because an allergy is the result of an immune system reaction, while intolerance is a digestive defect. A beet allergy will cause other symptoms, such as nasal congestion, hives, skin rashes, facial swelling, shortness of breath and wheezing.