Dispel your uncertainties – and that embarrassing wind – once and for all.
Passing wind daily is a normal occurrence. “The normal amount of gas we expel each day is between 500 and 1500ml (translates to eight to 20 times),” says Dr Gwee Kok Ann, consultant gastroenterologist at Stomach Liver & Bowel Clinic.
But if you’re feeling more flatulent than usual, check your diet for these foods.
1. Healthy foods that could be causing flatulence: Fruits, vegetables and/or fibre supplements
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More is not necessarily better. As ﬁbre cannot be easily digested, it lingers in the digestive tract for a longer time. Excessive fibre means more fermentation – and increased gas production.
How to fix flatulence caused by excessive fibre
Limit ﬁbre intake to no more than two portions each of fruits and vegetables a day, says Dr Gwee. And don’t ban fat from your diet as it’s known to stimulate bowel movement. Just pick healthier options like olive oil.
2. Healthy foods that could be causing flatulence: Milk or other dairy products
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Gassy after consuming dairy? It could be lactose intolerance – a condition that affects more than 70 per cent of Asians, lactose intolerance occurs when there’s a low level of lactase, an enzyme that breaks down lactose, in the body. Fermentation of undigested lactose is the reason you’re feeling more gassy than usual, explains Dr Gwee.
How to fix flatulence caused by lactose intolerance
Depending on your level of tolerance, limit your milk intake to between one and four cups a day, advises Dr Gwee. Opt for low-lactose foods such as rice milk, yogurt and Brie to satisfy your calcium needs.
3. Healthy foods that could be causing flatulence: Sugar-free sweets, diet sodas or other foods with artificial sweeteners
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Sugar-free mints and diet sodas often contain sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that’s hard to digest. Just ﬁve pieces of such sweets (containing about 10g of sorbitol in total) could cause bouts of gas. Up to 70 per cent of people will be affected, adds Dr Gwee.
How to fix flatulence caused by artificial sweeteners
Scan food labels. Besides sorbitol, avoid ingredients ending with the letters “-ol” (mannitol, xylitol etc) as they are just as difficult to break down.
4. Healthy foods that could be causing flatulence: Juices, honey and pitted fruits
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If you’ve been loading up on juices, honey and pitted fruits like apples and pears, you could have a fructose-induced problem known as fructose malabsorption. “As our body can only absorb a limited amount of fructose – no more than 25g per meal – the excess will end up being fermented by bacteria in the gut,” explains Dr Gwee.
How to fix flatulence caused by juices and honey
Choose fruits with a good amount of glucose like bananas, blueberries and oranges. The reason: Your body needs glucose to absorb fructose, so the more of the former there is in the fruit, the better the latter can be absorbed.