A food intolerance means either your digestive system is responding to something in food that irritates it or you’re unable to fully break down food because of a shortage or missing enzyme. It’s the latter that causes your intestinal gas discomfort. And up next is why.
Food which is not broken down properly impairs its intestinal absorption of nutrients, known as malabsorption. Carbohydrate malabsorption in your small intestine is the primary culprit for causing gas.
Some of these bacteria then eat and break down the malabsorbed sugars. And it’s in that process hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane gas is produced.
Eventually, your bacteria generated gas exits via your rectum.
Many foods contain a variety of naturally occurring sugars which can be a cause for your gas and bloating, like:
- lactose ~ milk, dairy products
- fructose ~ onions, artichokes, pears
- sorbitol ~ apples, pears, peaches, prunes
- starch ~ potatoes, corn, pasta, wheat (rice does not cause gas)
- raffinose ~ beans (large amount) cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus
Fats and protein cause very little gas.
Fiber contains a sugar called cellulose, to which human’s can’t breakdown because we don’t produce an enzyme necessary for this work. However, soluble fiber, found in oat bran, beans, peas, and most fruits, is broken down in your large intestine by certain bacteria, causing gas.
Whereas, insoluble fiber passes through your intestines relatively unchanged. Thus, no intestinal gas nor abdominal bloating symptoms created. This type of fiber is contained in wheat bran and some vegetables.
Since everyone’s enzyme deficits and gut flora vary, some will produce more gas than others to the same carbohydrate containing foods. Yet, it’s a sure bet you’ve experienced the unpleasant intestinal gas and abdominal bloating reaction to something you ate.
Here are some other substances that can contribute to a food intolerance:
Although, any food consumed in a great quantity may cause digestive symptoms.
Other symptoms of food intolerance beyond gas and abdominal bloating, may include:
You may not experience symptoms of a food intolerance until you eat a bunch of it or eat it regularly.
Common sense treatment for a food intolerance is by avoidance or intake reduction. When you do eat an intolerant food, some OTC help for treating, or preventing, abdominal symptoms are:
Of course, if your intestinal gas and abdominal bloating is due to swallowing air while eating, then eat slower and stop doing that.
While a food intolerance can make you extremely miserable, it’s not generally a major health concern.
Food intolerance is very different from a food allergy or food poisoning. A food allergy employs an immune system response and food poisoning is caused by an infectious (viruses, bacteria, parasites) or toxic agent.