Can oats cause gastric problems?
Oatmeal generally doesn’t cause excess gas in most people. But, there are many people who swear that oatmeal makes their stomachs bloated and makes them more flatulent. In this post, let’s see why oatmeal can cause gas.
The bacterial fermentation of the gut produces gas. The majority of the gas is made up of carbohydrates that are difficult to digest. They are not broken down in the small intestine or stomach, but they become fermented in the colon. There are types of carbohydrates that can cause and the one you most likely know is fiber.
Let’s have a look at the nutritional profile for oats (100g raw oatmeal).
- Energy (kcal)-379
- Protein (g)-13.2
- Total Lipid (g)-6.52
- Carbohydrate (g)-67.7
- Fiber (g)-10.1
- Sugars (g)-1
Referring to the above, a cup of dry oatmeal is approximately 80g so it has about 8 grams of fiber.
Oats have a high carbohydrate count, which can cause excess gas. Most of them are starches that can be digested fairly quickly, but not as a simple sugar. They may not all be completely broken down before reaching the large intestine. This is especially true if you don’t chew them well.
How much fiber can lead to gas?
High fiber content is the main reason oatmeal can cause gas. Additionally, most of the fiber found in oats is soluble fiber.
Soluble fiber dissolves when it is dissolved in water. This gel-like substance moves slower through the intestines than insoluble fiber. This means that soluble fiber stays longer and ferments in the stomach.
Because soluble fiber bulks up it encourages bowel movements. Too much soluble fiber can cause “backed up” feelings and may even trap in gas, which can cause bloating.
Oatmeal has a high level of soluble fiber. This is why it can cause gas in people who don’t eat a lot of fiber.
Which Oatmeal Toppings Cause Gas?
Another thing to remember is that oatmeal can be eaten with a variety of toppings, which could cause gas or contribute to it. This is true whether you buy premade oatmeal or make your own toppings.
The following common toppings may cause an increase in gas or worsening smell:
- Whey protein isolate
- Milk products
- Psyllium husk
- Seeds (i.e. flaxseed, chia)
How to prevent gas after eating oatmeal?
There are some things you can do if you have gas issues from eating oatmeal.
First, gas is almost always proportional in size to how much you eat, so eating smaller amounts of oatmeal may be an option for some.
Also chewing more deeply can ensure that starches in oatmeal get digested before they pass through the small intestine.
Next, consider the ingredients in your oatmeal. To find out if some ingredients produce more gas than others, you can try different combinations.
If you aren’t used to eating soluble fiber, try small amounts and gradually increase your intake over time.