Does Garlic Cause Gas?
It’s not your imagination if garlic causes you to feel gassy, or if garlic-heavy meals leave you feeling bloated. This spice may not be the first thing people think of when they think of foods that cause gas. However, it can give them a few rumbles. It is rare to have an allergy to garlic. So, it’s the contents in garlic that can cause gas. Let’s see why garlic can cause gastric problems for some people and how to deal with it.
First, What causes flatulence?
Flatulence is a common condition that most people don’t understand. However, it is not difficult to learn.
Some carbohydrates don’t break down in the small intestine. These carbohydrates are then passed to the large intestine, where bacteria break down further for you to digest their nutrients. The fermentation produces gas, which is then expelled.
There are many carbohydrates that can be difficult to digest, and they can cause gas. But the most important ones we’ll be focusing on are:
Garlic Carbohydrates Breakdown
Here are the significant amounts of carbohydrates found in 100g of garlic.
Remember that a typical clove of garlic weighs about 5 grams so it is rare to consume more than 100 grams per serving. Moisture 63 g, Fructose 0.64 g, Glucose 0.82 g, Sucrose 2.05 g, Fructans 17.4g, Total FOS 1.2 g, Raffinose 0.56 g.
Fructose can cause gas problems (and sucrose can also be half fructose), but it is unlikely to be an issue with garlic, as it is a small amount.
Both FOS (fructooligosaccharides) and raffinose are types of oligosaccharides, which are known to cause gas because they cannot be digested in the small intestine. They can cause stomach problems if there is a lot of them.
The most likely reason for gas with garlic is the high level of fructans…
Why Fructans in Garlic Cause Gas?
Fructans, as the name implies, are closely related to fructose and can be described as a single sugar molecule, a small polymer chain made up of fructose.
Because garlic is high in fructans (a fermentable carbohydrate), it makes you feel gassy. Fructans can also be found in onions, leeks, and chicory roots. Humans lack the enzyme necessary to break down this molecule. Fructans cannot be absorbed in the small intestine where most nutrients are absorbed.
Fructans are able to travel down to the large intestinal tract mostly undigested. There, they’re fermented by bacteria. Any gas, bloating, and abdominal pain can be caused by this fermentation process.
Even in a small amount of garlic, there is still a lot of fructans. It turned out that garlic is by a wide margin one of the highest food sources of fructan.
Fructose is difficult to digest. Fructans can also cause digestive problems like:
Everyone malabsorb fructans. It’s a natural part of our digestive system. For most people, mildly garlicky meals don’t cause noticeable symptoms.
Most people can pass small amounts of gas without feeling any symptoms. This is natural and doesn’t necessarily have to do with food.
Different people have different reactions to fructans. The gut microbiome may be very different.
Fructans are actually good for us. These carbohydrates are prebiotic fibers that feed and stimulate beneficial bacteria growth in the gut.
They also help in the absorption and utilization of trace elements. They are also integral to the production and use of short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate. This may be a factor in preventing certain types of cancers.
Is Garlic High in Fiber?
Fiber is also a common source of gas. Let’s see below the nutritional data for 100g of raw garlic.
However, the 2.1 grams per 100g of garlic aren’t very high and most people won’t eat a portion that big. Energy(kcal) 149, Protein (g) 6.36, Total Lipid (g) 0.5, Carbohydrate (g) 33.1, Fiber (g) 2.1, Sugars (g) 1.
This means that fiber can cause gas in some foods but not here.
Why does Garlic cause Gas?
Some people find that garlic can give them gas. Garlic contains a lot of fiber, sugars such as fructose, oligosaccharides, and other nutrients that can cause gas.
However, it’s unlikely that you will eat enough garlic to cause an issue unless you eat a whole head.
Garlic is most commonly known to cause gas. It’s high in fructans which can cause gas and bloating in certain people.
You can test your reaction to fructans by eating foods high in fructans such as:
- Jerusalem artichokes (22g fructan per 100g)
- Shallots (8.9g)
- Leek (7.1g)
- Spring onion (6.3g).
What to do if you have Garlic Farts?
It isn’t much you can do about the bloating and flatulence caused by garlic. You can eat less garlic, but your reaction to it will be proportional, but there’s still a reaction.
When we eat too much garlic, digestive problems usually start. The problem will only get worse if you add other fructan-rich foods to it. For example, by eating pasta with garlic and onion tomato sauce and garlic bread, you’re bound to pass more gas and smelly gas.
For people highly sensitive to fructans, even the slightest hint of garlic in their food can cause discomfort. Like people with Crohn’s disease, IBS, SIBO can experience these symptoms, even if they eat a small amount.
You can reduce the discomfort caused by the gas by eating less garlic and paying more attention to your fructan intake. Fructans can be dose-dependent.
It takes some trial and error to figure out how much garlic you can consume without becoming gassy. So pay attention to what you are eating at each meal, and consider where you might be getting more fructans from other foods.
Label-reading is essential because fructans are added to many foods such as cereals, yogurt, and protein bars in order to increase fiber and prebiotic content.
If you want to go big on garlicky meals (chicken with 40-crown cloves), consider taking an over-the-counter gas treatment on doctors’ advice. Make sure you take the tablet out before you eat, it won’t help if you already feel gassy.
Cooking garlic can make it easy to digest. You don’t want to overcook it or it will lose its flavor, but I would advise adding raw garlic powder to foods, or large pieces of garlic that have barely been cooked.