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Hidden Culprits In High Fiber Processed Foods That Cause Gas

I recently uncovered some research that revealed how certain ingredients in processed high fiber foods could be contributing to gastrointestinal duress, or simply stated they could make you gassy and bloated.

Most people think of foods like beans, dairy, and certain vegetables as being the main culprits to gas, but these foods may or may not be triggering the problem.

Obviously, a big factor will be one’s allergen sensitivity to things like lactose in regards to dairy, and the preparation of beans and vegetables.¬†Most cruciferous vegetables are best¬†consumed cooked and not raw, while cooking beans also helps to remove oligosaccharides that promotes gas.

Inherently, gas is nothing more than an indicator that there’s an imbalance in your gastrointestinal tract. An occasional serving of cooked beans should not pose a problem in an otherwise balanced GI tract.

Surprisingly, one of the biggest culprits for foods that promote gas are the so called healthy fibers that are being added to processed foods. This is just another reason to leave the processed and refined foods on the shelf and stick with natural foods for your fiber needs.

More after the jump…

So let’s cut right to the chase. What are the biggest culprits in these processed and refined¬†foods?

It’s inulin and sugar alcohols.

Inulin, which is sometimes shown as “chicory root extract” on ingredients list is a prime culprit. A lot of the processed foods that claim to be high-fiber use inulin as a fiber filler. What’s the problem with inulin? Well it contains sugars that our digestive enzymes can’t break down.

You see our digestive enzymes have little trouble breaking down most sugars into monosaccharides like glucose for our body to use. The problem comes when we consume sugars made up of three or more strands, referred to as ogliosaccharides, which the enzymes can’t break down.

The end result is these sugars wind up as food for the bacteria in your gut. Inulin is fermented in the large intestine and the gas is a result of that fermentation.

From what I found in the research it appears that there is individual variability with how much inulin can be consumed before gas and bloating becomes a problem. Most people can do ok with 15 grams or less a day, while others will experience problems with even a small amount.

When you look at the inulin content in a lot of the processed foods, the numbers can add up in a hurry. This fiber is in a wide variety of foods, everything from yogurts, cottage cheese, cereals, bars, crackers, etc.

The Fiber One chewy bars top the list as some bars have up to 9 grams of inulin per serving. I’ve long been on record spotlighting these Fiber One bars for being a high fiber scam. It’s totally misleading as they’re pitched to be healthy, but the fiber isn’t the same as say fiber from a fruit or vegetable for example. It’s fiber that’s been added back into a food that’s been processed and refined.

The second culprit, sugar alcohols are added to a whole laundry list of processed foods. When you look at foods like ice cream that claim to be “sugar-free” this is how they make the claim, by using sugar alcohols.

So if you find yourself getting gassy from eating all these “sugar-free” and “high fiber” processed foods, now you know why.

Once again, it’s all about the amount you consume and what the rest of your diet is like. A GI tract that has a good balance of probiotics compared to the other bacteria, can tolerate many of these foods in moderation. But if your gut is an environment that favors the growth of yeast, it will feed off the sugars.

If you find yourself frequently feeling gassy, take a good look at your diet. Remove the foods that feed yeast and allow your GI tract to re-establish a healthy balance. Stick with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, healthy fats, and other natural food sources.

Just know that while increasing fiber is a good practice for establishing a healthy GI tract, the type of fiber and sources do matter.

Shane Doll is a certified personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Fitness Training Studios. If you’re looking for a personal trainer in Charleston, you can receive a no-obligations personal training trial and consultation without risking a dime. Over 1000 Charleston area residents have transformed their bodies following our unique burst training workouts and simplified nutrition programs. Experience the Shaping Concepts difference today.

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Category: Nutrition.