Passing gas is your body’s way of telling you that whatever you just ate wasn’t handled well in the gut and is about to be released in the form of—well, you know. Sure, it’s embarrassing, but it’s actually quite natural. “Most people pass gas on average 13-21 times per day,” says Ilyse Schapiro, R.D., and holding it in is painful and harmful to your health, per this study out of New Zealand.
That said, there are certain foods, like the diet staples listed here, that build up even more pressure in your gut—and can make gas worse. But don't worry if some of your favorite healthy foods are on this list: everyone differs in their reactions to certain foods. So, monitor what you consume and then give the surrounding air the old sniff test a few hours later. Fun (gross) fact: “The smell depends on what you eat—foods like cauliflower, beans, cabbage, eggs, and meat can make the smell stronger," Schapiro says. "The sound depends on the speed of the gas leaving your body, and how tight the sphincter muscles are."
If you’re a gassy guy, you can reduce the intensity of your farts by amping up your exercise, eating slower to take in less air, and ultimately avoiding (or limiting) the following 10 foods.
Dairy products like milk—which, by the way, is the main ingredient in whey protein powder—ice cream, or cheese, contain loads of lactose, which, when consumed in excess amounts, can lead to the passing of gas. “By age 25, many people become lactose intolerant,” says Veronika Dubrovskaya, a gastroenterologist in Brooklyn. This makes it tough to break down dairy in your system—“especially if you don’t have enough of the enyzme lactase,” adds Schaprio. If you experience the dreaded protein farts, opt for a protein supplement with hemp or soy, like these options.
“Green apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, and prunes are infamous for causing an increase in gas production,” says Dubrovskaya. “They contain sorbitol, which when ingested, can produce gas,” adds Schapiro. “Fruits also contain fiber, which when digested in the large intestine, can produce gas, too,” says Schapiro.
Bear in mind that fruits have ample health benefits: This study discovered eating apple peels increases muscle strength and size at an old age, and research has found the red and blue bunches of fruit help you burn fat.
Certain foods that are necessary for a shredded physique are also the leading cause of stinky farts. Green vegetables (like green peas, asparagus, broccoli, and brussels sprouts, to name a few) are your worst offenders. They’re high in fiber, which is great for satiety, but tough to break down in the digestive system, leading to the build up of gas.
Picking up a nice slice of bread, bowl of pasta, or crunchy cracker made with ingredients like wheat, barley, and rye, could be to blame for gas. “When your digestive system tries to break down these carbohydrates, it produces gas,” says Schapiro. Try gluten-free grains to reduce the output.
Yes, it turns out this old tale is true—beans do make you fart. This cheap legume is packed with protein and fiber, which is great for keeping your gut satisfied, but it’s also difficult to digest and takes longer to break down, thus coming out the other end as stench. It's something to keep in mind the next time you're about to go on your next burrito binge a few hours before a hot date.
A handful of nuts are a prime grab-and-go snack high in protein, healthy fat, and fiber—all which ensure satiety. But once you get this good into the mouth and through the gut, the system doesn’t digest it too easily, turning your intestines into a natural gas factory. Watch out for cashews in particular, which are among the biggest triggers of gas.
If you’re tempted to grab sugar-free sweets, then you’re waiting for a fart to happen. When you chew gum or suck on a hard candy, you swallow more air in the process, which directly causes you to produce more flatulence—or worse, according to Dubrovskaya. Also: If you’re looking to shrink down in size, you should skip the sugar-free road altogether—research shows it could damage the gut.
Noticing a trend? That's no accident: Any food high in fiber can lead your body to create a malodorous cloud of gas. “The process of digesting soluble fiber releases intestinal gas,” says Schapiro. Of course, that’s not to say you should avoid them at all costs. Consumption of fiber-rich foods—especially when they’re low in carbohydrates and high in protein—is key to getting you a muscular, lean body. Foods filled with fiber vary from legumes, to vegetables, to fruits—all of which can speed up the digestion process and sufficiently fulfill your hunger.
Skip any pickled or mild condiment to prevent the puff, because according to Dubrovskaya, these are core gas-producing foods. Plus, they’re often loaded with sodium and contain zero protein. Other condiments that generate a gassy draft are jam, jelly, and salad dressings that are high in sugar, or completely sugar-free. These substances aren’t properly processed in the body, and therefore can’t break down successfully. The “low-sugar” option is your best bet, if at all.
Another category of gas-producing goods that go down the hatch is carbonated beverages. With the except of seltzer, these drinks are usually loaded with high fructose corn syrup, or, in the case of "diet" sodas, artificial sweeteners—both ingredients that should be permanently removed from your diet. These syrups and chemicals are harder to break down and could be the origin of your foul-smelling farts. Worse yet, they’ll add layers to your midsection and increase your risk of diabetes.