Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Gas in the Digestive Tract
Can changing my eating and drinking habits or diet reduce gas or gas symptoms?
If you have problems with gas symptoms, your doctor may recommend changing your eating and drinking habits or diet. People with certain health conditions may need to follow a special diet. Your doctor may refer you to a registered dietitian to help create a healthy eating plan. Check on the cost of a dietitian’s services and whether your health insurance may pay for some or all of these services.
Changing your eating and drinking habits
Your doctor may suggest changing your eating and drinking habits to reduce gas symptoms. For example, doctors may recommend
- avoiding or limiting how often you chew gum, suck on hard candy, drink fizzy drinks, and drink with a straw
- avoiding talking while eating or drinking
- eating slowly and, when possible, sitting down to eat instead of eating on the run
- eating smaller, more frequent meals instead of larger meals
Changing your diet
Some people have more gas symptoms when they consume certain carbohydrates that the stomach and small intestine don’t fully digest. When these carbohydrates reach the large intestine, bacteria break them down and create gas in the process.
Examples of foods and drinks containing carbohydrates that may lead to excess gas include
- certain fruits—including apples, peaches, and pears—and fruit juices
- vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables—a group that includes broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, and others—and legumes—a group that includes beans, peas, and lentils
- dairy products, such as milk, ice cream, and yogurt
- whole grains, such as whole wheat
- drinks that contain high-fructose corn syrup, such as fruit juices, soft drinks, sports drinks, and energy drinks
- candy, gum, or other products that contain sweeteners ending in “–ol,” such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, erythritol, and maltitol
Talk with your doctor about your diet. Your doctor may ask you to keep a diary of what you eat and drink and your gas symptoms. The diary can help your doctor or dietitian figure out whether certain foods and drinks could be causing your gas symptoms.
Following a special diet to help treat health conditions
If you are diagnosed with a health condition that could be causing your gas symptoms, your doctor or dietitian may recommend a special diet. For example, health care professionals may recommend
- following a gluten-free diet to treat celiac disease.
- reducing the amount of lactose in your diet to manage symptoms of lactose intolerance.
- reducing the amount of fructose, especially high-fructose corn syrup, in your diet to manage symptoms of dietary fructose intolerance.
- trying a low FODMAP diet for a few weeks to see if it helps with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. FODMAPs are carbohydrates that are hard to digest.
Talk with your doctor or dietitian about a healthy eating plan that may help with your gas symptoms.
This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
(NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.