Help! My Healthy Diet Gives Me Gas!

How to reduce excess gas brought on by a diet high in raw fruits and vegetables.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
2-minute read

Q. I've been eating "raw" for lunch for over 8 months.  My lunch consists of raw kale, broccoli, tomato, carrots, celery, avocado, peanuts, apples, and strawberries. I feel great--vegetableswith one exception. Any ideas on how to decrease the gas I get after lunch everyday? 

A. That certainly is a healthy sounding list of foods! But I'm not surprised that you're experiencing gas after lunch. Several of your daily stand-bys are known for their ability to produce excess gas. (In fact, I think I recently got an email from one of your co-workers.) [Smile]

Although you might be fine with one or two of these foods in smaller amounts, it could be that the combination of all of them is simply more than your system can process.

See also: What are the Benefits of a Raw Food Diet?

If you've been doing this for 8 months and the problem hasn't improved, then I don't think we can hope that your digestive system will adjust. It might be time to adjust the menu! 

  • Kale and broccoli (along with cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and other members of the cabbage family) are notorious for causing gas--especially when eaten raw. Consider replacing the kale and broccoli with easier-to-digest veggies like peppers, or zucchini.
  • Apples are relatively high in fructose, which can cause gas in susceptible individuals.  Try fruits with a lower fructose profile, such as grapes, kiwi, or melon.
  • Avocados contain polyols, another nutrient that promote gassiness in some people. 

See this list for other foods that are more and less likely to produce gas.  See also: What is the FODMAP Diet?

A couple of other suggestions:

  • Take smaller bites and chew your food thoroughly. Chewing helps to break down carbohydrates that can disrupt digestion later on.

See also: How Chewing Affects Nutrition

  • Don't overfill your stomach. Raw fruits and vegetables take up a lot of space in your stomach. This can be a plus in terms of banishing hunger. But an over-filled stomach can also impair digestion and cause gas. If your raw lunch is especially voluminous, try eating it in two smaller installments, about 90 minutes apart.

See also: Got Gas?

Let me know if any of that makes a difference? 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.