Dietary fiber should be essential element of our diet. As per the current recommendation average woman should take around 25 grams of fiber while men should take around 38 grams of fiber each day. In my opinion this recommendation has been made keeping in mind the current diet being consumed by average American and the lifestyle habits. The reason is most people take bad carbs which include white bread, pasta and frequently consume fast foods such as pizza along with many products which contain high fructose corn syrup which is extremely bad for our health.
These fast foods damage us internally and lead to rapid accumulation of fat. Hence more dietary fiber is recommended, as they limit the damage from these foods as well as provide other health benefits.
Why Fiber Causes Flatulence
One of the common side effect of fiber is flatulence. Fiber does not gets digested by our digestive system unlike other parts of the food. In fact the part of the plant based food which cannot be digested by is called fiber. As this undigested food reaches the guts it welcomed by the gut bacteria. For these friendly bacteria dietary fiber is a food. When these bacteria digest the food fermentation occurs which causes gas as the side effect. Often this can create embarrassing condition. More time the fiber remains in the guts for gas is produced.
How to Reduce or Avoid Flatulence Caused By Fiber
Although some flatulence is normal and can be managed. The problem happens when there is too much of flatulence. However there are certain steps which you can take to avoid or reduce flatulence. Let us see what you can do to tackle this problem.
1. Increase the Dose Gradually
If you are not used to fiber or fiber supplements then suddenly taking large dose of fiber is more likely to cause flatulence. Start with low dose and continue for one to two weeks. Once your body get adjusted to the dose then try to increase the dose.
Actually many people also have other side effects such as bloating and nausea when they start taking higher doses of fiber in the beginning which make the flatulence look worse than it is. Starting slowly can help keep the side effects to minimum. Hence start slowly and then gradually increase the dose.
2. Avoid the Flatulence Causing Fiber
Usually the most common foods which cause flatulence in most people are beans such as kidney beans or black beans. Some people also experience flatulence by cabbage or broccoli. However many people do not have any such issue when they take beans of cabbage. The reason is the type of bacteria in the guts.
Every person has some difference in the type of bacteria which is present in their body. Each bacteria digests different foods differently. Hence every person reacts and processes different foods differently. You would need to experiment and see which fiber causes you more flatulence and try to avoid those foods.
Usually dietary supplements such as metamucil fiber supplement (which is psyllum based supplement) or benefiber may cause less flatulence compared to beans or other vegetables. But they can still cause bloating. If you are looking to increase the fiber intake you can try these supplement and see how you feel.
You should try a different source of fiber If bloating or flatulence remains a problem and prevents the dose of fiber from being raised to a level that affects the stool satisfactorily.
3. Take More Water
This is a general advise when you take fiber. You should always take more water when you take fiber rich food and especially when you take fiber supplements. The reason is fiber can absorb water and sometime cause blockage.
Taking more water keeps the stool soft and lets it pass easily and get eliminated. It also helps avoid constipation. Constipation is another reason for flatulence.
When the stool get eliminated fast there are lesser chances of flatulence.
As you increase your fiber intake you should simultaneously increase the water intake also proportionately.
4. Avoid Other Foods Which Cause Gas
Certain foods such as chewing gum or carbonated drinks can cause gas in the stomach it can make the flatulence worse. Hence try to avoid such foods which can cause gas. Some people also have flatulence when they take beans. These people should avoid beans while taking supplements.
5. Remain Active
If you are not active and live a lethargic you can have more digestive problems. Try to become more active and have two to three workout sessions in a week. This can significantly improve your condition.
I hope these tips will help you to avoid flatulence while taking fiber since fiber is so vital for our health.