Do Bananas Cause Gas?


Bananas are a convenient, inexpensive, and tasty fruit that’s popular worldwide.

They’re often eaten following periods of nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea due to their mild nature and flavor and ability to help reintroduce nutrients and electrolytes when appetite is lacking.

As such, bananas are part of the BRAT diet, which stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. This diet helps make stools firmer and is thought to be easier on the stomach during sensitive periods.

However, some people report that eating bananas has caused them to experience more gas.

This article examines whether bananas are likely to cause gas and other gastrointestinal side effects like bloating.

Bananas have been used to help alleviate diarrhea and constipation in children. However, some people report that eating bananas causes them to experience unwanted side effects like gas and bloating (1).

Bloating is a common condition in which you feel distention and pressure in your abdomen from a buildup of slow-moving gas in your intestines (2).

One possible reason for these side effects is that bananas contain sorbitol, a naturally occurring sugar alcohol. Your body metabolizes it slowly, and it can cause laxative effects when consumed in large amounts (3).

Bananas are also high in soluble fiber, a type of carbohydrate that dissolves in water and may result in increased gas production (4).

Both sorbitol and soluble fiber pass through your large intestine during the digestive process. Here, intestinal bacteria work to break them down.

The process of breaking down sorbitol and soluble fiber produces hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane gas, which results in increased flatulence in some people (5, 6).

Eating large amounts of soluble fiber can cause constipation, bloating, and gas, especially among people who may already experience digestive issues (7, 8, 9, 10).

Furthermore, if you’re not used to consuming a fiber-rich diet in general, eating fiber-rich foods like bananas may cause you to experience gas. One medium banana contains around 3–5 grams of fiber (11).

Fiber appears to change the gut microbiome, increasing the number of fiber-digesting bacteria that produce gas as a byproduct (12).

SUMMARY

Bananas may cause gas and bloating in some people due to their sorbitol and soluble fiber contents. This seems to be more likely among people with digestive issues or who aren’t used to eating a fiber-rich diet.

If you think you’re sensitive to the compounds in bananas, one way to potentially reduce their gas-inducing effects is to eat smaller portions. For instance, instead of eating a whole large banana at once, eat one-third or one-half of it.

Some sources suggest that unripe, green bananas contain more resistant starch than riper bananas. Resistant starch passes through your digestive system largely untouched, functioning similarly to soluble fiber and potentially causing more gas.

As bananas ripen, their resistant starch is turned into simple sugars, which are more digestible. As such, eating ripe bananas may help reduce gas and bloating (13).

Lastly, you may be more likely to experience gas and bloating if you’re not used to eating a fiber-rich diet.

By increasing fiber intake gradually (e.g., eating smaller portions of bananas), you can help your digestive system adjust to a higher fiber intake.

Drinking plenty of water can also help minimize any unwanted gastrointestinal side effects of increasing your dietary fiber intake, such as constipation (14).

SUMMARY

To minimize digestive issues from eating bananas, choose ripe bananas, eat them in smaller portions, and make sure to stay hydrated if you’re not used to eating high fiber foods regularly.

Bananas are a widely consumed fruit that’s sometimes used to help alleviate diarrhea or constipation. However, some people report experiencing an increase in gas and bloating after eating bananas.

This may be due to the high fiber content of bananas, as well as their sorbitol and resistant starch contents, as these are harder for your body to break down.

To minimize digestive effects from eating bananas, choose ones that are ripe and eat smaller portions. Additionally, if you’re not used to eating a high fiber diet, staying hydrated can help prevent related digestive issues.



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