Too much gas typically is caused by the
incomplete absorption of certain starches and sugars during digestion. Bacteria
in your intestine then ferment the sugars, forming gas. To prevent excess gas:
� Limit gassy foods
The worst gas-formers are beans and other
legumes, wheat and wheat bran, cabbage, onions, Brussels sprouts, sauerkraut, apricots,
bananas and prunes. Milk and other dairy products also can cause gas if you
have reduced amounts of lactase, the enzyme needed to digest lactose, the main
sugar in milk.
� Consider taking anti-gas products
Beano, a food enzyme, helps improve the
digestion of gas-forming foods. Nonprescription medications such as simethicone
(Gas-X, Mylicon) or antacids that also have simethicone (such as the anti-gas
formulations of Maalox or Mylanta), may relieve gas.
� Eat fewer fatty foods
Fatty meats, fried foods, cream sauces and
gravies tend to increase gas and bloating. And they can contribute to unwanted weight
� Limit sugar substitutes
Many healthy people poorly absorb sorbitol and
mannitol contained in some sugar-free foods, candies and gums. The amount of
sorbitol contained in five sticks of sugar-free gum can cause gas and diarrhea
in some people.
� Consider products for lactose
intolerance, if needed
If you have trouble digesting milk sugar
(lactose), this may cause gas. Consider buying lactose-reduced or lactose-free products.
Or consider products with the lactase enzyme (such as Dairy Ease or Lactaid),
which can help you digest lactose.