Garlic is very popular when it comes to both health remedies and food flavoring. However, most people do complain of smelly gas after eating garlic. It is no longer news that garlic’s close relative, onion, causes a lot of gas in the intestines when consumed in large quantities. Does this apply to garlic? Can it really cause gas? Well, let’s find out!
But before we get down with whether garlic causes gas or not, let’s digest some few facts about farting.
When farting is mentioned, everybody becomes embarrassed. But you can’t deny the fact that you fart: everybody does. While farting in public is definitely a poor etiquette, the wind that you release indicates a healthy digestive system. If you don’t fart at all, it means you are not okay, and you need to see a doctor fast.
The human body systems are a little bit different, so there’s no standard value for the number of fart in humans per day. However, most reports have put an average normal human to fart about 14-30 times daily. This number can rise as high as 40 in some people.
That’s a lot of gas if you ask me. I personally don’t go that much rounds a day. I don’t know about you, but health professionals feel it is still within the normal range. On the other hand, if you find yourself farting for more than 40 times per day, it means you are bloated, and you need an intervention fast.
But why do we fart?
Passing out wind is completely normal. We fart because of two main reasons: the air we take in from the environment and the gas that gets created in our gut. When we drink, eat, or smoke, we take in some air into our gut. Normally, air that’s taken in from our mouth into the gut gets eliminated through burping. However, small amounts can still sip into the intestines, and will have to be eliminated via the other way round: through the rectum.
That’s about the air we take in. The air or gas that’s created in our gut is a by-product of digestion. When the stomach acid breaks down the food materials we consume, gas like carbon dioxide is released.
Also, when food materials get to the large intestines, gut bacteria acts upon them. This process also produces a lot of gas in the gut. Gases such as hydrogen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and methane are produced. Yep, including methane gas, which is the main component of flammable natural gas. This is why your fart could catch fire!
Does garlic cause gas and bloating?
Yes, garlic can cause gas and bloating. While garlic is low in fiber, it still contains fructans. These fructans are responsible for the ability of garlic to cause gas. They make us gassy because we lack the enzyme that can digest them. So, they pass through the small intestine undisturbed, until they reach the large intestine, where bacteria acts on them to produce a lot of gas.
Fructans are part of the FODMAPs, which stands for Fermentable Oligosacharides Disacharides, Monosacharides And Polyols. They are shortchain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine (1).
Apart from the fructans, garlic also contain starches that the body has a difficult time digesting. At long last, it is the same bacteria in our gut that will have to digest these starches. Due to this, a lot of gas is emitted in the process.
Is the gas from garlic smelly?
The smell that accompanies the fart of a person that consumes a lot of garlic is often the reason why people hate to eat this spice. Garlic, along with onions, broccoli, and brussel sprouts are among the high-sulfur foods. These kind of foods are rich in sulfur, and produce a gas with a rotten-egg smell.
A rotten-egg smell is peculiar to sulfur-containing compounds due to the production of hydrogen sulfide. So, if you eat garlic often, you are likely to experience a very foul smelling and offensive flatulence.
Garlic, just like onions, causes gas. And this is due to the indigestible oligosaccharides and starch it contains. It also causes smelly gas because of the sulfur compounds it contains.
To reduce the gas caused by garlic, you might want to reduce the quantity you consume. If that still doesn’t help, you should consider replacing garlic with other herbs and spices such as basil, thyme, and parsley.