Let’s talk about farts. We all do it; I do it, you do it, the dog does it and gets blamed for the ones they didn’t do. But does keto cause us to be less gassy? I’ve been following the keto/LCHF way of eating for about a year now, and I defiantly notice I have more gas when I have a cheat day, but why is that? If you are here, I guess you have noticed it too. So here’s why.
A lot of people report having less gas on the Keto diet; this is due to the reduction of carbohydrates in your diet thanks to the keto way of eating. Carbohydrates can be a major contributing factor to flatulence due to the fermentation that occurs during the digestive process.
If we look at the standard American diet food pyramid provided by the USDA, we can see that they recommended we eat a large number of carbohydrates each day. As you know, high amount of carbs is not just found in bread and pasta but also in starchy vegetables, fruit and sweets. Here is a list of some of the foods that you will find the most amount of carbs in:
- Dairy – Milk, yogurt, and ice cream
- Fruit – Whole fruit and fruit juice
- Grains – Bread, rice, crackers, and cereal
- Legumes – Beans and other plant-based proteins
- Starchy Vegetables – Potatoes and corn
- Sugary Sweets – Soda, candy, cookies, and other desserts
Now, by comparison, the keto way of eating recommends a very low carbohydrate diet where carbohydrates only make up 5% of our nutrition followed by 25% protein and the rest as fat. You can see a stark difference in comparison to what we are being recommended to eat by the government and health organisations compared with the keto diet. So because you and I don’t eat all those carbs, we don’t toot as much 😀
So how are farts made exactly?
Most people pass wind about 10-20 times a day, obviously less for us on keto. However, if you are ‘letting fluffy off the chain’ too much, that could be a sign of an unhealthy digestion system and that something is out of balance.
Farts are made up of Nitrogen, Oxygen, carbon dioxide and methane, but how are they made? Farts are created partly from the air that you swallow and some other sources but about 75% of production occurs in your intestine. In our intestine we have this thing called a microbiome which is inhabited by trillions of Bacteria. Some of these bacteria love eating carbohydrates, so if you are eating a ton of carbs like that of a standard America diet, your gut bacteria are going to go into overdrive and produce lots of gas. Unfortunately, all these excess carbohydrates can cause upset to your microbiome too.
If you are not following the Keto / Low carb diet and you find yourself ‘thundering from down under’, you might want to consider trying out the Keto diet.
Well, I’ve heard that keto can make you gassier.
If you are following a low carb keto diet, then it probably isn’t “keto” per say that’s causing you to be gassy. It’s likely that something you are eating is not agreeing with you. Certain keto approved vegetables can make you gassy like:
- Brussel Sprouts
- Bell Peppers (Capsicum)
Try cutting out all the veggies in the above list and introduce them back in slowly one by one and see which one might be causing the issue.
Raw veggies vs Cooked
Raw veggies are awesome for you, lots of enzymes and amazing goodness in them, however if your digestive system is not running at peak efficiency, too many or certain raw vegetables might cause bloating and an upset tummy. Cooking veggies especially steaming or boiling them helps to break them down, so they are easier to digest.
It could be that you’re lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance means your body has a reduced ability to break down the sugars in milk, the bacteria in your gut then pig out on all these extra carbs and guess what happens next? You guessed it, Gas! We tend to eat a lot of cream and cheese on keto, perhaps try reducing the amount of dairy and see if that helps.
Another possible cause is some of the alternative sugars often used in LCHF / Keto like stevia, Xylitol and Erythritol. Again, try cutting out or substituting these ingredients and see if that helps.
Unfortunately, everyone’s body is different, and there is no such thing as a ‘one cure’ fits all. For me, I find too many Capsicums can cause me to have gas, whereas it doesn’t affect my partner at all.
I have found for myself following this path of trying to improve myself physically you turn into a human gunnie pig, but persistence is the key (and good record keeping).
Low stomach acid
During my research about keto farts, I discovered that having too little stomach acid can also cause a host of issues like, gas, acid reflux, indigestion and bloating.
So what could cause you to have lower than normal stomach acid? Stress is a common cause alongside vitamin deficiencies, some medication and your age can have a big impact on how much stomach acid you produce. (Source: Healthline) https://www.healthline.com/health/hypochlorhydria#causes
How do I know if a have low stomach acid?
I believe you can buy PH level strips from your chemist to do a test, but there is a fun home method of testing too.
It’s best to perform this test on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning just after you wake. Take a ¼ teaspoon of Baking soda, mix it in a glass of water and drink it. If you start to burp within a minute or so your stomach acid levels are normal. If it takes longer than that to burp, then you may have a problem. Here’s a video explaining how the test is done. Note: Don’t do this test too often or more than once a day as too much baking soda might make you feel sick.
How to treat low stomach acid and digestion issues
If you have real health concerns you should defiantly see a health professional but here are some things I’ve found that can help restore normal stomach acid levels and aid with digestion.
Taking 1-3 teaspoons Apple Cider vinegar diluted in a small cup of water before a meal can help with digestion and stomach acid. (Source: Healthline)
Chewing your food better assists your stomach with digestion, remember mum telling you to chew your food properly, well turns out she was right. Also eating smaller meals can help too, if you have ever eaten a whole pizza to yourself and then had heartburn afterwards, then I’m talking to you!
Also look for Digestive enzyme supplement at your chemist or health food store, these can also assist.
Just when you thought were had discussed everything there is to discuss about gas, I give you one more, let’s talk about smelly farts.
How to fix smelly farts
You know your farts are bad when you let one go and the dog gets up and walks away. There are some reasons why they smell bad, but it mostly comes back to bad gut health like what we have already covered above. If your stomach and intestines are having problems breaking stuff down, then this could be the cause of your stink bombs. So try cutting out certain foods and make sure your stomach health is ok as mentioned in the above topics.
Another cause could be too much protein. If you are having trouble digesting meats they could be sitting in your digestive track putrifying and you can bet that won’t smell good. Again get your digestive system working well with the steps mentioned above and hopefully, the number of gas bombs you drop will lessen.
I hope this has been of help to you. Please comment and let me know and don’t forget to share.