Can Dried Fruit Give You Gas?

By Mike Gamble

Passing gas is a normal part of digestion that you can't avoid. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, passing gas as much as 23 times a day is normal. However, a number of foods and medical conditions can increase that to abnormal levels. Many kinds of fruit, whether dried or not, are some of the major culprits due to their fiber content.

Soluble Fiber

Fruit contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber turns into a gel in the presence of water, making it difficult to digest. In a way, that's beneficial because it helps to lower cholesterol. On the down side, the difficulty digesting soluble fiber involves fewer nutrients absorbed into the intestines and greater amounts of gas. Not everyone reacts to food in the same way, so for some people, dried fruit may not cause a problem.

Dried Fruit Versus Fresh

There are conflicting claims concerning the differences between dried fruit and fresh. The University of Michigan Health System singles out dried fruit as causing a greater amount of gas than undried fruit. Many other important health resources, such as the Merck Manual, list raisins and prunes among the foods that cause the most gas. However, the International Nut and Dried Fruit Foundation released a report in May 2011 saying that there is no essential difference between dried fruit and fresh. It cited many scientific studies focusing primarily on the nutritional benefits, but none of the studies addressed the subject of flatulence in particular. The report did raise an interesting issue concerning misconceptions caused by the difference in weight after the fruit is dried. Maybe there is a misconception that raisins, for example, cause more gas than the equivalent amount of grapes. However, without more specific studies, there's little reason to dispute contrary claims that dried fruit causes more gas.

Gas Remedies

The easiest way to alleviate gas problems is by either changing your diet or focusing on better digestion. Eating quickly usually involves swallowing air and poor digestion, which are the two main causes of dietary gas. Any undigested food that reaches the large intestines may cause gas. You can improve digestion by chewing more thoroughly and swallowing smaller quantities. Another way is by supplementing your diet with digestive enzymes, which you can find in many health food stores and pharmacies. Some over-the-counter remedies don't help with gas caused by fiber, so be sure to check the label.

Severe Causes of Gas

Irritable bowel syndrome and malabsorption are two medical conditions that can lead to excessive amounts of dietary gas. Diarrhea usually accompanies malabsorption, and bloating is a characteristic symptom of irritable bowel syndrome. If you are experiencing either of those symptoms or stomach pain, vomiting, weight loss, chest pain or bloody stools, contact your doctor.

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