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Do Beans Cause Bloating?

The 1 Thing I Gave Up in My Diet to Finally Kick My Bloating to the Curb

I've battled the bloat monster for years. I've tried all kinds of diets in an attempt to get rid of my bloating as well, from Paleo to Whole30 to raw. I settled on a plant-based vegan diet, which has helped me more than any other foods, but it was only when I nixed beans from my kitchen that I saw serious, lasting relief from bloating.

There are all kinds of foods that are known to cause bloating — dairy, fried foods, excess salt, carbonated drinks, and cruciferous vegetables. Beans are on that list as well, and it's all because of oligosaccharide, a type of sugar in beans that is hard for our bodies to digest. Additionally, beans belong to a group of short-chain carbohydrates called FODMAPs, which are fermented by gut bacteria in the colon and can cause a lot of gas if your body doesn't process them well.

But wait, there's more. Beans are also super high in fiber; just a half cup of white beans can grant you almost 18 grams. To give you some perspective, you're supposed to get 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day, so you're getting more than half of what you need with one serving. That's a lot of fiber for the body to handle in one fell swoop.

So it was no surprise that giving up beans finally helped me tone down all my bloating. I initially thought that it was only canned or premade beans that was causing the bloat, so I gave those up and decided to only cook with dried beans, which I soaked and cooked myself. But after a few months of even doing that, I was frustrated with how much bloating I was still experiencing.

About a month ago, in my last attempt to stave off an uncomfortably protruding belly, I swore off all beans entirely. Chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans — you name it, and I rejected it. (The hardest part was saying goodbye to hummus.) But I noticed within a couple weeks that my belly was much less bloated than ever before.

I didn't have to worry about my jeans fitting properly the day after a big dinner, and I didn't have to worry about holding in gas at the office after lunch. My stomach was flatter than ever, but more importantly, I experienced much less discomfort in my entire abdominal region. Every now and then, I'll have a bite of hummus if a friend has it on their plate, but other than that, I'm happy to have given up beans. There are plenty of things to replace it with when I'm cooking at home, so I don't feel like I'm missing out.

Keep in mind that not everyone has the same reactions to beans; everyone's body is different. For example, I eat a hefty amount of soy every day and it's my main source of protein, yet I know some people who get just as bloated from soy as I do from beans. But if you've been struggling with bloating a lot recently, and you just can't pinpoint what it is, maybe consider giving up beans for a little while and see if it makes a positive difference.

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