Do high-protein diets cause flatulence?
Q: "I've been on a high-protein, low-carb diet for two months now and since I started this diet, I fart more often and the smell is also a lot stronger than usual. What kind of foods would make that happen?"
Name not supplied
A: Dietitian Amanda Johnson responds:
"Firstly, the high-protein, low-carb diets are not the best way to lose weight. This type of eating pattern is at odds with international dietary recommendations and can be low in important nutrients. Also, the long-term health effects in relation to cardiovascular disease, cancer, kidney function and bone health are unknown. A better approach to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is to have a balanced diet, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, moderate amounts of whole grains, lean meat or alternatives, and low-fat dairy products. You should also watch your portion sizes and keep physically active.
Significantly changing what you eat can cause your body to produce more wind than usual, as the bacteria that ferment the undigested carbohydrate and fibre in your large bowel have to get used to handling the different foods. Some people find that there are certain foods that cause more flatulence than others. For example, foods containing insoluble fibre such as beans, cauliflower and cabbage can produce more wind since they take longer to break down in the bowel. Other foods that may cause flatulence include lettuce, apples, turnips, lentils, parsnips, swedes, onions, Brussels sprouts, garlic and leeks. Foods containing sulphur (like cauliflower) will tend to lead to the smellier varieties of gas.
If you find particular foods have an effect on you, try substituting different fruits and vegetables into your diet."