Got vegan farting problems? Well, I’ve actually experienced it myself, so I feel your pain. But it doesn’t have to be so bad. There are many quick adjustments you can make to your vegan diet to stop farting so often.
The quickest solution to vegan farting for many people is to take digestive enzymes like Vegan Bean-zyme (Amazon link) with meals. Other solutions include avoiding problem foods, taking special measures in food preparation (like rinsing beans), and more tips I’ll share below.
I’ve actually got 17 tips about how to stop smelling up the room as a vegan. If you want to jump right to the tips, click here to scroll down the page. But first, I’ll explain why vegan gas happens and what foods usually do the most damage.
Short-Term vs Long-Term Gas When Going Vegan
Many new vegans experience just a temporary increase in gas when going vegan. This is due to increasing your fiber intake.
Once your body gets acclimated to the new higher fiber levels, typically within a few weeks, your gut may adjust to it. Then the gas may decrease naturally. So you just need to wait it out, or you need to be more gradual when introducing high-fiber foods at the start of your vegan diet.
If you identify a main problem food or two that’s causing your gas, you can remove that specific food while you’re getting adjusted. Then you can try slowly reintroducing it.
But some people experience long-term gas from common vegan foods, too, especially beans. And that may not just go away on its own. To address that, you’re going to need some of the strategies below.
Fiber: The Main Culprit Behind Vegan Farting
The average American eats only 15 grams of fiber per day. The recommended daily intake is 30+ grams, depending on your bodyweight. A healthy vegan diet can get you anywhere between 30 and 100 grams.
Meat has no fiber, at all! So for many new vegans, the change in fiber intake is dramatic. If you replace a steak or chicken breast in your diet with a can of beans, you’re literally going from zero fiber to over 20 grams for that meal.
Increasing your fiber has great benefits for your health. It can help with weight management, reducing cholesterol, increasing insulin sensitivity, and increasing mineral absorption.
More fiber also helps with your long-term health—it’s widely believed to reduce the risk of type-two diabetes and colon cancer.
But a big shift in your fiber intake can cause gas—let’s understand why.
Why More Fiber Can Cause More Gas
Fiber is not actually digestible as a source of calories by you. Instead, it just sweeps through your system and cleans things out. It arrives intact in your large intestines, which is the end of the line, before the toilet.
But that extra fiber, along with certain other carbohydrates I’ll cover below, can become food for the bacteria in your large intestines. When these bacteria eat the fiber via fermentation, they produce gas as a byproduct.
So you get gas in your intestines. This gas can cause farting, or combined with the fullness also caused by fiber, can give a feeling of bloating.
Your body will typically adjust to the increased volume of fiber, digesting more of the food before it reaches the large intestine, and the bacterial populations in your gut will also shift based on your diet. These changes should reduce gas. But it might take a few days or a few weeks for that adjustment to take place.
Soluble Fiber vs Insoluble Fiber: How They Impact Gas on a Vegan Diet
It’s not all fiber that causes us to fart more. Soluble fiber causes much more gas than insoluble fiber. You’ll often see specific numbers listed for soluble versus insoluble fiber on nutrition labels.
Insoluble fiber is a kind of fiber that does not absorb water, and it passes through your intestines without becoming food for those gas-producing bacteria. It’s soluble fiber that absorbs water and lets the bacteria feed on it.
Major sources of soluble fiber include the following:
- oats (including in cereal or baked goods)
- many fruits
- psyllium fiber supplements
But before you go cut out all or even most of the soluble fiber from your diet, read the next section on how prebiotic soluble fibers can actually help reduce the bad smell of your farts on a vegan diet.
Finding the right balance between not enough and too much soluble fiber may be key.
What Causes Bad-Smelling Farts on a Vegan Diet?
The odor of our farts may actually be more important for our comfort and pride than the volume of gas we expel.
One of the key causes of smelly farts is the amount of sulfur you consume. Sulfur has that rotten-egg smell that is so common to bad farts.
When looking at vegan foods, sulfur is found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, almonds and peanuts, dates and other dried fruits, wheat pasta, and wine and fruit juices. So to reduce the bad smell of your farts, you can try to limit these sulfur-containing foods.
Another factor that can influence the sulfur smell in your farts is whether you’re consuming enough prebiotics. Prebiotics are food for beneficial bacteria in your intestines.
Talking about how prebiotics can help with your farting problems can get complicated. This is because there’s a whole chain of cause and effect that makes it happen. It’s also confusing because “prebiotics” overlaps with the “soluble fiber” and “oligosaccharides” that can cause more gas.
I’ll go into more detail below in tips 3 and 4, but the takeaway point for now is just that you actually do want a certain amount of prebiotic soluble fiber in your diet to reduce the smelliness of your farts (and for other aspects of gut health, as well).
17 Tips to Stop Farting So Much on a Vegan Diet
1. Introduce High-Fiber Foods Slowly.
Introduce beans slowly. Don’t go for full cans right away.
Some guides suggest adding beans to your diet with just a few tablespoons per day. It might sound funny to measure beans in tablespoons, but hey, whatever works! If you’re consistent, your body should adjust to the fiber.
You can use an app like My Fitness Pal to monitor your total fiber intake each day and gradually increase it, if that’s your style. Other high-fiber foods to specifically be aware of would be whole grains like whole wheat.
2. Take Digestive Enzymes.
This may be the magic bullet for many people. It’s a simple and direct solution. Many of the carbs that cause gas on a vegan diet can be better broken down with a supplement of digestive enzymes.
The most common choice for vegans is Vegan Bean-zyme (Amazon link). It’s simple and cheap, and it could solve all your problems.
The main ingredient in Vegan Bean-Zyme is alpha-galactosidase. It’s the same active ingredient included in Beano.
Alpha-galactosidase helps break down those troublesome carbohydrates that cause gas when they make it to the large intestine undigested. It’s been shown in studies to reduce intestinal gas.
Other enzymes exist that are “full-spectrum” and include other enzymes, too. But I think it makes sense to start with alpha-galactosidase since it’s the enzyme used in the leading brand (Beano).
Full-spectrum options are likely more expensive. Bean-Zyme is actually really affordable. But if you try that and it doesn’t help, maybe a full-spectrum option will help.
Typically you take one or two of the enzyme pills with your meal.
Note: Diabetics should consult a physician before trying alpha-galactosidase, as the increased breakdown of carbohydrates can raise your blood sugar. People with mold allergies should also avoid it because of the way it’s produced. And lastly, it shouldn’t be taken by people with the rare genetic disorder galactosemia.
3. Eat Probiotics and Fermented Foods.
“Probiotic” just means good bacteria. Taking probiotics can help your gut transition into a different kind of bacterial environment faster. This can help with gas.
There are certain probiotics that, with the help of prebiotics (covered in tip 4), create short-chain fatty acids like butyrate. These acids create an environment in your gut where sulfide-producing (smelly) bacteria can’t thrive. The result: Less smelly farts.
Some probiotic supplements use dairy in the culturing process, so look out for that. But many are 100% vegan.
Two things to look for in probiotic supplements are the count of “CFUs” (colony-forming units) and which strains of bacteria are included.
Lactobacillus acidophilus is one strain known to help stop gas. Bifidus (“Bifidobacterium”) is also helpful. But more strains, in general, is also considered helpful.
Here is the probiotic supplement I recommend (Amazon link). It has 20 billion CFUs per serving, from 12 vegan strains. It includes both the strains most commonly cited to help stop gas. Go read the reviews on Amazon—people have great results with it!
Fermented foods are another way to get more probiotics into your gut. When it comes to fermented vegan foods, look into sauerkraut, water kefir, kimchi, kombucha, tempeh, and miso.
One last note on probiotics: Be gradual in introducing probiotic foods and supplements! If you add a ton of them at once, you’ll probably have worse gas for that day. Ease into it. Give your gut a chance to transition.
4. Eat Prebiotics to Support the Probiotics.
Prebiotics can help reduce the smelliness of your farts by supporting the probiotics you already have.
If you’re following the chain of cause and effect, it’s like this: more pre-biotics —> more pro-biotics —> more short-chain fatty acids in your gut —> less sulfide-producing bacteria —> less smelly farts.
The takeaway point: You want prebiotic soluble fiber in your diet to reduce the smelliness of farts (and for other aspects of gut health, as well).
For prebiotic supplements, the most popular options are acacia fiber and inulin. These are usually sold as powders, and they’ve been shown to increase good bacteria in your gut over the course of a few weeks.
Here’s the acacia fiber I use: Heather’s Tummy Fiber (Amazon link). It’s organic and it has no taste. You just stir a little into a drink or food, and it helps support your good bacteria. Read the Amazon reviews—it’s a quality product.
Just start it slowly! If you take a bunch of acacia fiber at once, you’ll probably fart more for a while. (I say this from experience.) Be patient and build up gradually.
You can also get inulin fiber in foods like asparagus, Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, onion, leek, and chicory root.
You can also increase your intake of resistant starch, which functions as a prebiotic, too. For that, try eating more partially green bananas or, actually, cold potatoes.
Yep, cold potatoes! One form of resistant starch is formed when you cook potatoes and then cool them back down.
5. Keep a Food Journal to Identify Problem Foods.
This is pretty simple advice, but if you can identify the most gas-causing foods for you personally, that can make it easier to steer clear of those.
Even within the category of beans, you can notice whether large beans or small beans tend to cause you more gas. Are lentils or black beans worse for you personally? (Both are pretty bad for me, but rinsing them helps a lot.)
For me, I found that beans and whole wheat can cause gas. Also, sometimes peanut butter gives me trouble.
Again, an app like My Fitness Pal can help you log all your foods—but you can also keep track on paper or a simple note-taking app on your phone. You can always try to reintroduce your problem foods back in later if you want, gradually building up your ability to tolerate them.
6. Soak Your Beans and Discard the Water.
Beans are perhaps the single worst food when it comes to gas. And they are central to most ways of eating vegan. You can be a healthy vegan without beans, but it’s worth incorporating them if you can. So why do beans cause gas for many people?
Beans and other legumes (peas and lentils) contain a type of carbohydrate called “oligosaccharides.” These oligosaccharides are not fully digested in your small intestine because most of us do not have enough of the enzyme “alpha-galactosidase” that breaks them down.
This leads to a situation where the oligosaccharides reach your large intestine intact, and they feed the bacteria there. As explained above for fiber in general, the bacteria ferment this undigested food, and the result is gas.
Typically, gas from bean consumption will decrease after regularly eating them for some number of weeks—but it can remain a long-term problem for some people. Then you need to use some of the bean tips in this article, and that starts with soaking your beans and discarding the water.
If you’re cooking your beans from dry, then you need to soak them overnight in water before cooking them. To decrease the gas-causing power of the beans, you should discard/change the water the beans are soaking in at least once.
Many of the oligosaccharides that produce gas with bean consumption will wash away with the water you soaked them in. This leaves you with less-gassy beans. Change the water multiple times for an even greater effect.
7. Rinse Off Your Canned Beans.
This was a big tip for me.
With canned beans, you just want to rinse away that “bean juice.” Rinsing off your canned beans helps remove excess oligosaccharides in the same way as soaking your dry beans.
So drain and rinse your canned beans well. This can also reduce the amount of salt, which will make the beans even healthier.
I found that I can eat a full can of beans without gas, as long as I rinse them well. But if I don’t rinse them… farts are on the way.
8. Cook Your Cruciferous Veggies.
Mentioned above for their sometimes smelly sulfur content, cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, arugula, and bok choy. Well, the sulfur content is not the only potential problem when it comes to cruciferous veggies and gas.
Cruciferous vegetables also cause gas due to their raffinose content, which is a specific type of oligosaccharide. We can’t digest raffinose very well, and once again, it becomes food for our gut bacteria, and they produce gas as they ferment it.
But you can combat this. Along with taking digestive enzymes like alpha-galactosidase mentioned above, you can try switching from raw to cooked cruciferous veggies. When cooked, these veggies tend to cause a lot less gas for most people.
9. Drink More Water.
Water can keep things moving and bind to the fiber you’re eating. I don’t understand the mechanism as thoroughly as for some of the other tips, but many sources recommend drinking more water to reduce gas on a vegan diet.
In fact, some sources argue that you should keep increasing your water intake as you increase your fiber, or you should be especially sure to drink lots of water with your high-fiber meals specifically.
10. Choose Fruits With Less Sugar.
For some people, the amount of fructose in the most sugary fruits can cause gas. I noticed sometimes bananas cause me gas—maybe it was for this reason.
Instead of high-sugar fruits like dates and bananas, you can choose low-sugar fruits like berries, oranges, watermelon, or avocados. Berries are especially healthy and they’re what I try to focus on.
Here’s a bigger list of low-sugar fruits to emphasize in your diet.
11. Eat Smaller Meals.
Your body may be able to handle smaller amounts of food and fiber more easily than a big meal.
Even if you’re eating a “problem food,” eating a smaller load of it may be enough to reduce the gas. It’s a simple tip, but it could be the one that makes a difference for you.
12. Eat More Slowly and Chew Your Food Well.
When you eat quickly, it’s not only more common to overeat, but you also (1) swallow more air and (2) have larger food particles to digest.
Swallowing air means you’ll have more gas in your digestive tract. However, I should mention, I think swallowed air more commonly results in burping than farting.
But larger food particles from not thoroughly chewing may result in your gut bacteria having more undigested food to ferment, as well, producing gas and farts.
13. Cook Your Beans Thoroughly.
Cook your beans until they’re quite soft. Some people even recommend “overcooking” them. I couldn’t find an explanation of why this helps with gas exactly—it probably makes the carbohydrates easier to digest.
Bonus bean-cooking tip: Cooking your beans with a little seaweed (kombu or wakame), or a bay leaf, can supposedly help reduce how much gas they cause, as well.
14. Exercise More.
Exercise and all physical activity can keep things moving and keep you more regular. Supposedly, this helps to reduce gas.
Part of the reason might be that constipation also causes your farts to smell a lot worse, so anything that keeps things moving can help you side-step that issue.
I’m not sure exactly how significant the impact of exercise is on gas, compared to the other items on this list, but exercising is something we should all do more of anyway!
15. Reduce Stress.
This is a roundabout way to improve your gut health, but it has other benefits, so I’m including it. Stress can wreak havoc on your gut and cause more gas, for vegans and for everybody.
I’ve read several different explanations of how stress hurts your gut, from changing the speed of food moving through your system to changing intestinal wall permeability and causing bacterial overgrowth. I’m not qualified to explain it all in-depth, but I believe it’s real.
What’s the solution to too much stress? Meditation works for a lot of people. Cutting out stressors and freeing up some “me time” for yourself can also help reduce stress.
Just taking your day a little slower and surrounding yourself with more positive or calm people can also help.
16. Eliminate Food Sensitivities.
If none of these tips are helping, you might consider the possibility that you have a specific food sensitivity. Some people are gluten intolerant, and for those people, cutting out wheat and gluten from your diet can do wonders for relieving gas.
That said, many people who report “gluten sensitivity” may actually have fructan intolerance instead.
Fructans are another type of carbohydrate that causes gas troubles for some people. They are polymers of fructose molecules, which means multiple fructose sugar molecules strung together.
Fructans are found in various grains, vegetables, and processed foods, and wheat is a big source for many people. So if you start to suspect gluten, you should look up some more information about fructans, too, and be aware of them as a possible villain.
And some people are sensitive to a bunch of different FODMAPs. FODMAPs stands for “Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols.” It’s a catch-all term for these various types of carbs that can cause gas.
In some people, especially those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a temporary low-FODMAP diet can help you identify your personal trigger foods and avoid those in the future.
17. Four more tips that I don’t fully understand or believe as strongly… but they could work for you.
(A) Don’t chew gum or drink carbonated beverages. The logic behind these tips is that they cause you to swallow air. Then that air needs to escape somewhere, so it can cause farting.
My suspicion is that more of this gas stays in the upper GI tract and causes burping, not farting. But some people say that chewing sugar-free gum can especially give them gas, maybe also due to the polyols (mentioned above as one of the FODMAPs) used as artificial sweeteners.
(B) Eat some papaya and pineapple. These fruits contain some digestive enzymes naturally, so they could help you digest some of your other foods. That said, the most direct and effective enzyme solution is probably going to be supplementing with Vegan Bean-zyme or a similar product (again, that’s an Amazon affiliate link).
(C) Ginger. Some people say that consuming ginger tea or smoothies containing ginger has helped with their gas. I haven’t heard the mechanism behind why this works, though.
(D) Consider avoiding oils. Fats take longer to digest, and so they can cause some problems with gas for some people, supposedly. But it seems like difficult-to-digest carbs (including fiber) are the more common culprit for vegan farts, so I wouldn’t jump to suspecting oil or fats immediately.
The Journey to Fewer Vegan Farts Begins with One Step
I know farting can be so embarrassing and inconvenient. But remember, it is healthy to have some gas. Everybody has some gas, and people with the least gas are likely not getting enough fiber to be healthy.
The tips in this article should help you minimize how much you fart and how smelly your farts are as a vegan.
For many people, taking a product like Vegan Bean-zyme (Amazon link) may be a magic bullet.
For me, I also found big improvements from rinsing my canned beans and just avoiding certain other foods (whole wheat cereals that are really high in fiber).
Be patient while you’re working to find a healthy vegan diet you believe in that also works really well with your body.
Two More Recommendations for Your Vegan Journey
1. This is the best vegan multivitamin I’ve found in 13 years of being vegan. It has vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega-3—and nothing else. Translation: It only has the nutrients vegans are actually low in. Read my full review of Future Kind’s multivitamin here (with 10% discount).
2. This is the best vegan starter kit I know of. It’s a bundle of 9 beautiful e-books that help you transition to a healthy plant-based diet the right way. The advice is spot-on, and it has print-outs and checklists that make it easy to implement. Read my full review of Nutriciously here.
If you don’t want to forget any of the tips in this post, save the Pin below to your Pinterest “plant-based diet” or “vegan nutrition” board!