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In The Family
Why Do Beans Make You Gassy?
05.03_beans

And how to stop the toots.

Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart, the more you eat, the more you ingest large complex sugar molecules called oligosaccharides that cause some people to fart. High in protein and fiber, legumes are nutritional powerhouses that, among their other wonders, tend to keep eaters full for a while since their fiber and long starch chains are hard to break down.

But some of those molecules are too large, namely oligosaccharides. When enzymes in the small intestine can’t convert these giant sugars into simpler ones, the molecules pass down to the large intestine, where bacteria feast on them and produce, you guessed it, gas. There’s hope for the bean-sensitive, though—the more beans you eat, the more enzymes your body may produce to help you digest oligosaccharides. So eat more beans: for your taste buds, your heart, and your gut.

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Max Falkowitz

Max Falkowitz is a food and travel writer for The New York Times, Saveur, GQ, New York magazine’s Grub Street, and other outlets. He’s also the coauthor of The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook with Helen You.