• Question: Why do beans make you fart?

    Asked by leigha1234 to Angela, Karen, Shane on 21 Nov 2013.
    • Photo: Angela Stevenson

      Angela Stevenson answered on 21 Nov 2013:

      Ah, the musical fruit 😉 when we eat beans, or other gassy foods, these get mushed up in our stomach and passed into the small intestine.. but their digestion isn’t as simple as other foods. The types of sugars found in beans are too big to be taken into the body through the walls of the small intestine and we have no enzyme to break them down into more manageable chunks so these sugars end up in our large intestine where loads of bacteria reproduce to try and breakdown these sugars. As a result, gas is produced by the bacteria during this breakdown since bacteria release carbon dioxide, hydrogen and some methane gases during this process. Great question 🙂

    • Photo: Shane Mc Guinness

      Shane Mc Guinness answered on 21 Nov 2013:

      Yep, beans are called a “hindgut food”, because we break them down at the end of our gut, in our lower intestine. So, for this food, humans are hindgut fermenters, meaning we ferment the food with bacteria and yeast, creating lots of gases, which have to go somewhere.
      Compare this to cows, which are “foregut” fermenters. They break down all the grass they eat in their stomach, which is the top of their gut. It too releases lots of gases, which have to go somewhere. But because they ferment at the top of their gut, they belch out all the gas in lots of burps full of methane and carbon dioxide!