Like any legume, chickpeas are known for causing people to get a bit gassy.
However, chickpeas generally cause less gas for most people than other types of beans for a few reasons that I’ll be going over shortly.
If canned chickpeas are giving you more gas than other beans, it’s likely due to not rinsing them off as thoroughly (possible since their liquid isn’t as obvious).
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How “Gas” Is Made
Gas is the result of carbohydrates being fermented in the large intestine.
Simple carbohydrates are digested in the stomach or small intestine, but there are certain types that can’t be.
These are passed to the large intestine, which often contains bacteria that can use the carbohydrates as a food source for fermentation, producing gases (e.g. methane, carbon dioxide) as a result.
As the gas builds up, it needs to come out somehow, resulting in flatulence. The smell depends on the specific types of gas produced (varies by type of bacteria, and therefore food source).
Why Do Chickpeas Cause Gas?
As we just went over, most flatulence is due to carbohydrates.
Chickpeas have 2 specific types of carbohydrates that contribute significantly to gassiness.
Chickpeas Contain the Oligosaccharides Raffinose and Stachyose
Oligosaccharides are a class of carbohydrates that are tough to digest and end up fermenting in the large intestine.
While there are several oligosaccharides, the ones we’re interested in here are raffinose and stachyose.
These are found in significant amounts in all legumes, and is one of the main reasons they cause gas. We do not have the enzyme needed to easily digest it, so it ends up fermenting later on.
I couldn’t find detailed values of raffinose for all beans, but I did find one comparison that found:
Sugar alcohols and oligosaccharide concentrations were generally higher in lentils than in common beans and chickpeas.
So while chickpeas still have enough raffinose in them to cause some gas, they should in theory cause less gas than lentils (another legume).
Chickpeas Contain Soluble Fiber
The other carbohydrate in legumes that is known to cause gas is soluble fiber.
Insoluble fiber doesn’t break down much, even in the large intestine, but soluble fiber does.
Most fibers have a mix of both types of fiber, but the best sources of soluble fiber are legumes, fruits, and vegetables.
The chart above shows that chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) have about 1.2 grams of soluble fiber per 1/2 cup serving (out of about 7.6 grams of fiber total).
They have less than most other types of beans, although I’m sure there’s some variance based on where they are grown.
Like all other legumes, chickpeas are high in the oligosaccharide raffinose and soluble fiber, which cause gas. However, chickpeas are lower in these 2 carbohydrates than most other legumes, which is why they should give people less gas than other beans.
Does Hummus Cause Gas?
Chickpeas are the main ingredient in hummus, so for all the reasons we looked at above, hummus can also cause gas.
On one hand, hummus also contains other ingredients that aren’t likely to cause gas like:
- Lemon juice
However, it’s also easy to eat a lot of hummus, so you may end up eating more chickpeas than you do in a normal serving of plain chickpeas.
Finally, hummus is often paired with other vegetables that also may contain a lot of fiber and oligosaccharides.
How To Avoid Gas From Chickpeas
You can’t avoid getting some gas from legumes like chickpeas altogether, but you can reduce it.
First of all, one study showed that eating chickpeas regularly reduces the amount of gas produced.
Additionally, there are 2 ways to reduce the amount or effect of raffinose:
- Sprout your dried chickpeas – Not only should you soak your dried chickpeas, but you can take it further to sprout them. This reduces the amount of oligosaccharides in them significantly.
- Try a bean enzyme product – Humans may not have the enzyme to break down raffinose, but if you take a product containing that enzyme, it will break down the stubborn carbohydrate for you. This will allow you to absorb its constituents before it gets to the large intestine. See my page on beano and vegan bean enzymes for more details.