Why Do Artichokes Cause Gas? (Data-Based Answer)


Artichokes are a pretty healthy food overall, with a good amount of minerals like iron and even some vitamins.

However, artichokes often cause gas and bloating.

The extent of this bloating depends on how big of a serving size you have, and how much fiber you’re used to consuming.

The Main Things That Causes Gas: Fiber

Most people aren’t aware that the vast majority of gas is caused by bacteria fermenting carbohydrates in your lower gut (i.e. large intestine).

If a carbohydrate can’t be broken down partially or at all in the small intestine, it goes to the large intestine where it is fermented to extract some nutrients, but this produces gas as a byproduct.

Carbohydrates of this nature are called fiber, which you’re probably already familiar with.

With that being said, certain types of fiber cause more gas than others, as some fiber can be partially broken down.

Fiber in Artichokes

We can start by looking at the overall amount of fiber before looking at specific carbohydrates in artichokes.

The nutritional profile below is per 100 grams of artichoke, from the USDA’s nutrition database.

Energy (kcal) 73
Protein (g) 2
Total Lipid (g) 0.01
Carbohydrate (g) 17.4
Fiber (g) 9.6
Sugars (g) 1.6

With 9.6 grams of fiber per 100 grams, artichokes are considered quite high in fiber.

People who aren’t used to eating much fiber can experience excess gas after eating as little as 10-20 grams of fiber in a serving.

Oligosaccharides in Artichokes

As I said before, not all carbohydrates are created equally when it comes to gas.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the carbohydrates in artichokes (per 100 grams still):

Artichoke, Jerusalem
Moisture 63 g
Fructose 1.36 g
Glucose 1.20 g
Sucrose 3.15 g
Total FOS 0.84 g
Stachyose 0.78 g

There are 3 main types of carbohydrates here that are known to specifically cause gas:

  • Fructose – While there isn’t a ton of fructose, keep in mind that sucrose is also 50% fructose, and sucrose easily breaks down.
  • FOS (Fructooligosaccharides) – FOS are a class of oligosaccharides that are known to cause gas. We lack the enzyme to break down oligosaccharides, so they end up fermenting in the large intestine.
  • Stachyose – Another specific oligosaccharide, but a different class than FOS.

While these values aren’t extremely high, there is a significant amount overall, especially if you eat a few servings.

Additionally, there’s all the other unidentified types of fiber that will be at least partially fermented in the large intestine.

Can You Reduce The Gas That Artichokes Cause?

The obvious way to reduce the amount of gas that artichokes may cause you is to simply eat smaller serving sizes.

If you eat them regularly, and you like eating a large amount, a digestive enzyme like Beano can help.

Even though beano is made to help digest beans, it contains enzymes to help you quickly digest oligosaccharides (like stachyose) so that they won’t end up fermenting in your gut. This won’t completely reduce gas, but should have a significant effect.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. I've spent over 6 years as a freelance nutrition writer and researcher. During this time, I've tested over 50 vegan protein powders, and over 100 other types of vegan supplements.

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