Do Bell Peppers Cause Gas?


Bell peppers of any color are not particularly likely to cause gas, even if you eat relatively large portions of them.

The more likely explanation for someone who suspects bell peppers of causing stomach issues is that something else eaten alongside or before the bell peppers is causing the issues.

If you’d like to understand the logic behind this, read on.

Why Do Some Vegetables Cause Gas?

To understand why bell peppers aren’t likely to cause gas, you need to understand what “gas” really is.

Flatulence is the release of gas from the lower gut, while bloating is when excessive gas is trapped. In either case, excessive gas production in the large intestine is the issue.

This gas is produced as a result of bacteria in the gut fermenting carbohydrates that were not digested in the stomach or small intestine.

Most of these hard to digest carbohydrates fall under the umbrella label of fiber, which you’re probably familiar with. Note that certain types of fiber lead to more gas and stomach issues than others.

Fiber in Bell Peppers

Just like most other vegetables, bell peppers do have some fiber.

The nutrition facts in the table below are for 100 grams of red bell pepper (about 1 medium pepper). Different colored bell peppers do have slightly different nutritional profiles, but those differences are not significant in this context.

  Red Bell Peppers
Energy (kcal) 26
Protein (g) 0.99
Total Lipid (g) 0.3
Carbohydrate (g) 6.03
Fiber (g) 2.1
Sugars (g) 4.2

As you can see, there are 2.1 grams of fiber in a 100 gram serving, and it’s rare to eat several servings of bell pepper.

You’d likely have to eat 10 peppers or so for them to cause excessive gas by themselves based on their overall fiber content.

However, note that the fiber in bell peppers will still lead to some fermentation, so if you eat them alongside other foods like beans, they can at least contribute to any gas produced.

Hard to Digest Carbohydrates in Red Bell Peppers

As mentioned, some carbohydrates can lead to more gas than others.

In particular, short-chain carbohydrates that don’t break down significantly like fructose or sugar alcohols (e.g. sorbitol) can have an osmotic effect that amplifies digestion problems for some.

However, bell peppers are low in these types of carbohydrates.

One study did a detailed assessment of short-chain carbohydrates in foods, and came back with this profile for red peppers:

  Pepper, red
Moisture 88 g
Fructose 1.93 g
Glucose 3.74 g
Sucrose 0.88 g

While peppers are relatively high in sugar, most of that is glucose, which is very easy to digest.

In fact, there were no hard to digest carbohydrates like raffinose or stachyose detected.

Fructose can be hard to digest, but usually only in large amounts (i.e. 10 grams or more), so unless you’re eating a ton of peppers, it’s not likely to be an issue.

Is There Any Other Way For Bell Peppers to Cause Gas?

If you suspect that bell peppers are giving you gas, the most likely issue is that it’s actually something else you’re eating.

However, in some rare cases, people can have a nightshade allergy. Certain plants from the nightshade family can trigger an allergic response that may result in flatulence. Other nightshades include eggplants and tomatoes.

You can try eating those foods as well to try and further understand if a nightshade intolerance or allergy is a possibility.

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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