Carrots are relatively easy to digest compared to most other vegetables.
However, a large serving of carrots can still cause significant excess gas in some people.
In this short post, I’ll explain why carrots cause stomach issues for some and not others.
Table of Contents
The 2 Types of Carbohydrates That Cause Most Gas
Almost all gas related to bloating and flatulence is produced in the lower gut (i.e. large intestine) as a result of bacteria fermenting carbohydrates.
Certain carbohydrates like glucose are easy to digest and are absorbed in the stomach or small intestine. However, others are not, and these typically are places into 2 main categories:
- Fiber – Pretty much any carbohydrate that doesn’t break down at all in the small intestine is classified as fiber. Soluble fiber absorbs water, while insoluble fiber doesn’t. This causes soluble fiber to move through the gut slower, and be fermented for longer, and can also trap air causing bloating.
- FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) – This category of carbohydrates describes just about every other carbohydrate that is only partially digested in the small intestine. That’s why they often cause gas problems, although some people are more sensitive to them than others.
Starch can also not fully break down completely, particularly if you don’t chew well, so it can potentially contribute to gas. However, it’s typically not a main source and most people digest it easily.
Amount of Fiber in Carrots
Let’s take a quick look at the nutrition facts for carrots for a raw 100 gram serving:
Note that a large carrot is about 200 grams.
|Total Lipid (g)||0.24|
Almost all the calories in carrots come from carbohydrates, which isn’t surprising.
With about 3 grams of fiber per 100 gram serving, carrots are relatively high in fiber. If you’re having a bunch of carrots and dip or something similar, it’s possible to get 15-18 grams of fiber in a snack.
Most adults should aim to get at least 20 grams of fiber per day for reference, so 15-18 grams at once is clearly a significant amount.
But if you’re just adding a carrot to a stir-fry, it’s unlikely that the fiber will be responsible for much gas.
Do Carrots Contain FODMAPs?
We can also look at the amount of common FODMAPs in carrots.
While I’ve seen some blog posts mention that carrots contain raffinose (an oligosaccharides), multiple studies show that carrots have almost no FODMAPs in them, which of course includes oligosaccharides.
The table below shows a more detailed carbohydrate breakdown:
Carrots do have a decent amount of fructose. Keep in mind that sucrose is 1:1 mixture of glucose and fructose, so 100 grams of raw carrots have about 3.2 grams of fructose.
Research shows that some people are essentially fructose intolerant and get substantial gas and bloating from consuming high amounts of fructose. Eating multiple servings of carrots could be an issue due to the fructose content.
I also highlight xylitol in the table above. Sugar alcohols like xylitol don’t digest well, but there’s such a small amount that it’s extremely unlikely that the xylitol in carrots is an issue.
Can You Reduce the Amount of Gas Carrots Cause You?
If you suspect carrots are giving you gas, you might want to confirm that first.
As we saw, there isn’t too much in carrots that will lead to much gas unless you’re eating a very large serving.
You can test different serving sizes, and test other foods instead that are high in fiber or high in fructose (e.g. apples, blueberries, pears).
Finally, cooking can make digestion easier, and is worth a try to see if you notice any difference (i.e. eat raw carrots as a snack one day, then cooked carrots the next).