Some people find that asparagus seems to make them bloated and have more flatulence.
Even though most people have no trouble digesting asparagus, it does contain a few different things that can cause digestive issues for certain people.
I’m going to briefly go over each of these so that you can hopefully conclude whether or not asparagus is giving you gas.
Table of Contents
Asparagus is Relatively High in Fiber
Like most vegetables, asparagus is really low in calories, while also having a decent amount of fiber.
If you eat a lot of it, that fiber adds up quickly. Let’s take a quick look at its nutritional profile per 100 grams of cooked asparagus.
|Total Lipid (g)||0.22|
Most people know that fiber helps regulate bowel movements, but it also contributes to gas.
Gas is formed as a byproduct of bacterial fermentation of carbohydrates in your gut. If a carbohydrate isn’t broken down in the small intestine (like fiber), it goes on to be fermented in your large intestine (colon).
This isn’t a bad thing, but too much gas is obviously uncomfortable and can even cause stomach pain in the case of bloating.
Asparagus Contains Hard to Digest Sugars
Aside from fiber, there are other sugars that can’t be digested in the small intestine, or are digested poorly. They go to the large intestine where they are fermented, and this process produces gas that needs to be let out.
The 2 main sugars of this type in asparagus are:
- Fructooligosaccharides (FOS)
I pulled the data below from a study that took detailed measurements of sugars in different foods.
It’s slightly different from the nutritional table above because this data is for 100 grams of raw asparagus, and different batches of asparagus can differ a bit.
|Total FOS||0.43 g|
Asparagus doesn’t have any of the worst offenders for gas like raffinose, but it still contains quite a bit of fructose and FOS.
Fructose is found naturally in most fruits and vegetables. Some is completely fine, but some research has shown that consuming a significant amount of fructose can cause excess flatulence.
Asparagus Contains Fructans
Fructans are a special type of formation of fructose, which we looked at above.
For some reason, fructans are likely to cause stomach issues, especially for those with IBS.
Not everyone has trouble digesting fructans, but those who do often experience:
The degree of symptoms depends highly on the individual.
Asparagus Contains Sulfur-Based Compounds
About 40% of the population smell a strong sulfur smell in their urine after eating asparagus (the other 60% can’t detect these specific sulfur-containing compounds).
Sulfur-containing compounds can also make their way into your colon, making any gas more noticeable than usual.
It’s very possible that asparagus is not actually causing significantly more gas, it just smells worse. This is the case for “protein farts” as well, because protein often contains sulfur compounds.
An Asparagus Allergy Can Cause Stomach Issues
Asparagus allergies are rare, but still possible and worth quickly mentioning.
Asparagus does contain multiple types of proteins which can trigger an Immunoglobulin E (IgE) allergic response.
The side effects are usually more related to skin itching or congestion, but flatulence is also a possible side effect for some people.
Can You Reduce Gas From Asparagus?
There’s no magical way to reduce gas formation from asparagus or most other vegetables.
Cooking can help you digest vegetables like asparagus a bit easier, and can even reduce its carbohydrate content a bit (depending on cooking method).
Even though you’re probably not eating asparagus raw, it may help a little bit to make sure it’s fully cooked.
Other than that, the only other option is to eat smaller servings. Gas is proportional to the amount of “food” that your gut bacteria are fed. If you eat less asparagus, that means fewer fructans and FOS that will produce gas.