2 Reasons Why Cabbage Can Cause Gas (Data)


Like other leafy greens, cabbage does cause gas if you eat a large serving of it.

When carbohydrates are not fully digested, they go to the large intestine where your gut bacteria ferment them, producing gas as a side product.

As we’ll see, cabbage contains a good amount of fiber, as well as a few types of other carbohydrates that are not digested easily.

Does the Fiber in Cabbage Cause Gas?

Most people are familiar with fiber. Any carbohydrate that doesn’t digest at all in the small intestine is classified as fiber.

Consuming some fiber is healthy because you’re “feeding” the good bacteria in your gut (when they ferment the fiber), but too much can cause bloating and flatulence.

There is 2.5 grams of fiber per 100 gram serving of cabbage (raw), as you can see from the nutritional table below.

Energy (kcal) 25
Protein (g) 1.28
Total Lipid (g) 0.1
Carbohydrate (g) 5.8
Fiber (g) 2.5
Sugars (g) 3.2

To put this into context:

  • 1 head of cabbage is about 900 grams
  • Adults should aim for at least 20 grams of fiber per day

So 1-2 servings of cabbage isn’t a ton of fiber, but if you’re eating half a head in a large bowl of coleslaw, you can realistically get 10-15 grams of fiber that could cause stomach issues.

Hard to Digest Carbohydrates in Cabbage

So we know that cabbage is relatively high in fiber, which may play some role in excessive gas.

There’s another class of carbohydrates that digest poorly (i.e. only partially break down in the small intestine) called FODMAPs.

FODMAPs include several different types of carbohydrates, but we’re not going to look at them all here.

Instead, let’s just look at the ones that cabbage contains (source):

  • Fructose
  • Sorbitol
  • Fructooligosaccharides (FOS)
Moisture 88 g
Fructose 2.16 g
Glucose 3.51 g
Sucrose 0.61 g
Sorbitol 0.18 g
Total FOS 0.82 g

Note that these specific amounts may vary a bit based on the crop and variety of cabbage.

In total, there’s just over 3 grams of these hard to digest carbohydrates per 100 gram raw serving of cabbage.

In people who are very sensitive to FODMAPs, as little as 5-10 grams can cause significant gastrointestinal distress.

Can You Reduce Gas From Cabbage?

We saw that while cabbage isn’t extremely high in fiber and FODMAPs, it does have a significant amount.

Large servings of cabbage can certainly cause gas for some people.

That should make the solution obvious: eat smaller servings of cabbage.

Cooking can also improve ease of digestion, but keep in mind that cooking methods with a lot of water can lead to nutrition loss (source).

Finally, consider whether cabbage is the sole cause of any gas, or if it could be something else that you often eat alongside it.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.