There’s definitely truth to the childhood song “Beans, beans the musical fruit. The more you eat, the more you toot!” Gas and bloating are common digestive symptoms that affect up to 20% of healthy Americans and Europeans. This could be the reason why many Americans do not consume the recommended 25g of fiber per day. Indeed, passing gas might be embarrassing, but the good news is it indicates your bacteria are feeding on the dietary fiber you give them.
Gas and bloating are common digestive symptoms that affect up to 20% of healthy Americans and Europeans
To better understand this mechanism: the microbiota plays a role in gas production primarily in the colon, when bacteria ferment food that we cannot fully digest and are not absorbed by the gut, like fibers. Therefore, a person’s fiber consumption and gut microbiota composition determines how much gas an individual will produce, as well as the defecation frequency.
Although high fiber diets are beneficial to the gut microbiota and overall health, they are often not well tolerated likely due to the person’s gut microbiota composition. In some studies, consumption of fermented milk containing probiotics improved complaints of patients suffering from digestive disorders (reduction of bloating and abdominal pain). For this reason, Dr. Fernando Azpiroz and his colleagues from the Vall d’Hebron hospital in Barcelona (Spain) wondered if the consumption of fermented milk, rich in probiotics, could improve digestive discomfort induced by a diet rich in fiber, in individuals in good health.
Consuming fermented foods, like a fermented milk product, containing probiotics improved tolerance to a gas inducing meal
Sixty three healthy adults completed the study and consumed a 3-day high fiber diet (known to induce flatulence) before and following 28 days consumption of fermented milk containing probiotics.
According to the results, Professor Azpiroz and his team concluded that although the intestinal gas volume produced by the participants in the study did not decrease significantly, consuming the fermented milk drink containing probiotics did reduce gastrointestinal distress such as flatulence sensation and number of daily evacuations.
In conclusion, consuming fermented milk products containing probiotics appears to increase tolerance to high-fiber diets in healthy people.
Le Nevé B, Martinez de la Torre A, Tap J, et al. A Fermented Milk Product with B. Lactis CNCM I-2494 and Lactic Acid Bacteria Improves Gastrointestinal Comfort in Response to a Challenge Diet Rich in Fermentable Residues in Healthy Subjects. Nutrients; 12(2). 2019. doi: 10.3390/nu12020320